Conservation in crisis

SIR - I was interested to read in the Herts Advertiser of June 25 that a new study by English Heritage highlighted St Albans as one of the country s most at-risk conservation areas. It seems that at last an official body has given support to some of the t

SIR - I was interested to read in the Herts Advertiser of June 25 that a new study by English Heritage highlighted St Albans as one of the country's most at-risk conservation areas. It seems that at last an official body has given support to some of the things I have drawn attention to in previous letters to your newspaper.

The City Vision project may be a good thing but there seems to be a need for really visible positive action by St Albans District Council and not just words. Why was something not done a long time ago?

It is not only up to SADC to take action. They could address the serious issue of the increasing number of empty shops and paint the neglected street furniture, for example, but others can do much to improve the City which would give much needed support to the local economy, e.g. improving the appearance of shop windows, repairing and redecorating buildings including the upper storeys of shops, removing all the unnecessary advertising boards and signs that clutter the street and are questionable in improving shop trade, and giving better training to many of the retail staff to improve their customer relations.

The retailers and the market traders need the support of the community. What would they think of closing St Peter's Street to through traffic, except buses and taxis, on a Saturday only and during shop opening hours? That is the busiest day of the week for shops and a more free use of the area by pedestrians during that time could give the shops welcome extra trade and perhaps support an extended market. It might contribute to getting some of the empty shops re-occupied. It would not involve expensive change and could easily be dismantled if after a proper period it were unsuccessful or undesirable in practice. Some new signage would be needed and traffic for that limited period would find its own way to its destination. It seems to me to be a realistic alternative to the opposing views of doing nothing or full and permanent pedestrianisation and worthy of informed consideration.


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JOHN LINDGREN

Battlefield Road

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