Sainsbury’s development essential for regeneration of town centre

SIR – I should like to respond on behalf of the Welwyn Hatfield Chamber of Commerce to R Bailey’s ‘Blot on the Landscape’ letter in the July 28 edition of the WHT.

Far from taking business away from the town centre, we feel that the regeneration of such a run-down area of the town, with a large state-of-the art Sainsbury’s store, will encourage shoppers to do their food shopping here rather than going out to Morrison’s, or Tesco at Oldings roundabout.

The excellent Waitrose and the existing Sainsbury’s are insufficient, which is why Tesco also saw a development opportunity in Welwyn Garden and we share the editor’s view that the Sainsbury’s development is preferable.

Having seen several of the initial designs for the new store the local planners and the town centre manager are to be congratulated on their success in getting many improvements and modifications, incorporated into the final design.

While on the subject of the town centre manager, Nicky Kane has contributed a great deal to the marketing of WGC by developing promotional events, such as the Environment Day and the Christmas lights switch on, plus several craft and food markets.

She has also been a driving force in setting up the Town Centre Partnership and has been involved in Hatfield town centre improvements.

Unlike your correspondent we recognise the value of what she does.

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We do, however, agree with the favourable comments about the Heritage Trust and the Garden City Society.

Surely the overall objective for the town has to be to promote its heritage and preserve those features which give it its unique character, while also developing a strong enough retail offer to compete with surrounding towns.

This requires the right balance between heritage and commercial interests.

Peter Brooks,

Chairman, Welwyn Hatfield Chamber of Commerce.