Businesses want a voice over town redevelopment

PUBLISHED: 10:53 30 November 2006 | UPDATED: 11:17 06 May 2010

BUSINESS owners and residents feel their opinions of how their town centre should be redeveloped over the next 15 years are falling on deaf ears. Proposals for the multi-million pound redevelopment of Letchworth GC were introduced by representatives of

BUSINESS owners and residents feel their opinions of how their town centre should be redeveloped over the next 15 years are falling on deaf ears.

Proposals for the multi-million pound redevelopment of Letchworth GC were introduced by representatives of North Herts District Council, during a public meeting in Plinston Hall.

Charlotte Maylin, owner of Venus Beauty in The Wynd, said: "As soon as we stood up for the businesses we were cut off. We were totally dismissed.

"They have already made their minds up."

Another local business owner, who did not want to be named, said: "We are a frustrated community.

"Not enough thought has gone into the planning and we feel it should be done in stages and controlled considerably.

"We feel the council is very much backing the Heritage Foundation, but soon we [the business owners] will be a lot louder with our voices."

He added: "There is a lot of uncertainty for us and there has been a total lack of communication."

Another business owner in town, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "There are double standards in Letchworth.

"You can't put a new window in your house without permission but they want to knock the town down."

Mick Bee, of Whiteway, said: "The redevelopment plan seems to meet with almost universal disapproval in the town."

A spokesman for North Herts District Council said: "We are working on a 15-year time scale so nothing is going to happen tomorrow.

"When plans do come forward, that's the time when the business people will be consulted.

"We are the planning authority. The Heritage Foundation has their proposals but they have to get permission from us.

"It is in everybody's interest that we work fairly closely together but we are not the same body. We have different roles."

Public consultation ends on December 8 and the final version of the town centre strategy will be presented to the Letchworth committee in January.

Once adopted by full council, the strategy will provide guidance on relevant policies and development proposals in Letchworth town centre.

The draft strategy will be available to view at Letchworth Library, the NHDC customer service centre or by visiting www.north-herts.gov.uk

You can make your comments by emailing planning.policy@northherts.gov.uk

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