Letters, December 2, 2010, part two

PUBLISHED: 14:30 06 December 2010

Time for change

SIR – Further to the letter of November 18 ‘Time for clocks to be corrected’, it was coincidental that the town council had arranged for the M and Co clock hands to be moved to midday that very day (whilst the town council erected Christmas lights).

The other two clocks could not be changed due to access issues.

The town council will reopen the discussions with the owners of the clocks to see if a solution can be found.

HELEN EADON

Harpenden Town Council

Top level sackings would save us cash

SIR – I read in the Herts Advertiser that Hertfordshire County Council have been fined £100,000.00 for two breaches of the Data Protection Act.

This fine comes out of the portion of my council tax that I am finding increasingly more difficult to pay. Whilst it is incomprehensible that sensitive information should be misdirected a couple of sackings at the highest level might save the public purse. Just what am I missing?

TI BROXTON

Colney Heath Lane, St Albans

Real cost of bins?

SIR – I note from your article in the Herts Advertiser of November 11 that it costs Herts Highways £450 to buy and install each salt bin.

A local supplier to engineering companies has quoted a friend of mine who lives in Hemel Hempstead £100 for one. The price would be reduced for quantity supply such as that which would be procured by Herts Highways.

Where is the difference going? Is it not time the Audit Commission asked questions of this nature of Herts Highways who have already been proved grossly inefficient and wasteful of taxpayers’ money?

PETER MANNELL

Aldwickbury Crescent, St Albans

Kentish Town is missing out

SIR – It appears that any First Capital Connect commuters to Kentish Town hoping for an improved service due to the much-trumpeted Thameslink upgrade are in for a disappointment.

FCC seem to have an irrational dislike for Kentish Town station, despite its importance as a Tube interchange.

I have been in correspondence with Larry Heyman, “integration and partnership manager” at FCC regarding this and, despite providing strong arguments for more early morning trains to stop there, have received only patronising and dismissive replies.

It has always puzzled me as to why West Hampstead Thameslink station is so well served by early-morning southbound trains, and Kentish Town is so poorly served, despite both being Tube interchanges, and Kentish Town having six lines to West Hampstead’s four.

As mentioned above, Mr Heyman has provided no satisfactory answers to my questions, despite admitting that over 800,000 passengers – sorry “customers” – use Kentish Town station each year.

The Thameslink upgrade will leave Kentish Town station completely unscathed. No new Class 377 12-car trains will ever stop there, because the platforms are too short, and apparently, cannot be lengthened.

So despite paying the same fares as everyone else, Kentish Town commuters will not benefit in any way from the upgrade.

I would urge any readers affected by this to write to Mr Heyman at the following address: Hertford House, 1 Cranwood Street, London, EC1V 9QS.

J FREESTONE

Castle Road, Fleetville

Praise for Brazier

SIR – Why all this flack for Chris Brazier over his decision to vote against the recent planning permission for Nicholas Breakspear School to amalgamate with the St Albans City Youth Football Club to build new sports facilities?

He is a very hard working councillor with the interests of his constituents at heart. After all, that is what he was elected for.

We chose to live in this area as it is in the country and very peaceful. We appreciated that Nicky B School was close but as we had lived near a school in our previous house and experienced no problems we did not worry about living near a school again.

With Nicky B School, as long as you avoid leaving or coming home around school times it is fine, for people are prone to block the small roads adjacent to the school and it has been known for some to park across drives and also the numerous school buses sometimes block Colney Heath Lane as well.

We have been made very aware that the students at Nicky B desperately need refurbished changing rooms. The addition of an all weather pitch would be a great advantage for the students given our weather conditions but it is not a necessity.

But why, oh why do they have to rely on the partnership of the St Albans City Youth Football Club? Their inclusion in this venture is what has caused so much controversy over this school expansion. Could the diocese not support the school in their endeavour to provide much needed updated sports facilities for the students of their school instead of involving an outside organisation?

Or could the school not run fundraising/sponsorships to help raise money for their new changing rooms? I remember that when I was a member of our children’s PTA we would raise thousands of pounds every year for school ventures.

