No block paving please

PUBLISHED: 12:25 07 August 2008 | UPDATED: 21:32 31 May 2010

THE town council has never been renowned for its willingness to consult with the people. It was, therefore, pleasing, that in January they issued a document asking for views on several proposals to improve the market square. The overwhelming response t

THE town council has never been renowned for its willingness to consult with the people. It was, therefore, pleasing, that in January they issued a document asking for views on several proposals to 'improve' the market square.

The overwhelming response to this consultation was that things should be left as they are.

Sadly, there now seems to be a new enthusiasm to sanitise the market - the proposal to resurface it with coloured block paving is, I suspect, part of a twee vision that includes rows of tidy, uniform stalls lacking the current diversity and individuality.

It seems to me that, if £160,000 is available to be spent on road surfacing, there are a great many more needy places where it could be used, and that such a surface would be completely inappropriate in the heart of our most precious conservation area.

Block paving is a 20th Century feature, perhaps appropriate in modern developments and supermarket car parks, but not in Saffron Walden Market Square. Surely the purpose of a conservation area is to conserve?

I wrote to the town clerk about this, and he made my views known to the council. My representations were dismissed, with almost unbelievably crass rudeness.

Cllr Alastair Walters considers the asphalt surface to be "ghastly". Has he never liked it? Did his sensitivities react to it when he moved to the town?

It has always puzzled me that people come to live in a historic country market town, presumably to take advantage of a better quality of life, and then seek to impose the aesthetic values of suburban London on their new surroundings.

I think the market in Saffron Walden works rather well as it is. We have weathered a few credit crunches, snowstorms, gales, and 'excited' councillors during my 30 years of trading there.

Maybe it needs resurfacing - gleaming new asphalt could be applied in a few days, for considerably less than £160,000. Tidiness and uniformity are certainly not necessary for its continued success, and neither are three months of unnecessary and expensive disruption.

Steve McDermott, Wynyard Road, Saffron Walden

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