Letter: Forget Greenwich: our towns need the money

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The Independent Online
Your enthusiasm for grand projects fails to recognise that time has moved on since the mid-19th century ("A time for magnificence", 22 June). What we need now is great ideas and small projects that can make the most of existing resources throughout Britain, not an expensive and artificial tourist attraction in a city that is full of real ones. The lack of strategic planning over the last two decades has not just aggravated dispersal and sprawl; it has starved the centres of our towns and cities of the resources needed to maintain their public spaces, and to promote alternatives to the car. This is the real challenge for the millennium.

Britain needs to apply the principle of sustainable urban regeneration, which includes encouraging people to live and enjoy themselves in centres again. Before it is too late, can we see more of the resources being deployed on grand projects enlisted in solving the smaller problems that deter people from using town centres? "Letting 1,000 towns bloom" could unleash energy that a big dome in Greenwich will never manage.

Nicholas Falk

London WC1