The St Albans City Youth Football Club, which supports over 40 different teams, would require the school grounds to be operational 82 hours per week all year which includes weekends.

School hours are 32 per week, term time only. The hours would be Monday to Friday 9am-10pm and Saturdays and Sundays 10am-4pm all year. This would add so much more parking problems, noise and traffic to a narrow country road.

Bear in mind 41 hours of the 82 hours of usage would require 9ft-high floodlights as well. Think of the houses a few metres from where they would be erected. These points and as you can imagine many other problems would make life for nearby residents intolerable.

This is why Chris Brazier voted against the proposal and the residents of the area thank him for his support.

LINDA GANT

Swans Close, St Albans

No support from our councillors

SIR – We, as residents of Beeching Close, would like to comment regarding the article on the front page of the Harpenden Herts Advertiser dated November 11 and also put our feelings into print regarding many other letters that have been printed.

As members of Westfield Action Group (WAG), Beeching Close residents are opposed to any form of development on the land known as Westfield Common where the allotments were situated until around 2005.

Any housing developments on this land would cause a great problem to all the protected wildlife that exists on the land.

Also no thought has been made to congestion of traffic, schools which are already at capacity, no regular bus service plus no certainty that we will keep our small convenience store.

St Albans council have been very supportive of our case and given us the courtesy of meeting our spokesperson as to the reasons why we want to keep this piece of land from developers taking over and causing residents in the area unnecessary stress.

Our Harpenden councillors would be given the same kind of welcome if they gave their time to visit and listen to our case. Is that not why we vote for them, to take an interest in all forms of activity in Harpenden and listen to all our arguments?

MRS P BELLEW

MRS R. MILLAR

Beeching Close, Harpenden

SIR – Homes for all? What planet is your headline writer on? If you read the article (Harpenden edition, November 25), you will see there is NO rented accommodation proposed at all. So much for the big “we need social housing” cry from local councillors.

Also, those of us who live in the area and know both the site and its history, suspect that the chances of 24 shared ownership houses is as remote as a heatwave over Christmas. The infrastructure costs of putting anything on the landlocked site means that the only way a developer could recoup their costs is by cramming the area with as many houses as possible, the majority of them on the open market at Harpenden prices. Probably already earmarked for the children of the favoured few.

Local people are not being heard. This is not democracy, it is Rule by Developer.

CAROL HEDGES

Westfield Action Group

(Editor’s comment: The headline for this story came from comments expressed by town clerk John Bagshaw: “Westfield provides an excellent location for affordable housing. There must be provision of a home for all.” Nobody here was referring to rented accommodation in any capacity.)

Praise for our police

SIR – As a Harpenden resident born and bred I was horrified to find my home broken into. Fortunately I arrived home to interrupt this burglary.

I spent an innocent childhood in this “village” and hate the fact we now have to lock our front doors if only “popping next door”. My patio doors were ruined and footprints from wet grass were left on my patio.

Unfortunately the burglars are probably too uneducated to read your letters page but they should known we’re on to them!

The police arrived very quickly and were thorough and reassuring. I had four officers, a dog and dog handler, CID and SOCO all call at my house that evening. I cannot thank Herts Constabulary enough for their attention and follow-up.

Please let the newspapers STOP criticising the police, who do a fantastic and difficult job.

HENRY HITCHIN

Address supplied

Council madness

SIR – A writer in last week’s edition commented on the decision by the council to plant grass seeds in November – perhaps we could have a regular feature on such nonsensical decisions?

I watched incredulously last week as a council worker used a leaf blower to clear the pavement on the corner of Holywell Hill and Grove Road – nothing unusual in this you might think, except that this was on the windiest day of the year! The leaves were blowing back faster than he could clear them yet he continued to waste time and energy blowing the leaves as that was clearly what he had been told to do so he must do it! I could also add the story of the council road ‘repair’ team who dug up the corner of Belmont Hill nearest Grove Road and relaid it in an even worse state!

I am sure other readers have similar absurd tales to tell?!

SAM ADAMS

Grove Road, St Albans

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