Letters, January 13, 2011, part two

PUBLISHED: 10:59 13 January 2011

Neighbours’ recycling cheek

SIR – I wish to thank the person(s) who recently ‘borrowed’ some space in the recycling box we use for clear and coloured glass bottles.

I admit it was only half-full when it was initially put out for collection just after Christmas, but it sat there (mind you, with its lid on) for two more days and was subsequently topped up in secret.

There are limits: any discerning refuse collector will now think I have been binging on inferior wine and cheap tomato juice.

It’s enough to drive one to drink.

RICHARD WHITE

Park Hill, Harpenden

SIR – A year ago I was a lone voice defending the then failings in the collection system following poor weather. Following my recent collection, I now feel less inclined.

I would say I’ve fully embraced the ethos of recycling and find the contents of my black bin are now of a very modest and relatively sanitised nature. The interior of the bin is almost as clean as the day it was delivered and I endeavour to make the collection of my rubbish as simple a transaction as possible.

It was therefore a matter of extreme irritation to me, when I retreived my black bin folllowing collection, to find it had apparently been used as a receptacle by the collectors for someone else’s unwrapped rancid green waste. A great dollop of foul matter stuck to the bottom of the bin. Absolutely disgusting.

I remain confused by how or why this has occurred but, like many residents, the collection of my rubbish is the only direct service I receive from the council in exchange for my rates and the very least I expect is that it is taken away. Not replaced by somebody else’s!

MAXINE CLARKE

Tavistock Avenue, St Albans

Thank you for supporting cats

SIR – The St Albans and District Branch of Cats Protection would like to thank the staff and all readers of the Herts Advertiser for their help with donations, tombola, cat food and re-homing of cats through out 2010.

All the unwanted cats advertised in the Herts Advertiser as needing homes have been found their own purr-fect safe and secure homes again, giving them a second chance at a new life.

However, we are finding that more and more unwanted cats are being left at vets or become strays because their owners no longer care for them.

As we are a very small charity relying solely on volunteer help there is a limit to what we can do and how many cats we can help at one time.

In 2010 we managed to re-home over 70 stray or unwanted cats and kittens and reunite over 20 ‘lost’ cats with their owners.

A benefit for us is always when a cat is micro-chipped.

As well, neutering is important as neutered male cats do not fight or wander and neutered females don’t have young, hungry kittens to worry about.

If anyone wants any help getting their cat neutered, please contact us.

As well, if anyone has unwanted recent gifts to donate for tombola or unwanted cat food or litter, contact us and, hopefully, we can put this to good use and collect.

We are always on the look out for volunteers who want to help with fundraising or fostering or helping us find homes for our cats in care.

Our contact number for all of the above is 0845 3712064.

Wishing all your readers a happy New Year as it is the Year of the Cat (also the Rabbit!)!

JEAN THOMPSON

Co-ordinator

St Albans & District Cats Protection

www.stalbans.cats.org.uk

Stan Tracey trumpet blunder

SIR – Jazz fans reading the article about the council’s cinema plans for the Maltings Arts Theatre (Herts Advertiser, January 6) will have been bemused to discover that Stan Tracey, local resident and jazz piano god, who has frequently played this venue under the aegis of fansofstan, has apparently forsaken his chosen instrument and, in his 85th year, taken up the trumpet.

Apologies and hilarity all round. The guilty perpetrator is even now writing out the correct designation five hundred times.

Stan’s gigs at this intimate city centre venue have for the past three years been sell-outs, and demonstrate that if the product and the marketing are good, live performance doesn’t need council subsidy.

Which is why we intend to fight determinedly to ensure that any future seven-day film programming will have running through it a continuous thread of top-class live events – and no graveyard slots either.

Partly because of these coming changes, fansofstan has widened its scope this year to bring other world-class musicians besides Stan to perform in the city.

On Saturday, March 26, 2011 at 8pm at the Maltings Arts Theatre, Scots piano wizard David Newton, nine times winner of annual British Jazz Awards, unites two UK jazz dynasties: Alec Dankworth on bass and Clark Tracey on drums.

Tickets, at £12.50, are available from the Tourist and Information Centre, 01727 864511 or from the website at www.allaboutstalbans.com (a small booking fee does apply).

