Your letters to the Herts Ad...
PUBLISHED: 09:34 04 September 2017
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Trevor Barton (Herts Advertiser August 17) is certainly not alone in his concerns about the hazards of pavement cyclists.
I was nearly knocked over earlier this week by a cyclist who suddenly emerged at high speed from the path between the Abbey Theatre and Westminster Lodge in Verulamium Park (not an official park cycle route, incidentally) onto the pavement near the Griffiths Way/Holywell Hill roundabout.
The recent prosecution of a cyclist in London for fatally injuring a pedestrian only highlights the fact that in a collision with a cycle, those on foot will inevitably come off worst.
The invariable lack of warning given by cyclists using footpaths who ride up behind and overtake pedestrians only heightens the risk of an accident should the latter unexpectedly change direction.
The problem is compounded by the supine attitude of both council and police, who appear to have abandoned enforcement of the law forbidding pavement cycling in general, and on non-designated routes within our public parks; and fail to provide physical separation of cyclists and pedestrians on those paths designated for shared use.
My experience is that the majority of cyclists now regard any footpath as a legitimate route, to be traversed at the highest possible speed regardless of the potential danger to others.
The fact that the roads are often dangerous for cyclists should not be used as justification for transferring the risk to those on foot, whose reactions may be slow and movements unpredictable, and who lack the protection of helmets and other safety wear.
ROGER PENNELL Trevelyan Place, St Stephens Hill, St Albans
May I, through the letters pages of your paper, say a HUGE thank you to all those generous individuals who have supported my ‘Fill a Supermarket Food Box’ campaign over the summer.
It is shameful that, even in an affluent area like ours, there is hidden food poverty, and children going hungry over the summer holidays.
I am grateful that so many people responded positively and generously and (I hope) permanently) to my appeal.
To those who were inspired to volunteer to help at a food distribution centre: a specially BIG thank you!
And to the few who were unpleasant, critical and dismissive of what I was trying to do, who gave me a hard time on social media,I just hope you never know the sadness of not having enough to eat, or the fear of being unable to give your children nourishing meals because your meagre wages don’t stretch to filling your cupboard/fridge/fruit bowl.
No child ‘deserves’ to go unfed, whatever its circumstances, or family situation.
CAROL HEDGES Coldharbour Lane, Harpenden
I have been sent the link from your newspaper re the possible loss of the bus 34 evening service which runs from St Albans to Markyate.
I work for the parish council in Flamstead and the loss of any bus which serves this village will always be hotly contended.
Just recently we were told that the no 46 bus (Hemel-Luton) would not be passing through Flamstead but it would still be going along the A5 (just not diverting off to Flamstead - which is a slight diversion parallel to the A5). There was considerable anger at this proposal - and even the bus timetables for September had been produced excluding the Flamstead stop.
The parish council had not been informed at all - just a note put on a bus stop.
The uproar that followed, with fantastic assistance from Cllr Douris (County Hall) as well as Mike Penning brought a reversal of this decision - although the bus company will be monitoring bus usage closely.
However, with the no 34 bus service - in particular the late service to me having lived in Flamstead for nearly 20 years is something of a ghost service.
If you look on the Centrebus timetable on ine as I have many times to see when this elusive late bus runs - there is no mention of it.
But I see it pass through the village - often practically empty if not a Mary Celeste look alike. Apparently you have to look at the Intalink timetable to find it - but who would know that? It is the worst advertised service in existence, so I am not surprised it is under used.
Would it not be better to promote its service in advance of cutting it?
I assume that it is not advertised much because it is a subsidised service therefore there is no incentive to put bums on seats.
Just thought you may be interested - in the parish council’s success in reversing the no 46 and my thoughts on the elusive evening buses!
CAROLINE FREER Clerk to Flamstead Parish Council
I read your report concerning the council’s plans central committee giving approval for another scheme by St Albans School (August 17).
This time for a three storey maths block on designated Green Belt land. I understand the project is funded by a legacy, so I suppose it was inevitable the school would make a special circumstances case to gain support.
Local resident Adrian Smith spoke well and, in my opinion, gave good reasons for refusal. But to no avail.
