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Bracknell did not reject shopping centre

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aj 22.7.99 included a story headed 'Bracknell says No', which alleges that 'Bracknell Council has rejected a scheme for a regional shopping centre designed by Chapman Taylor'. The reverse is true.

Bracknell Forest Borough Council has approved the Legal & General proposals for Bracknell town centre and vigorously supported them at the public inquiry which was recently concluded. The outcome of this inquiry is not expected until the turn of the year at the earliest.

We also find your suggestion that there has been concerted opposition to the proposals to be highly misleading. Surveys have shown solid support from people in the town, and the major political parties on the council support the scheme.

It has won support from a wide variety of other organisations. These range from all the major religious denominations to organisations representing the disabled. Such concerted opposition as there has been has been forthcoming from the owners of an existing shopping centre and other local authorities in the vicinity.

It may be that you and your correspondent have not visited Bracknell in recent times. Had you done so, you would have found a town centre mired in a built environment that may have been appropriate for a new town in the mid-60s, but which is hardly right for the urban heart of an area which boasts a fast-growing population and the highest concentration of high-tech it companies in the uk.

It is our view - and the view of many others in the own - that the Chapman Taylor scheme represents an exciting and challenging response to the need to breathe new life into a moribund town centre without resorting to out- of-town development. I would commend to you a serious look at the issues and the responses before writing off the scheme with premature reports of its death.

S R Beevor, managing director property, Legal & General Property, London EC4.

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