Your letters to the Herts Ad...
PUBLISHED: 15:00 13 December 2016
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It would appear that the juggernaut of threats to the community of Radlett is once again careering out of control.
STRiFE are still fighting to stop the rail freight terminal from going ahead, the traffic ramifications of which will not only cause Radlett and the surrounding areas to completely grind to a halt but will have a disastrous effect on house prices.
The campaign group TRACKS (The Residents Against Newberries Car Park Scheme) have clearly proved that the scheme has massive opposition, as demonstrated by an exit poll of some 450 visitors to the two public exhibitions at the Radlett Centre last month, 408 of whom or 82 per cent were not in favour of the proposals.
Cllr Neil Payne, chairman of Aldenham Parish Council, said he believed that the majority of people who attended the exhibitions were neutral or supportive of the plan, even though he had been made aware of the results of the TRACKS exit poll.
I personally have not met anyone who is in favour of this development.
It is unfortunate that our councillors who, by supporting such a unanimously and clearly unwanted scheme which includes an upmarket Marks & Spencer food hall, appear to be stabbing our two existing supermarkets in the back even though both have made strenuous efforts to encourage shoppers, one by making room for a sub post office when our main post office was closed.
It beggars belief that this development will improve the parking situation in Radlett which is already at breaking point, with cars using every possible route around the village to avoid the centre.
The staff and customers of the Marks & Spencer food hall and 80 room hotel would easily fill the extra parking spaces provided, so there would actually be less parking provision at the southern end of the village.
Furthermore the developments of flats at the bottom of Park Road, on the old Burrells shop site and the fire station site, which have of course been worked on with minimum disruption to the community, have caused massive traffic hold-ups, intolerable noise pollution and have given one the feeling that we are living on a building site. When these flats are complete there will be nowehtere within a two mile radius of the northern end of the village for anyone to park their cars, as is already the case in Park Road, now known locally as Car Park Road.
Finally, I note that Scrubbitts Wood is now threatened with a planning application for eight flats with underground parking, an application which Cllr Payne is also in favour of. As a youngster, I spent many hours playing hide and seek, cricket, foodball, climbing trees and picnicking in these woods, as well as becoming interested in natural history.
In fact at the age of 12 I was lucky enough to see a pair of blackcaps, a seldom-seen member of the warbler family, in Scrubbitts Wood, which I have only ever seen on three occasions since. this wood also has one of the few colonies of ramsons or wild garlic in south Herts.
It is time that the residents of Radlett stood up against this continual barrage of development and said enough is enough. You cannot fit a quart into a pint pot particularly when that pot is broken and battered out of all recognition.
Certainly any further developments should be put on hold until we have some infrastructure in Radlett to cope with the population we now have, and by that I mean a permanent police presence and a fire station, both of which we pay for in our council tax but no longer have.
STEPHEN OAKES-MONGER Park Road, Radlett
In response to both the article about the delays in the new Harpenden Free School and the letter from David Williams I wish to say the following.
We live in Wheathampstead and love living here but are now considering moving as we do not have any faith that the school is going to be built in time. My son is due to go to secondary school in 2019 which is the so-called “bumper” year. The new timetable was announced without any explanation of the changes. This really does not fill me with hope that the school will be built for then let alone the proposed date of 2018.
There are going to be lots of people moving to ensure they get their children into a school as the lack of urgency by HCC is not filling anyone with confidence.
It also doesn’t help when you write to your local HCC councillor and your email doesn’t even warrant a response.
Nationally, insurance claims for accidents in car parks have increased by one-third in the past two years. The increase in the size of cars many of us choose to buy is widely accepted as the main cause. Although it is controversial (it encourages the use of over-sized vehicles) car park operators including National Car Parks (NCP) are responding by increasing the size of the spaces in some of the car parks they manage.
