Letter: Designed for success in Leicester Square

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The Independent Online
Sir: Jim White says of the new- found popularity of Leicester Square ('All human life is here, innit', 23 March) that 'what really made the place live again was not Westminster's doing. It was that people came back and reclaimed the streets.'

As the architect/planning head of Westminster Council's design and project management team for improving Leicester Square, I am convinced that the streets were reclaimed as a direct result of significant investment in pedestrianisation, and better lighting and management to improve night- time safety. These design factors, together with the political commitment to see them through, played the principal role in attracting investment to previously run- down buildings and the funding of alternatives to the previously shabby activities in the area.

Communicating design ideas is difficult. Undermining the link between good design and popularity in Leicester Square does great damage to the designer's dialogue with the public.

Yours faithfully,

PETER HEATH

Civic Design Partnership

London, SW1

22 March

The writer was head of environmental design, Planning and Transport Department, Westminster, 1986-90.

(Photograph omitted)

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