Planning puzzles in Welwyn Garden City

SIR – Dennis Lewis letter of May 27, concerning the difficulties he has had with the planning committee has puzzled this [WGC] Society. When we originally saw his proposals we felt they were quite acceptable. But the refusal, apparently in support of

SIR - Dennis Lewis' letter of May 27, concerning the difficulties he has had with the planning committee has puzzled this [WGC] Society.

When we originally saw his proposals we felt they were quite acceptable.

But the refusal, apparently in support of the Estate Management Scheme, has us baffled.

So much so, that we have asked for a meeting for the point at issue to be clarified.


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Equally, Rik Bailey's letter of June 3 on the subject of the colours on the newly repainted Parkway Bar is very pertinent as both colours and signs are also a source of concern.

The borough council says it does not have the power to control the colours being used on the fronts of shops, but it is our view that they should long ago have sought appropriate powers to do so.

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Both issues are symptomatic of the ambiguous role of the council in defending WGC and its unique place in urban design and town planning from damage.

These days, many residents have no understanding about the origins of the town, why it is such an attractive place in which to live and what the planning laws and Estate Management Scheme are seeking to do, let alone why there are two large conservation areas within the town and that one of these covers the town centre.

The council has shown little leadership or purpose here.

The council's whole approach is disjointed and smacks of dithering and a lack of confidence.

It is time it comprehensively got its act together.

We thought it was going to do this last year when it prepared a refresh of the Estate Management Scheme which, as has been said, was to have been issued by last autumn to all residents who are affected, but this appears to have stalled.

As for the signs and shop front colours in the town centre, it is time the council recognised it has the opportunity to differentiate the town from all its competition but, thus far, seems content to lose the advantage that it has been dealt: take powers to control all signs so that they are subordinated to the architecture.

Until this happens, both residents and, above all, town traders will be the worse off.

It is not an accident that WGC is known worldwide as a model of urban design and town planning with one of the finest collections of English domestic architecture of the twentieth century and it will cost residents dear if we allow this to be lost through inactivity and lack of will by the council and the cabinet - only one of whose members actually lives in the town.

John Marks,

Chairman,

Welwyn Garden City Society.

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