The car park spaces in the NCP-run Amenbury Lane car park in Harpenden have recently been relined. There are now four double rows and one single row in the central area: previously there were just four double rows. Although capacity has been considerably increased users have been complaining that the size of the spaces appears to have been decreased. Not so. The decades-old UK recommended standard of 4.8 x 2.4 metres has been retained.
The reason why the spaces feel smaller is that the width of the driving lanes has been drastically decreased from 8.0 metres to 5.5 metres - a reduction of nearly one-third. This makes it much more difficult to enter and leave the 90 degree parking spaces, even in a small vehicle.
Some authorities have recently started using the diagonal parking system, long popular in the US, to increase the capacity of their car parks. This system works well with very narrow driving lanes.
Bizarrely, NCP (acting for St Albans district council) have adopted driving lanes appropriate to diagonal parking but have retained right-angle parking.
This car park has been very badly managed in recent years: this is by no means the only issue of concern. Apart from the fact that many Harpenden people favour the use of large SUVs there are nearly always many very young children running to and from parked cars and the swimming pool entrance.
Capacity requirements seem to me to have been placed above safety concerns and I think that is a wrong decision. What do the authorities have to say on this? Are they just anxious to increase their revenue at all costs or do they have other reasons for going against the national trend?
We can, and must, insist on higher standards when reconfiguring the parking area to suit the demands of the new sports centre and arts hub.
Lambourn Gardens, Harpenden
I refer to Carol Hedges’s massive over reaction to what was a very minor incident on a bus last week. Quite how she correlates a simple question, however it was motivated, to victims of the holocaust indicates a massive shoulder chip fried in the metaphorical oil of last June’s vote to leave the EU.
Ms Hedges, I was not there on the bus and the person who asked you where you were from might well have been a not very nice person. However, to call them racist is a tad overdoing it don’t you think?
What was said to you when you were seven years old was, however, deeply reprehensible - but there is simply no comparison between the two. I ask the question of nationality all the time of people with an Eastern European accent, not because I’m racist or an anti-Semite but because I travel to the very beautiful Poland frequently and, like you, marvel at the complexity of their language and try to converse with the little of the language that I know because they are a generally very friendly people.
For you to take umbrage at the presumably English person who asked where you were from was not “racially prejudicial” at all and shows an extreme sensitivity which, especially as you say you were stripped last June of your EU citizenship, is a little far fetched. You were not stripped of it all. The country was offered a referendum with a single question and it democratically voted to leave rather than stay within the EU.
You may not have agreed with the outcome of the vote but in all democratic elections, there are going to be winners and losers. You appear to be a sore loser and to liken it to something akin to Hitler may is nothing but the pure fantasy of an Amazon author. I do hope you continue to practice your Polish with friendly shop assistants, bus drivers, waiters and the like and if asked the same question again by an enquiring English person, whatever their tone, simply do not engage with them.
That way, you will not feel compelled (perhaps you will though) to write over-reactionary letters casting aspersions of racism where there isn’t any and blaming the world and its mother on our democratic decision to leave the EU. Those who voted to leave are not, as you accuse them, smug, they simply voted in larger numbers than your camp. And before you start calling me a racist, some of my relations were actually killed in Auschwitz so I do speak with a little authority on the subject. I’m off to Poland now, to a real Christmas market and to practice my Polish. Dziękuję ci!
Green Lane, St Albans
I was shocked that your food writer threw out (among other things) half a pack of smoked mackerel while investigating food waste. My suggestion would be to mash it up and turn it into a pate. And yes, you can freeze smoked fish! I agree that you can’t do very much with chard leaves though.
Cornwall Road, St Albans
Urgh. Seen the artist drawings for Ziggurat House here in St Albans as part of your Home of the Week. They’ve taken a daring and actually well-executed reflective glass office block and turned it into yet another dull and unimaginative brick-clad residential block. With the residential blocks going in next to us on the old Beaufort House site, and the plans for the block on the old car park, this corner of St Albans is turning into an anonymised battery farm of a neighbourhood. Three major blocks of flats all within a cramped area of Grosvenor Road.
