Ebenezer's ethos bound to decline

PUBLISHED: 15:42 26 August 2008 | UPDATED: 21:59 26 October 2009

Sir - I read with great interest, the article relating to the Estates Management Scheme (EMS) in last week s WHT and the comments made by Dennis Lewis on the subject. Being a life long resident of WGC, I too am keen to see the town retain its ethos, but

Sir - I read with great interest, the article relating to the Estates Management Scheme (EMS) in last week's WHT and the comments made by Dennis Lewis on the subject.

Being a life long resident of WGC, I too am keen to see the town retain its ethos, but I feel this is going to be difficult to achieve.

I notice that Mr Lewis was on the council's working party three years ago, when he was an elected council member.

To quote his words, "It was all going down the pan, due to a lack of understanding and enforcement". What an admission to make. Surely the town plan had been set in stone a great many years ago and now we read the council did not understand it!

This beggars belief as the experience I have had with the council on matters connected with the management scheme, have been very clear and precise. It cost me a great deal of money having to change the plans for an extension to my property, because the perimeter wall was a few inches outside the permitted building line.

I am afraid Mr Lewis, Ebenezer Howard was not a mind reader nor a prophesier of the future. His concept was to create an idyllic place to live in, but he could not possibly have known that the coming years would change so much. In fact the ideals he created became their own downfall. People flocked to live in this wonderful Garden City in droves and with the advent of higher wages and better standards of living, following the two World Wars and of course the tremendous increase in the popularity of the motor car, it was obvious that the original plan was bound to bulge at the seams.

It is little wonder people have taken to turning their front gardens into extra parking facilities, there just isn't the room anymore, to accomodate the average families needs. I would also point out that the amazing amount of street furniture, doesn't help the ethos either.

The Welwyn Garden City Society, although an admirable organisation, does not have the power to make a great many impressions on the changing face of WGC. Their dedication is wonderful, but when it comes to a major upset to the town's ecology, they can only express their concerns and appear to receive just a lip service from the council. As they do not have the clout, what else can they do?

We all think of WGC as a unique place, but possibly we think of it as a little too precious for it's own good. Life-long residents of WGC understand the principles behind Ebenezer's dream, but new residents probably are not as interested.

As long as the verges are cut and the roads are swept they are happy and unfortunately that is a fact of life. Sorry to waffle on, but the ethos of the garden city is bound to decline, due to the society we live in today. Sad but true!

Richard Bailey, Elm Gardens, WGC.

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