Council named wrong town planner as Garden City's principle creator
- Credit: WHBC
An embarrassing mix-up on a council job ad named the wrong person as the creator of the founding principles behind Welwyn Garden City.
The advert, for a role in WHBC's planning team, named Raymond Unwin instead of Ebenezer Howard.
Unwin was a town planner heavily involved with the design of Letchworth Garden City and Hampstead Garden Suburb, both based on Howard's Garden City principles, but Welwyn Garden City was planned by Louis de Soissons.
The advert is for a career grade development management officer - someone who would help carry out site inspections, deal with complaints and enquires and represent the council at planning appeals.
The mistake sparked ire online, with residents also pointing out the picture for the advert shows a block of yet to be approved flats on the BioPark site on Broadwater Road.
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"It's as if the council is now ashamed of the town, still widely regarded internationally as a masterpiece which still attracts planners worldwide. Unwin was an important architect at Letchworth but had little to do with WGC and is regarded as someone who went away from the idea of Garden Cities," said former councillor Malcolm Cowan.
"I have to wonder who wrote and signed off this advert. For many people in the town it is a kick in the stomach and again raises the question of whether anyone at the council actually values and cherishes the town."
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A spokesperson for Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council said: "Unwin was an important garden city collaborator, but we agree that Ebenezer Howard should be recognised and will update the text.
"The purpose of the advert is to attract the best planners we can. Promoting the opportunity to work on major planning applications – a key element of the role – will help us do that. However, we understand how the use of the image could be misleading to our communities and are replacing it.”
The advert now reads 'Welwyn Garden City was established one hundred years ago and embodies the visionary principles of pioneering urban planner Ebenezer Howard whilst Hatfield is a post-war new town designated under the 1946 New Towns Act.'