Letters, January 27, 2011, part three

PUBLISHED: 11:06 27 January 2011

Waste of resources

SIR – The Lib Dem-controlled St Albans District Council cabinet again appears to struggle with localism, culture, heritage and working with volunteer organisations.

They actually dismiss volunteers as time consuming challenges of recruitment and training in item 7.3 of their Maltings Cinema report. They prefer to expand their own expensive empire.

In comparison the Harpenden Film Society of volunteers produces a popular program of cinema films without any SADC subsidy. This is limited by the Harpenden Public Hall’s projection equipment and seating.

Everyone acknowledges more cinema screens are highly desired but SADC’s use of £500,000 of residents’ money to make the Maltings into a cinema is also in direct competition to the Odeon/Odyssey, will cause loss or severe constraint of live theatre/music facilities and appears against their own survey.

SADC’s figures for the Maltings have to use at best seven day figures attendances assumptions to break even. Perhaps they should first consider a £40k grant to the Harpenden Film Society and other film societies for new projection equipment or share that for the Maltings. We could remind them that St Albans was a home for the early British film industry.

MIKE WAKELY

Oakfield Road, Harpenden

Ghost of the 712

SIR – Refering to the brief note about the demise of the 712 bus service and a possible commuteronly replacement (Herts Advertiser, January 20), in fact the 712 still runs!

The diminished service is in a published timetable and consists of one bus each way per day. This leaves London about 9.30am arriving in St Albans about 10.35am in a convoy of three other buses giving morning day trippers, on the south side, a choice of four buses! (321, 621, 712 and 724).

The bus returns to London mid-afternoon. It is thus suitable for those going into London for a night on the town, so its popularity will be limited and currently can be counted as a “ghost” bus; probably used as a balancing run for sister Green Line services.

PH FIELD

St Stephens Avenue, St Albans

Speed humps latest

SIR – In response to the letters by Robert Bolt and Eric Bridgstock regarding speed humps in the Herts Advertiser of January 20.

Both Robert Bolt and Eric Bridgstock put forward the most spurious pseudo-scientific arguments I think I’ve seen for the removal of speed humps.

Let’s cut to the chase, both come from an ‘ideology’ which is about the freedom of drivers to use their vehicles as they please with few if any constraints as to how they do that.

Whether it’s speed cameras or fuel duty or in this case speed humps, ‘evidence’ is produced to show that actually, life is safer, quieter, better for local residents and certainly better for the planet when people can drive at a speed which they judge to be safe, where fuel prices are not subject to ‘unjust’ taxes, where using a mobile phone whilst driving isn’t really a crime and where vehicles can travel through residential areas at speeds which will instantly kill anyone who ventures off the pavement.

Actually, it isn’t great being on the pavement either as there are numerous deaths caused by motorists who lose control and go on to the pavement and kill pedestrians.

I doubt that most residents, particularly those with children who walk or cycle to school, will be taken in by these arguments, and I hope that our policy makers also will see through these ‘protestations’ from this narrow interest-group, the aims of which seem contrary to all common-sense.

The number of requests for increased traffic-calming measures by residents across the UK still far outweighs those who desire to remove them.

My children walk to school and I also cycle with them on local roads in Marshalswick and I feel happy to do this because of the lower traffic speeds created on Sherwood Avenue in particular.

They’re getting valuable exercise, as am I. They’re developing independence and confidence through being on the road on their bikes. Soon they’ll be happy to cycle off to visit friends, rather than having to be transported 800m or less by motor vehicle.

Good for their health, good for reduced noise in the local environment, good for reduced CO2 emissions and good for the global environment.

If Robert Bolt and Eric Bridgstock are really concerned about reducing CO2 emissions, improving the safety of people travelling in motor vehicles and more generally making life more pleasant and safer for local residents they might better focus their efforts on persuading motorists to obey traffic laws, get their vehicles taxed and insured, use public transport, cycle or walk wherever possible and reduce their own vehicle use.

These would have far greater impact than an expensive programme to remove ‘speed humps’. If people would obey speed limits and other road traffic laws there would be no need for speed cameras, traffic humps or other measures.

Let’s expose this for what it is, a thinly veiled attempt to get rid of vital measures which help promote safer, more pleasant and more attractive living areas, by those who are wedded to the motor vehicle and see that as the only one for people to transport themselves around, at whatever cost to their fellow citizens.

PHILE ROWE

Evans Grove, St Albans

Hospice merger

SIR – While the recent news that Grove House Hospice will be merging with Iain Rennie Hospice at Home may have come as a surprise to some people, for Grove House it is a natural progression, building on the solid foundations already in place.

Some time ago Grove House and Iain Rennie clinical teams successfully integrated and enabled Grove House to fulfil its vision of providing a 24-hour Hospice at Home nursing service to the people of St Albans and Harpenden. This service is now fully up and running with a permanent team of eight specialist nurses providing round the clock home nursing care every day of the year. Working in partnership with local District and Macmillan nurses, more than one hundred local patients have already been able to stay at home, mostly right up to the end of their life in familiar surroundings with family close by.

The proposed full merger will enable Grove House to extend all its services to deliver even better care to more local patients and their families. This is vital as our ageing population means that by 2030, twenty percent more people will require end of life care.

Grove House depends on local fundraising for eighty per cent of costs of our care, with just twenty percent paid for by the NHS. We are fortunate to have a huge number of loyal and generous supporters in this area and we are so grateful for all you do. As we grow and move forward we need your support more than ever; Grove House is still your local hospice and will maintain its identity as such.

While the new organisation will be named Iain Rennie Grove House Hospice Care, we will continue to use the familiar Grove House name and logo in this area. This will ensure that we maintain our strong local presence, support and community roots. Supporters can specify which service provided by the organisation they would like their funds to be spent on if they wish.

We urge you to continue your generous support so that we can continue to offer the excellent standards of care for which we have become known, for around 1,000 local patients and their families who need us each year.

MARK LISTER

CEO Grove House

Abbey Theatre is still going strong

SIR – Whilst Imogen de la Bere was reminding us of the new kids on the block it is good to note that down at Westminster Lodge, Abbey Theatre is going strong with a full season of drama and music. Log on to www.abbeytheatre.org.uk for details. Two auditoria, a licensed bar, adjacent car-parking and a relaxed atmosphere make St Albans Abbey Theatre the place to be.

DAVID STONE

Seymour Road, St Albans

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