11 APRIL 1992, Page 26

Butterflies and wheels

Sir: Michael Heseltine is under fire from the EEC and from conservationists for allowing the planned extension of the M3 motorway through Twyford Down near Winchester. He could divert this criticism and earn the gratitude of the people of Winchester by a simple change of route — drive the motorway through Winchester itself.

While conservationists have been protesting about the future of butterflies on Twyford Down, they have allowed Winch- ester to be devastated. The town has gone from genteel to ghastly in a generation. Behind one side of the main street, a col- lection of ugly buildings has arisen, includ- ing an unloved, little-used shopping centre and carparks in concrete. Large signs at every junction direct motorists to long-stay and short-stay carparks: pedestrians have no place in this maelstrom of one-way streets where drivers strain at one set of traffic lights to hurl their cars at the next.

It would bring immeasurable benefits to the people of Winchester if, leaving the cathedral, the college and the old shopping


area to one side, the motorway extension were to cover the present blighted area. Townsfolk would infinitely prefer the steady, soporific hum of motorway traffic to the present ululation of screaming tyres — and the butterflies would be saved.

Frank Pertyman

Somerset Villa, 4 Somerset Road, London W13