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18 June 2010, 13:36 | Updated: 18 June 2010, 13:47
The first phase of an £8m redevelopment of Letchworth town centre has been officially opened today.
The Street Scene scheme which is funded entirely by the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation covers the town centre's three main shopping areas - Eastcheap, Leys Avenue and Station Road.
This first part includes three bronze sculptures with fountains in The Colonnade, along with new benches and more fountains further down Leys Avenue.
The revitalisation plans came off the back of a survey carried out by the Heritage Foundation five years ago. They found that people who live in or visit the town wanted an improved "family friendly" environment with better and bigger retail units as well as more and better parking.
Director General of the Foundation said: "Designed by international urban designers Landscape Design Associates, I believe that our Street Scene improvements will attract families from the wider area to visit and shop in Letchworth Garden City. That will be followed by an improving retail offer which will further draw people to our town centre."
The next part of the redevelopment, which they already have planning permission for, includes building 26 new shops, 113 flats, a Play barn and 356 parking spaces in The Wynd. Work is expected to begin there next year.