Your letters to the Herts Ad...

PUBLISHED: 11:46 29 September 2017

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

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Well I suppose it was only a matter of time before the Government would put to good use the fact that St Albans City and District Council did not have an acceptable Strategic Local Plan, thrown out by the courts earlier this year, but the massive increase in housing expected is truly horrific and the consequences unimaginable.

Over the next 10 years St Albans Council is expected to increase the housing stock from the council view of 6,390 to 9,130 in the Government’s view, a full increase of 42.8 per cent.

Granted St Albans owns around 81 per cent of Green Belt land and over the years the argument has always been that you could not ‘straighten’ the Green Belt as it would cut into a farmer’s land that he did not want to dispose of, but who exactly are these houses to be built for as affordable housing does not seem to be in the equation and certainly will not be in the developers’ equation?

I would like to see the justification for all these additional homes.

This must be heaven for the developers, and we already have experience in St Albans of how unscrupulous they can be by building on every tiny cabbage patch of land that used to be someone’s garden, so they must be rubbing their hands in glee thinking all their Christmases have come in one package.

The Secretary of State insisted that Green Belt protections would not be axed so where exactly does he propose these houses should be built as there appears to be very little if any brown field sites?

Presumably in their wisdom the Government are also going to provide the money for more infrastructure - roads, schools, doctors, dentists, hospitals, police etc. That did not happen when Jersey Farm was created as we were promised schools, GP surgeries better road infrastructure etc, and our hospital, that is now under threat, protected to cope with the expected increased demand.

We still live in hope nearly 40 years later as more and more houses are built with no accompanying infrastructure, overstretching our already heavily-stretched resources. Surely someone will have to consider that extra teachers, doctors, nurses, police will be needed and they will have to live somewhere?

They have dragged their feet since 1994 to update the Strategic Local Plan and although the various Governments have moved the goal posts, I have a lasting hope that the St Albans council will get its act together very quickly as procrastination will only add more chaos.

I noticed that our MP has not made any comments since the proposal so I do hope she will take a personal interest in the catastrophe that is about to hit St Albans and meet with resident associations who have local interest at heart.

AGNES HILL

Former leader of St Albans district council

Charmouth Road, St Albans

The St Albans Soroptimist women’s group marks International Literacy Day every year selling second hand books on St Albans market.

This year’s event raised more than £250 providing much needed funds for the St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge and the Welwyn Hatfield Women’s Refuge.

The stall was really buzzing until it rained in the afternoon, and Soroptimist members enjoyed meeting many generous supporters in the town.

As Soroptimists our mantra is Educate, Empower and Enable so it is fitting that we celebrate International Literacy Day with projects that promote education, enabling women to achieve their full potential and thus empowering them to control their lives and know their rights.

Find out more at sigbi.org/members/2017/international-literacy-day/

JANE SLATTER

Communications Officer

Soroptimist International St Albans & District

I think it unfair of the Herts Ad (September 24) to criticise St Albans Council for “inefficiencies” that allowed a new convenience store in Chiswell Green.

It is more likely that it was government cuts to its funding, adversely affecting most council services, that were responsible for planning failures, if any.

Despite local opposition to the new store, many will welcome the smart new Co-op. How can the Herts Ad. know that the Co-op’s retail offering will be inferior to that of Sainsbury’s? The paper was printed before the Co-op store opened and Sainsbury’s offering never materialised!

So this Herts Ad comment appears to be based more on prejudice than fact. The Co-op is renowned for the quality of its food and its championing of Fairtrade. In August you featured Redbourn people petitioning for a Co-op! Redbourn residents must know something that the Herts Ad does not.

DAVID LEIGH

Gibbons Close, Sandridge

Those of us attending the Nomansland Common Management Committee meetings in recent times who have heard John Stocker routinely complain about model aircraft from the nearby flying club buzzing his back garden, interrupting the Sunday afternoon zizz, must have chuckled into our plastic beakers of the Widow Cliquot to read his new enthusiasm for budget airlines from Luton Airport buzzing his bedroom at 6am (“Chill out over noise from planes”, Herts Advertiser September 21 ).

For ‘Squire Stocker of Nomansland’ to insist there is no nuisance or annoyance from aircraft noise 500 feet above his residence where he rejoices there are 150 happy people going on their budget holidays and stag parties is almost as unbelievable as the prospect of him winning the St Albans seat for UKIP in the 2010 General Election.

