Letter: Suburbanites' sterling work for the nation

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your TV reviewer was wondering who is right - suburbia-lover John Betjeman or its arch enemy Jonathan Glancey ('Pain and pleasure behind the privet hedge', 15 April). The latter's case included suburbia's sprawling destruction of the countryside.

Well, I just visited my family who live in part of the thick band of 1930s semi-detached housing that encircles London. As usual I was deafened by birdsong. In their garden - 70ft long and 20ft wide - the bees and butterflies wallowed in the wild flowers, the frogs had spawned and my father was concerned for the nesting tits and blackbirds because he had recently spotted a sparrowhawk perching on the garden fence.

Travelling back home on the coach, I am passing through mile after mile of desolate agricultural landscape, stripped of hedges and with all those unnecessary wildflowers long since poisoned.

Mr Glancey doesn't really know his subject ('No man's land', 14 April). Suburbia should be declared a national nature reserve and anonymous suburbanites named as its guardians.

Yours faithfully,

ARCHIE SPLEEN

Bristol

29 April

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