Paul Ross, one of two independent councillors on Letchworth Town Council, laments the lengthy delays bedeviling the Howard Park redevelopment project.
THE HOWARD Park redevelopment seems to be going nowhere fast – and it’s now time to ask: is this due to inefficiency, complacency or both?
The completion date has just been put back to Spring 2012, and at the present rate of progress this could well be the summer of that year.
The park now resembles a bomb site – a mountain of soil and rubble, holes and trenches everywhere and a load of half-completed mini-projects.
The workforce appears to consist of just six men, who only become animated at knocking-off time and often seem to be missing altogether for long periods of time.
There seems to be no good reason for this abysmal state of affairs. After all, the weather has been great for the last nine months, and I'm sure that a company like UPM Uphill could provide a much larger workforce.
The other section of the works, Howard Garden, is a different matter altogether. Little or no work has happened here for weeks now, and what has been done is far from satisfactory.
The new car park, which serves both the social and bowls clubs, is fine, as is the garden and lawn between the club houses and the bowling green.
But why have two well-established hedges were removed? To allow the general public a better sight of the bowlers in action? I can’t imagine crowds of people will flock to take advantage of this! It will merely gives easy access for vandals.
Meanwhile, just beyond the bowling green is a very small brook, often dry, which has been partially excavated to create a ‘wetland’ area. Beside it is a large mound of earth covered in weeds.
Moving on, the old Charles Ball Memorial Garden, known locally as the ‘sunken garden’, has been filled in. Seems a shame, given that this was a very attractive feature until NHDC cut its maintenance budget.
There is also a new footbridge linking the garden to Rusby Mead. Assuming that Herts district council ever give the go ahead for the new entrance, this will also be an easy access for scrap-meal thieves targeting the yet-to-be-erected statue of Sappho, the ancient Greek poet.
No-one will give a date for the re-opening of these gardens, and our increasingly out-of-touch and arrogant district council is doing nothing to reassure the good citizens of Letchworth.
It's time to make your feeling to be known, not only on this issue, but on all the other local ‘improvements’ that have big question marks hanging over them.
These include the Brotherhood Hall, the Town Hall, the old Grammar School building and the town centre.
The LGC forum is your platform – please use it.