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Why the negative view of Forest Gate

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Isabel Allen obviously does not live in Forest Gate, or she would not be so negative about the regeneration project in Woodgrange Road, London E7 ('Vibrant diversity replaced by dull uniformity in EH conservation drive', AJ 15.5.03).

For local residents, the visual improvement of the area is a real joy. Having put up with the scruffy and run-down appearance of the shopping street for the past 30 years, I can say things now are a vast improvement to the shabby past. What we had was definitely no 'energetic blaze of colour and typography'. It was chaos, poor repair, messy and depressing. Residents do not feel the new appearance is the slightest bit twee or looking like a row of 'National Trust trinket shops'.

In any case, the shopkeepers themselves apparently chose the designs with the consultant for Newham council and English Heritage. Furthermore, the improvements are assisting much-needed economic regeneration in a very poor area. A smidgen of pride has been brought to the community.

Vibrant diversity we have in abundance in Forest Gate with our people, cultures, music and food, but we don't need patronising, please.

Anita Bradbury (local resident), London E7

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