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or was it meant to be tongue-in-cheek?

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At first I thought you were serious. I soon realised your leader (AJ 15.5.03) was meant to be both amusing and tongue-in-cheek.

Any attempt at trying to tidy up our tatty high streets should surely be encouraged rather than condemned out of hand.Certainly vibrancy and diversity are excellent objectives, particularly in allowing individual shopkeepers to express or advertise themselves. But it must also be true that in listed buildings, and in conservation areas, the quality of the architecture should be allowed to shine through, which appears to be the case in the Newham council and English Heritage scheme in Forest Gate.

In many suburban shopping areas we have probably the trashiest, most untidy shop frontages anywhere in Europe - miles of it. Look at any main road into London. While you may be trying to be provocative, your proposal that they should just be left as they are contributes little to the debate.

Peter Eversden, chairman, London Forum of Amenity and Civic Societies

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