Letchworth Town Centre Street Scene - A Constructive Look

A summary of the Art, Design & Architecture Group’s survey of the Letchworth street scene with some constructive criticism:From the greenery of Letchworth Gate and the fountains in Broadway Gardens expectations are raised about "Letchworth Garden City" but let down by the lack of "green-ness" in the town centre and lack of continuity with Broadway Gardens. While a "garden city" the overall impression is not green - stone dominates! We wondered if (moveable?) troughs especially outside the Midland Bank, Broadway cinema, the Free Church and especially in Leys Square would help. Unfavourable comparisons were made with Welwyn Garden City and Baldock. In particular Leys Square was bleak. More seating, a large "sail-like" cover (seen in Spitalfields Market) might give a feeling of containment and planted troughs would help the Square to feel more convivial! One member felt a bistro in Leys Square would be good!

In these "energy aware" times, why haven‘t LEDs powered the lighting, and photovoltaics, the water features?

Water has been made so important and young families questioned were positive. Incidentally, is the water drinkable? Need for a sign to indicate one way or the other.

Why the lengthy one-way system through Eastcheap and Leys Avenue and the forced left turn at the bottom? The inclusion of very slow traffic lights and the loss of a lovely flowery roundabout? Our wheelchair user fed back on her difficulties with the "green man" display and lack of public information about the new traffic signals. It was difficult to tell Loading from Disabled bays; the latter not being wide enough to take a wheelchair from a vehicle.

Feelings about the sculptures are bound to be personal but the title, a bit about the inspiration and the sculptor‘s name should be added.

More bicycle racks and designated motorbike spaces needed! Highly expensive, reflective, easily stained stone was disliked and parking spaces the same colour as pavement found confusing and dangerous. We weren‘t keen on stylish new litter bins that didn‘t sort litter. Chewing gum and cigarette disposal units urgently needed! Are four CCTV cameras in Leys Avenue all needed?

Thumbs up The Arcade, but ...the artificial greenery? Could the information board be dynamic? A second similar notice / events board in Leys Square, a town map and finger posts all badly needed.

In Eastcheap a free-standing or attached canopy (as in in Arena Parade?) would give practical cover in rain and some charm to the street scene though the street scene works better, being on a smaller scale. Again, planting and hanging baskets would improve the street scene.

Sue Lines Secretary, Art, Design and Architecture Group