I would love to know what additional facilities are supposed to be supporting the new residents and their attendant traffic, and what the council has done with the S106 money as well as planning for the projected income from council tax.
Lime Tree Place, St Albans
Further to the Editor’s comment of November 24 on the low public response to proposed future housing in the area: disappointing, as many won’t realise that much of it is planned for the Green Belt (where we grow things!), despite Government assurances that that should be necessary “only in exceptional cases”.
So if there’s to be a new plan perhaps we should accept more ‘upwards’ near the centre rather than ‘outward’ developments on the periphery, which also lead to there being more town-centre traffic; and meanwhile ensure efficient use of any sites which do become available.
A detail concerning the proposed north extension of Harpenden is the disappointing leapfrogging of Cooters End Lane with housing up Luton Road as far as the Bedfordshire boundary, allowing the possibility of coalescence with their own housing plans.
All this is reminiscent of the post-war London overspill housing boom, but that was caused by re-housing those bombed out. The current pressure has a different ultimate origin and is being fuelled by London estate agents and TV programmes encouraging ‘a move to the country’.
Fairmead Avenue, Harpenden
How do Jon Breen et al suggest that we communicate our intention to reverse into our drive to other road users? In 1982 I moved into Beechwood Avenue with every intention of reversing into my drive but by day three I had to abandon the task. It was nigh impossible to stop the traffic sufficiently, without causing mayhem, because the drivers close up my rear failed to allow me room to drive backwards, appearing totally in ignorance of my intention.
Answers on a postcard please!
Beechwood Avenue, St Albans
As we approach the Christmas season, a time when many families are struggling financially, I’m supporting The Children’s Society campaign to protect the estimated 38,400 children living in problem debt in Hertfordshire.
Children living in families in problem debt are five times more likely to be unhappy than children in families without debt troubles. That’s why we’re calling on the Government to introduce a ‘Breathing Space’ scheme - to give parents time to get their finances back in order and repay their debts in a safe and affordable way.
Too often families fall into debt because of unexpected life events. They need time and space to get their finances back on track to repay their debts, rather than being chased by bailiffs and having fees and charges added, pushing them ever deeper into a perpetual cycle of debt.
At a time when some families are being forced to cut back on essentials like food and heating, we need our politicians to get behind this campaign to help protect families in Hertfordshire from falling further into the debt trap.
LOUISA DE BEAUFORT
Overstone Road, Harpenden
On behalf of the St. Albans Amnesty International Group I would like to thank the people of St. Albans for their most generous support of our annual collection in the town’s market area on Saturday November 26. The record-breaking sum of £498.69 was collected. People also signed a letter to the Mexican authorities regarding 43 students that had disappeared after being arrested by the police; in addition many signed a poster with messages to Teresa May, stating that St Albans stands with refugees and asking her to deliver an effective response to the global refugee crisis.
Amnesty International defends Human Rights - guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - throughout the world by researching, lobbying, publicising and sending appeals to authorities on behalf of those persecuted and oppressed because of their opinion, creed, colour, race or sex. Our group currently addresses Human Rights under threat by discrimination, imprisonment, torture, « disappearance»and death penalty, focussing mainly on individuals and groups in the Middle East and Central America.
Do come and check us out, if you are interested. We’d love to meet you. We meet every second Wednesday of the month – except August - at 8pm in the Friends Meeting House, 7 Upper Lattimer Rd, St. Albans AL1 3UD.
For further information please contact The Secretary on 01727 968521 or e-mail email@example.com. Or go to our website www.amnesty.org.uk/groups/st-albans
Press officer, St Albans Amnesty International Group
I was beyond astonished to read last week that your Editor alleges Julian Daly, leader of the Conservative council, doesn’t read this newspaper. Naively, I’d assumed that all local politicians, including Anne Main, would want to know what was happening in their parish. And even more, that they would care what was exercising the minds of their electorate. It seems to me he shows a certain amount of arrogance, even contempt.
Watsons Walk, St Albans
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