Official unveiling of town centre street improvements

Works costing �8m have finally been completed in a town centre.

AFTER many months of disruption while the works went on, it is finally time to celebrate completion of the �8m street scene improvements in Letchworth GC town centre.

It has been fully funded by the town’s Garden City Heritage Foundation whose retiring director general Stuart Kenny will officially “open” the development next Friday, June 18.

He said: “Designed by international urban designers Landscape Design Associates, I believe that our street scene improvements will attract families from the wider area to visit and shop in Letchworth Garden City. That will be followed by an improving retail offer which will further draw people to our town centre.”

The scheme, which covers the three main shopping areas of Eastcheap, Leys Avenue and Station Road, is the first phase of the Foundation’s town centre revitalisation plans.

It will be followed by the construction of 26 new shops, 113 flats, a play barn and 356 parking spaces in The Wynd.

It is an area seen by many as underperforming in retailing terms over the years. Planning permission has been granted and it is anticipated that work will start next year on the multi-million pound project.

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New features of the street scene scheme include user-friendly fountains and a long seating bench in Leys Square, which is now effectively the new central town square and focal point.

There are three bronze sculptures which were inspired by one of the garden city’s most important icons, the 1909 Four Square Our City processional banner.

There was a bitter, unsuccessful battle to save trees in Leys Square but under the scheme 30 new trees have been planted in Eastcheap and Leys Avenue and six have been replaced.