Your letters to the Herts Ad...

PUBLISHED: 13:43 16 March 2018

Have your say and write to hertsad@archant.co.uk

Have your say and write to hertsad@archant.co.uk

Pixtural

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The recent property supplements on making a house sale ready have been fascinating. The kerb appeal list a few weeks back included washing windows and pressure washing paths.

The idea of a clear house number sounds too obvious to need listing, but some houses seem to think no number is cool. One shouldn’t need a torch after sunset. Making sure the door bell works and the letter box is functional could also go on the list.

But why do this only when a sales is pending? Afterward is surely the decent thing especially in the “buy to let market”?

Arguably the worst offender is not mentioned, the ‘For Sale’ sign. Why not make them a paid for optional extra? Payable by the day!

This could do much to remove the eyesores and make property supplements something that had to be checked out regularly. It would also reduce use of plastic! Which agent is going to break ranks and volunteer?

Kerb appeal should not be forgotten after a tenant moves in.

Expectations by landlords should include bins put away out of sight, windows cleaned regularly, hedges trimmed by contactors, why should a tenant have to own a hedge cutter? It is often so obvious a properties is “buy to let”.

It is time landlords took their stewardship seriously and realise the rental values are partly maintained by the smart houses nearby not necessarily theirs.

Will the Herts Advertiser produce all the improvement tips in one edition so that estate agents can keep them as a form of bible?

LESLIE FREITAG
Cravells Road, Harpenden

Maggie Cartmell states, (February 22) that, “it is an offence to cut hedges after 1st March”. I believe that this is a mis-interpretation of the law.

As I understand it, the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981, prohibits at any time and amongst many other things, the disturbance of nesting wild birds.

The generally accepted nesting season is taken to be from March until July inclusive, so hedge-trimming, particularly using powered tools, is more likely to cause an illegal disturbance during those months.

If no birds, nesting or rearing young, are found in the hedge after a careful and non-intrusive search has been made, the hedge can be cut at any time without it being an offence under this Act.

ROGER BLASSBERG

Woodstock Road North, St Albans

Surely nobody in Northern Ireland really wants to see direct rule from Westminster reintroduced?

I can understand that the two political parties (DUP and Sinn Fein) have different views on the subjects of the Irish language and same sex marriage. but there is a simple way to solve the problem. Put it to a referendum of all the people of Northern Ireland.

The phrasing of such a referendum could be agreed by both parties and the Electoral Commission.

KEN SHUTTLEWORTH
Reynards Way, Bricket Wood

In responding to the consultation on the Local Area Plan I found myself trying to work out the difference in social rented housing and affordable renting housing.

The difference is shown in terms of the market rate paid ie 60 per cent for social and 80 per cent for affordable. It doesn’t say what makes you eligible for either?

I took a look at what affordable rents are in the area. The recent flats built in the Grosvenor Road area by Hightown Housing Association are a good example.

The two-bedroom properties that are described as ‘below market rent’ cost from £1,104 per month and to be eligible you require a minimum household income of £44,757 per year.

Is this affordable? If this is affordable what must the rents be in the private sector? I believe many families in need of a rental property would struggle to afford this rent. So before we build homes who will be able to afford them?

If we want a wide mix of citizens with varying socio-economic incomes we need to build homes that people, yes people on low and middle incomes can afford. A middle income I consider £20K to £40K

Rents of £1,104 are not affordable to many in middle incomes or least there will not be much left of your income after you pay your rent.

It seems to me that Central Government needs to be enacting legislation to regulate rents otherwise we will develop a district but it will remain only for those who can afford the rents.

GORDON JACKSON

Eskdale, London Colney

I was very disappointed to read Mr Chivers’ letter entitled “AWOL Councillors” in which he attacked my husband, Councillor Chris Davies’ attendance record at the district council.

Naturally concerned that my husband might be in the clutches of a scarlet woman rather than spending unending evenings at council, I checked his record for myself.

It stands at 77 per cent not 64 per cent. Similarly, the other two statistics he cited were incorrect. Fellow Lib Dem councillor, Mr Hill’s attendance record is similarly around 10 per cent better than that cited (75 per cent not 66 per cent) and as for Mr Chivers’ wife, he can’t even get those facts right either, her attendance is at 89 per cent not 92 per cent.

I have no idea how Mr Chivers has determined that Chris has only turned up to half of the meetings required over a randomly selected six-month period, as clearly, Mr Chivers had no desire to actually cite his statistics (or to respect facts).

I do know that Chris’ attendance record fell slightly in the last couple of months due to business commitments in Europe and as he was supporting me and our children following the loss of my father but clearly personal circumstances should not stand in Mr Chivers’ way of asserting his blatantly political and nepotistic agenda.

Chris also holds monthly clinics for residents outside council time to address the usual issues surrounding the district council’s apathetic approach towards the state of roads, hospitals and to clean up St Albans air where Chris had a motion voted through council in July 2017 with still no action.

This is not the first time we have faced such allegations. During the last set of county council elections in March, Mrs Chivers’ colleague, Richard Curthoys, circulated a leaflet with misinformation about Chris’ attendance record.

This was withdrawn and a half-hearted apology circulated when we pointed out that this was defamation and threatened to pursue the matter through the courts. Maybe we should do the same with Mr Chivers, but frankly we’re too busy.

SALEEMA DAVIES
Frogmore

The only point that I would not for a moment dispute with Nick Chivers (March 1) is that his wife is a very active and conscientious district councillor.

But his mean-spirited disparagement of her hard-working council colleagues is a cheap shot at the Lib Dems, for whom his vindictive antipathy is regularly trumpeted - or is it intended as an opening salvo in the run up to the May elections?

Perhaps she would explain to him that being an effective councillor entails far more than just attending meetings. It requires being open and accessible to local citizens (whatever their persuasion), listening to their concerns about living conditions, and engaging with other council members and officers to try to resolve the issues.

It means fighting tirelessly for change and to make St Albans a better place for all of us.

In my experience Cllr Edgar Hill has been exemplary in all of this and a champion for the residents of the Conservation Area.We are extremely fortunate that he has decided to stand for re-election.

ROBERT PANKHURST

College Street, St Albans

With the HCC not making a decision on the airfield, and Helioslough not really wanting to have a depot outside St Albans, I would have thought that building a village on the airfield would make far more sense and help with the so-called ‘housing crisis’.

Why not build a village for pensioners, mainly bungalows, to be occupied by anyone over 60 years of age?

We are constantly told that pensioners are blocking housing by living in large houses that families need. Why not purpose build a village for older people with infrastructure to serve them well, ie doctors’ surgeries, a cottage hospital, inexpensive shops, hairdressers etc?

Older generations would often like to move, but finding suitable properties, and the costs of moving are beyond the purse of most pensioners. Before anybody dances a jig about pensioners rolling in money, we are not rich. A considerable number of pensioners might have houses too big for them, but they live on peanuts compared with the wages of today.

S BAILEY

St Albans

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