Environmental group outline Letchworth town centre vision

AN ENVIRONMENTAL sustainability group have outlined their vision for the redevelopment of Letchworth GC town centre in a bid to “bring the garden back into the town”, as well as showcasing sustainability.

Transition Town Letchworth (TTL), part of a wider environmental and social movement to tackle climate change and made up of individuals connected with the town, have put together preliminary proposals for The Wynd as part of the ongoing public consultation, after agreed plans were scrapped by Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation in December.

TTL believe the redevelopment of The Wynd, which connects Leys Avenue with Station Road, should provide a memory of the town’s ‘artisanal beginnings’ with retail units filled with entrepreneurial businesses, as well as making land available for voluntary groups to maintain.

“In taking this area of the town into the future, in our view, The Wynd must speak audibly of sustainable, creative living where people will both work and play; create wealth and keep it in the town,” said TTL’s Sue Lines, in an email to fellow members.

“The newly developed The Wynd must exploit the low rise, small units and walk way, regarding them as delightful features to be expanded upon rather than to be swept away in the name of modern shopping and ‘progress’.

“In terms of the footfall, TTL proposes that the area be made attractive to the environmentally-aware shopper, someone who prefers local shops.

“TTL is keen to bring the garden back into the town and proposes that an area of land be made available for voluntary groups to look after or to become part of a charity for people with health issues working with a skilled gardener. Such an area might be a space for shoppers to sit and relax; there might be sufficient space for the farmers’ market, for a volunteer centre in this area with a cafe run by volunteers.

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“Clearly TTL is keen to capture the opportunity it missed with the previous work on the street scene nearby and that at every decision making the point that the environmental impact should be studied and considered, and that this part of Letchworth becomes a showcase for sustainability.”

Speaking to The Comet, Ms Lines added: “These are preliminary plans and we’re still after a movement of resilient like-minded people to join us and share their ideas.”

Commenting on the plans, Cllr Michael Paterson, Letchworth Area Committee chairman, said: “I have some sympathy with where they are coming from preserving some of the ‘artisanal beginnings’ of the town if they can fit this into the wider scheme of things.”

Heritage Foundation chief executive John Lewis said: “We welcome all ideas that will help shape the future of the town centre. We’ve launched a dedicated online forum and delivered leaflets to homes in Letchworth to encourage as many people as possible to send in suggestions direct to us or via wwww.thenextsteps.co.uk - our dedicated website.”

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