Your letters to the Herts Ad...

PUBLISHED: 15:01 27 June 2018

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

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

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Justifiably buoyant in the wake of seeing the St Albans Museum + Gallery project to fruition, Cllr Brewster’s reported aspiration is for Market Place to become our Trafalgar Square.

A note of caution. The ‘performance space’ at Trafalgar Square is a national embarrassment: simply a venue for talentless and tacky tourist-orientated tat.

How many ‘floating’ Yodas do we need in the nation’s principle urban space? How many in St Albans? Felling trees to facilitate a view of the Museum’s facade might be justifiable. To do it to accommodate floating Yodas is not. (A move to ‘the dark side’ be it would.)

Incidentally, exhibited in the Museum’s inaugural exhibition on the history of printing in St Albans is the 1486 ‘Boke of St Albans’ which is the first publication with a compilation of collective nouns.

What, one wonders, is the collective term for floating Yodas. ‘A tawdriness’

So congratulations on a great job done, but let’s keep the Market Place in a state that complements this splendidly restored building.

PAUL BRECKNELL
York Road, St Albans

Do we really want a Trafalgar Square?

So some people at the Council want to create a ‘Trafalgar Square’ in front of the Town Hall?

The Trafalgar Square that I know has some pretty impressive water fountains and statues to adorn it.

Now a water feature and statue of Samuel Ryder perhaps might fit the bill here.

But then they would be said to be getting in the way of things, like the trees are being accused of, and cluttering up the so-called performance space.

Exactly what would be performed we are not told. There are some similarities. Both have traffic noise and air pollution and therefore raise the question as to whether this is an ideal spot to linger.

Even more reason to include some trees in any plans as they help improve the environment. Watch this space!

ERIC ROBERTS
Fishpool Street, St Albans

Two years since the EU Referendum and Ken Shuttleworth (June 14) suggests that Mrs May needs “to get a balanced view on what Brexit should really mean”.

Mr Shuttleworth thinks that she should seek the help of Nigel Farage, who cynically exploited the electorate by asking them to believe that immigration and the EU were responsible for all their woes and who peddled the lie that by leaving the EU we will become a better and stronger country.

In fact, we now have the lowest growth and the highest inflation of the largest 10 European economies.

Which brings me to another lie, the Brexit dividend which Mrs May says will be part of the £20 billion package for the NHS.

But there is no Brexit dividend according to Paul Johnson director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies and Sarah Wollaston, Conservative MP, who tweeted: “The Brexit dividend tosh was expected but treats the public as fools”.

We are not fools. Volunteering on the St Albans for Europe stall in the market I listened to many people express concern about Brexit, not just economic worries but also about their rights as EU citizens and about the EU project as a force for unity and peace.

Last Saturday there will be a demonstration in London calling for a People’s Vote on the Final Brexit deal, a decision so important that it will affect the lives of many future generations.

I would urge anyone who like me wants the right decision to be made and who cannot trust our politicians to deliver it to make sure that their voice is heard by writing to Anne Main MP, talking to friends and adding their name to the People’s Vote petition https://www.peoples-vote.uk/petition.

We all need to act before it is too late.

SARAH ADAMSON
Langley Crescent, St Albans

With reference to Ken Shuttleworth’s letter, perhaps we should look at Farage’s closest backer – Aaron Banks, whose Russian connections are currently being examined by the Home Office.

In February Green MP for the South-West Molly Scott Cato published a comprehensive blog (https://badboysofbrexit.com/) on who the backers of the Leave campaign actually are - their connections to Russia, tax havens, their attitudes to deregulation are covered at a glance.

As it is only humanly possible to make a decision based on the information you have been given, and the public discussion before the Referendum was narrowly focussed on immigration and “deregulation” without looking at what that actually entails, can one speak of fair and objective scrutiny and debate on all issues surrounding EU membership?

Many aspects of what affects our daily lives – agricultural policy, the protection of nature and the environment on which we ultimately all depend, labour rights, were not mentioned.

We saw Nigel Farage backtracking on the £ 350 million and the NHS on ITV’s Good Morning Britain the day after the Referendum!

The question is, who is actually taking back control? The UK public?

Very soon, while all are watching the World Cup, the Commons will be voting on the EU-Canada trade deal.

If passed, this will lock the UK into this deal for the next 20 years, thus making privatisation of public services irreversible by locking them into so-called ‘standstill’ and ‘ratchet’ clauses, so potentially hindering Governments from improving environmental or safety laws, if corporations deem these to go against their interests

It will also see the introduction of the private Investor Court System – a parallel judicial court system allowing corporations to sue governments if they regard any laws passed to infringe on any profits they expect to make.

These courts are just for corporations to sue governments, not the other way round! There is no right of appeal.

All types of service can be put up for tender unless otherwise stated. Alarmingly, this will also include the NHS.

In negotiations Germany has ring-fenced their health system, whereas the UK has not.

If you find this alarming then please contact your MP. 
PHIL FLETCHER
Sopwell Lane, St Albans

Maybe something got lost in the reporting, but if Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey really did say (Herts Advertiser, June 21) that “jobseekers need to know IT skills, so putting the system online was intended to encourage people to develop those” then she has a curious sense of the word “encourage” that is somewhat removed from mine.

I think that providing teachers, training and support services would encourage people to develop IT, or any other, skills.

Maybe I’m just old-fashioned that way, hashtag carrot, hashtag stick.

IAIN GRANT

Abbots Avenue West, St Albans

I would be the first to acknowledge that our roads are not currently as good as we would all like them to be.

Cold and wet weather over the winter period always causes deterioration in road surfaces and last winter was more challenging than most recent years with nearly twice as many potholes reported in the first few months of 2018 than over the same period in 2017; this picture was reflected in roads across the county.

Despite this and the increased volume of work, our highways crews continued to fix around 99% of hazardous defects within our target times and the majority of the pothole repairs we do are with a permanent fix, rather than a temporary one.

However, not all defects present an immediate hazard and, with our crews busy tackling the most pressing issues, they were not able to deal with non-hazardous defects quite as quickly as we might normally do.

To help with this, we brought in additional specialist equipment to help fix some of these less-urgent defects while our crews were busy with the highest priority work.

These machines have dealt with thousands of additional defects already this year and will continue to work over the summer to help us restore the network.

Far from cutting funding, the county council has committed to spend an extra £5m this year to help fix local roads throughout the county in addition to maintaining or increasing the spend in other areas of highway maintenance.

This extra money will fund resurfacing of over 100 extra local roads around the county, in addition to our normal programmes.

We started our programmes of resurfacing work as soon as the weather improved and we have already put a new surface on 300 roads across Hertfordshire since the winter weather relented and that number will rise to over one thousand roads by the time the annual programme is complete. This is as well as carrying out more localised repairs on many more roads.

We will continue delivering this work over the coming months as part of a carefully planned series of programmes designed to fix roads and give best value for money.

I would like to thank residents for their patience while we carry on with the job of fixing the damage done by the winter and remind them that they can report potholes and other faults or our website at www.hertfordshire.gov.uk

CLLR DAVID WILLIAMS

Harpenden North East

I was disappointed to read an article encouraging foraging in the Herts Advertiser.

With thousands of copse, spinneys and gardens being built on how can taking resources, from what wild habitat remains, possibly be justified?

From my observations people take as much fruit as they can reach, with ice cream tubs full of berries and carrier bags full of fungi.

Even if people forage `responsibly’, if everyone takes just a little then what will be left for nature?

People have a choice from where to gather our food, wildlife does not.

RICHARD BURTON
By email

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