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Thames Corridor vision is just an easy way out


Any countryside disarray is probably down to the foot and mouth crisis and the public desire to be rid of fox hunting (Will Alsop, AJ 13.3.03, and Martin Pawley, AJ 13.2.03) more than anything else.

Alsop justifies destroying idyllic scenery, if need be, by replacing it with equivalent beautiful aspirations, as opposed to Pawley's total annihilation.

On the other hand, Michael Heseltine's Thames Corridor plan was just his way of allowing jobs and investments to continue with his 'market forces' attitude at the time, and it is a convenient tool for John Prescott to resurrect in his quest for new homes. But has the scheme been fully thought out?

We ought to get our priorities in order, as the Thames Corridor must be the most gigantic mega-suburb ever conceived.

The countryside is very much a living and breathing component in our environment's well-being, irrespective of whether architects, planners or politicians consider it in disarray or not. The town, on the other hand, will always be in some form of disarray and contributes less to the environment apart from the importance of containing us. However short of beautiful aspirations the town is, creating more of it without improving what's there certainly won't help, and we have just got to try harder to make it work better.

If that means slowing down new house building we should accept that shortcoming.

Priority should be given totally to urban regeneration, whatever the cost. The Thames Corridor vision is just another easy way out.

Rex Hawkesworth, Hilsea, Portsmouth

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