But with the theatre closing for refurbishment for several months, what of the annual October Tracey fest?

Fret not: all is rearranged: watch out for details: Stan will be a little early this year.

MARION HAMMANT

for fansofstan – the ad hoc local group who thinks jazz matters.

West View Road, St Albans

(Editor’s comment: Marion’s letter was one of several we received pointing out our unfortunate error in describing Stan Tracey as a trumpeter, for which we can only apologise!)

(Chief sub-editor’s comment: And I’ve even got Under Milk Wood on my iPod and I still missed it – bad day at the office, sorry.)

Beaumont ‘is pawn’ in planning bid

SIR – I think it somewhat appropriate that you have chosen to head your report on page 11 of the Herts Advertiser on January 6 with exactly the same photograph that was used in your article of October 14 when the most recent Beaumont planning application was turned down.

Absolutely nothing about this proposal has changed from then until now and very little had actually changed in that planning application from their previous attempt in 2008.

To a certain extent I do feel sorry for Beaumont School which does have accommodation difficulties, but in reality they have become a pawn in the battle for the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine’s (LSHTM) push to make money out of land that they own within the Green Belt.

If this proposal/appeal can be pushed through then there will be little to prevent LSHTM from getting the other field that they own to the rear of Wynches Farm Drive removed from the Green Belt.

This would then make it prime development land and very valuable.

There is a “convenient” point on the latest plans submitted which would allow easy road access through to the second field.

Forgive me for being cynical but that is just too convenient to be anything other than deliberate.

The Lib Dem-controlled district council has always been steadfast in its defence of the local Green Belt, but seems to have been wavering of late and is asking in its latest Shaping Our Community: Core Strategy Consultation (see the district council website for details) to be suggesting that some areas, including this one, could be removed.

But, once started, where do you stop?

Do we end up with St Albans merging into Hatfield?

Will somebody attempt to revive the old Glinwell development plans?

In its foreword to the consultation document the council states “The council remains resolute in its protection of the Green Belt”.

Let’s make sure that we hold them to that.

As far as this appeal is concerned, in my view, the following points still apply:

1. Serious erosion of the Green Belt;

2. Removal of a distinctive line of Poplar trees;

3. A further new housing development which will be turned into a twice daily car park for parents’ vehicles;

4. A pedestrian rat run opening into Wynches Farm Drive via Kay Close creating a line of strewn litter between the Oaklands shops and the school;

5. Yet more traffic emptying out onto an already congested Hatfield Road.

For these reasons I believe that it should still be refused.

I am not a lone voice here, this development has also been opposed by St Albans Civic Society and the Hertfordshire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

If your readers feel strongly about this appeal then they should not only make their views known via your pages but also by responding to the consultation mentioned above by February 7 and to the Planning Inspectorate appeals website (www.planningportal.gov.uk/pcs ) quoting reference APP/B1930/A/10/2142127 by January 28.

RICHARD YOUNG

Wynches Farm Drive

St Albans

Plans move is unfair to local residents

SIR – St Albans District Council seems to have decided to move Plans North, a local planning committee usually held in Harpenden, to St Albans council chamber.

They say that it would help the public see the decisions on camera and ignore the offer by HTC to provide a wide-angle webcam. Another example of Localism Denial by the LD SADC cabinet.

Pity the poor residents, some of whom are elderly, wishing to speak for or against their local applications having to travel to St Albans by 7pm.

This is especially in the dark winter evenings, having to park in deserted car parks and walk through poorly-lit areas.

The centre of St Albans is not renowned for its safety in the evenings, and especially later when the residents wish to return to their cars, and get home afterwards.

If they were to take a taxi for safety it would cost around £35 or more for a return trip.

The residents who want to come to the planning meetings sometimes want the opportunity to discuss the application with others involved and it is sometimes at this point valuable solutions and recommendations can be found.

It is not just the loss of this local venue which I find so unfair, but the town or parish councillor allowed to speak on behalf of other residents not allowed to speak also has to spend extra travel costs as the public do at their own expense.

CLLR CAROLINE VINCENT

Tallents Crescent

Harpenden


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