Survey slams planning controls

THE majority of residents are not happy with the planning controls they must adhere to in the world s first garden city, according to the results of a survey. In most towns there is only a requirement to submit applications to the planning authority, usua

THE majority of residents are not happy with the planning controls they must adhere to in the world's first garden city, according to the results of a survey.

In most towns there is only a requirement to submit applications to the planning authority, usually the district council, but a scheme of management also gives Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation (LGCHF) the power to scrutinise, approve or reject applications.

According to a 25-question survey, commissioned by Letchworth Garden City Council (LGCC) and sent to 9,722 homes in the town, 54 per cent of the 2,772 respondents said they would prefer a single permission system. This compares to 41 per cent who said they would like the current system to remain in place.

Thirty-seven per cent said "the double permissions system" was a waste of time or takes too long.

Seventeen per cent said LGCHF was unqualified and restrictive in its role, while 30 per cent said it was important to preserve the character of Letchworth GC.

Cllr Philip Ross, chairman of LGCC, said: "I hope the garden city council can now have a productive debate with both LGCHF and North Hertfordshire District Council about the survey findings. The response rate shows this is a matter of significant public interest."

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Director general of LGCHF, Stuart Kenny, said: "I totally agree with the survey's basic finding - that residents are keen to preserve the unique character of Letchworth Garden City. The Heritage Foundation has worked tirelessly to protect the uniqueness and ethos of the world's first garden city for many years and will continue to do so.

"Market researcher Ipsos Mori is well on the way to finishing its lengthy, in-depth, independent survey on our Design Guide and associated Landlord Consent matters in the town. This survey will not cost residents one penny - the Foundation will be picking up the bill.

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