ROBERT HILL

East Common, Harpenden

Alison Metcalf mentions the uncomfortable seating on the new Thameslink Viehwagen trains. Try sitting at the seat next to the window which has the heater protruding into the floor area.

I now make a point of bringing a folding camping seat if I have to use one of these trains. Plenty of space for one of these.

PAUL JOHNSTON

Station Road, Harpenden

As a one-time resident of the area and who still regularly visits, it is increasingly noticeable how much aircraft noise, in particular, is increasing. One cannot walk in the Heartwood Forest area without being made aware of the constant drone of aircraft, presumably coming to and from Luton Airport and one has to ask just how much more of this will the local population be forced to endure? It is so damaging to people’s lives in this lovely part of the country.

In addition, it is disturbing to see the creeping piecemeal development happening alongside the A1081 Harpenden Road, by the Woollams Playing Fields. I am sure that it is being seen as a developer’s potential paradise. Cannot the remaining open land between it, Cheapside Farm, Sandridgebury Lane and the railway line be added to the aforementioned woodland in order to protect what remains?

REX HARPHAM

Chollacott Close, Tavistock

Leafing through the pages of this week’s Herts Ad, I was struck by the following statement from Tory minister Sajid Javid: “For the comfortably housed children of the 1950s and 1960s ...to pull that (housing) ladder up behind them would be nothing less than an act of intergenerational betrayal, one that our children and grandchildren will neither forget nor forgive (‘District must build twice number of new homes.’).

Leaving aside the utterly crass and deeply insulting inference that people ‘chose’ to be born in the 1950s and 60s WITH THE DELIBERATE INTENTION of depriving the current generation of housing, I think there are some valid counter points to be made.

1. The current shortage of council houses was precipitated by Margaret Thatcher, who encouraged people to buy them.

2. It was augmented by Labour’s introduction of tuition fees, saddling young people with debts that precluded them from saving for a deposit.

3. It was further compounded by raising those fees under Cameron’s watch. And the proliferation of zero hour contracts.

4. And by greedy developers reluctant to build ‘cheap’ houses, as they aren’t as profitable.

5. And by the Tories ‘right-to-buy- policy, dis-incentivising Housing Associations from building more houses.

6. And by the burgeoning buy-to-let market - here in Harpenden, a recent development of flats already has nine resale/to let estate agent boards.

It is the classic ploy of all politicians to outsource the blame for their own rubbish policies onto some hapless group in society.

Sorry Mr Javid: it won’t wash. Not guilty. But do not despair; all is not lost: Take heart from the recent passing of the EU Withdrawal Bill, (signed by both our Tory MPs). It has been compared by many legal minds more adroit than mine to the Enabling Act of 1933, which transferred state powers to the Reich government, in essence transforming Hitler’s government into a legal dictatorship.

Or as St Albans MP Anne Main put it in a recent letter to a constituent: “We will now be in a much stronger position to legislate in our own interests.” Indeed you will.

The situation and status of EU citizens has already been made so untenable that a mass ‘voluntary’ repatriation’ is silently taking place. I have further been informed by the more ‘radical’ wing of Tories-R-Us that an historical repatriation could occur at some future date, once they “take back control” (sic).

This would involve expelling those who were born here to foreign parents. Many of them (like myself) were born in the 1950s and 1960s, which could solve the housing shortage at a single stroke, couldn’t it?

Cometh the hour, cometh the plan?

CAROL HEDGES
Coldharbour Lane, Harpenden

The disparities in council tax bands highlighted in Gina Dunstan’s letter (September 21) are really quite minimal locally when compared to those in Westminster which may be of little comfort to Gina. Band H council tax there is a mere £1,376.28 and this seems to apply to London’s allegedly most expensive property, No. 1 Hyde Park Gate which when completed three or four years ago was sold for £114 million.

I have written to MP Anne Main who brought the anomaly to the attention of the Financial Secretary to the Treasury who wrote me a wonderful waffly letter but did nothing. I have written direct to successive chancellors who have completely ignored me but, like Gina, I feel the unfairness of the tax is a travesty and should be replaced by a tax which is apportioned nationally and would rid us of situations where people like Gina and me are paying multiple times more than the billionaires in Westminster and Kensington.

Whilst writing may I congratulate Andrew Love on his splendid assessment (September 21) 0of the proposals for a new hospital. I could but wish that the “powers that be” could have their attention brought to his letter and try to implement his eminently sensible suggestions.

PHILIP WEBSTER

Townsend Drive, St Albans

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