Cllr Pakenham’s explanation of what is or isn’t Green Belt and how it looks, was novel, to say the least.
Cllr Clegg’s remarks gave the impression that the “old army barracks (of the) ‘50s and ‘60s” looking building was being used for teaching, and therefore needed to be better.
Unless scholars are sat there during lessons dodging bullets, it isn’t. That’s because it is a rifle range and the wooden shed’s modest looks adequately fulfills that function.
And thus decisions are made. One that by its construction works alone will add to the congestion and pollution already caused by the school’s cars and coaches moving through the narrow streets of the conservation area and affect hundreds, if not thousands, of residents.
The very people that actually live there, pay council taxes and, let us not forget, are voters.
One hopes the Secretary of State, to whom the decision now has to be referred because, as the planning officer admitted, it is still an inappropriate development on designated Green Belt land, won’t be taken in by such stuff.
I won’t be holding my breath on this though. ERIC ROBERTS
Fishpool Street, St Albans
In response to the letter by Lucy Ginty, I would hope that the benefit of the church and organ is for all that currently attend and enjoy worship at St Paul’s- and those generations yet to follow.
‘Keeping up with the times’ does not mean blindly dispensing with anything ‘traditional.’
The confirmation that, with a successfully large congregation comes a sizeable income should serve to confirm that the proposed removal of a fully-working pipe organ is not just down to lack of funds (the organ might cost £1,000 per annum to tune and maintain).
Given the admirable and enormous extension recently built at St Paul’s space can hardly be an issue- the organ only takes up small area in the church.
If the organ is seldom used- this is choice, not necessity- the value is both musical , partly historical and surely for the glory of God- not ‘niche interest’ (consider the famous St Albans based International Organ Festival) and is a resource that should be celebrated both by the St Paul’s and wider community- not condemned because it is out of vogue with ‘current’ trendy, evangelical worship fashion.
If the church isn’t mindful of the pastt, how can it look with confidence to the future?
The church was, is and always will be for the many, this doesn’t mean that ‘majority rules’ where a ‘praise band’ is currently favoured over an organ- particularly where the plan is to spend good money removing a fully functional pipe organ only to replace it with an expensive £13,000 brand new electronic organ?!
Thirty years ago St Paul’s was ‘traditional.’ Now it’s very evangelical. Who’s to say what will happen in another 30 years?
After all, these old buildings cost a lot to heat and maintain, why not knock down the whole church and build a new energy-efficient building? Why keep the current church for ‘sentimental reasons’?
I remind those at St Paul’s that they are custodians of the church and its assets.
Tread carefully with the legacy that is left to future generations lest they inherit an empty, meaningless building devoid of culture, history and unworthy of being ‘for the glory of God.’
JONATHAN HUMBERT By email
Re the somewhat exagerated report (Herts Advertiser August 24) of the travellers stay on Harpenden common, complete with the lovely sight of a true Romany caravan.
So sad to see someone doing their best to make Harpenden a laughing stock and it is a pity you chose to quote one individual rather than give a balanced report.
Your one-sided account might be taken to imply that Harpenden residents are prejudiced which I find highly insulting.
Romanies and other travellers have traditionally encamped overnight on common land, so it is very hard to understand the columns of newsprint devoted to their brief visit.
I, and many others, am far more concerned about the amount of development that is going on in and around Harpenden and the threat to the Green Belt, with the sole object of enhancing the already obscene profits of developers.
The plans already put forward will destroy the environment and quality of life not just for us but for future generations.
I walked my dog across the site of their encampment a few hours after they left and was impressed with how tidy they had left the area, no empty beer cans, broken bottles, discarded takeaway wrapping or cigarette ends as is frequently associated with many other visitors to the common.
There was absolutely no sign of the grass being torn up. just a few piles of manure which should delight any gardeners in the vicinity.
Certainly not the sort of damage frequently encountered after fairs or clasics on the common.
Since horseriders have open access to the common, it seems somewhat odd to complain about manure and hoofprints (did not see those either) but, hey, obviously first world problems to those who can find nothing else to worry about in their perfect Harpenden bubble.
I would also point out that it is a common and neatly cut grass is not something I wish to see on commonland.
Eastmoor Park, Harpenden