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PUBLISHED: 11:06 30 November 2017 | UPDATED: 11:06 30 November 2017
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In the Comment article concerning the approval for 348 homes on the Oaklands site on November 9, the editor wondered what had happened to the No Oaklands Housing Action Group.
Let us assure you that some of the founding members of that group are still active within the Marshalswick North Residents’ Association (MNRA), a non-political residents group set up to preserve and enhance our local area for the benefit of all current and future residents and businesses within the ward.
MNRA were vocal at the Inspector’s enquiry not only because we are concerned about the loss of Green Belt adjacent to our city, but also because we believed that the proposal submitted by Taylor Wimpey was inappropriate and would impose a further burden upon our straining infrastructure which will affect us all.
Yes, the scheme does allow for 121 much needed affordable homes ranging from one bedroom apartments to three bedroom houses. However, 134 properties will be four or five bedroom homes for private sale.
No doubt, Taylor Wimpey will be marketing those houses primarily on the London housing sites for purchase by people wishing to commute into London.
Unfortunately, very little infrastructure has been included to support the scheme. Only a single access road has been agreed sending all the housing development traffic onto Sandpit Lane.
Consultants believe that by modifying the Sandpit Lane/Marshalswick Lane junction, the increased traffic from this development will not have any serious effect upon traffic congestion in the area. Herts county council appear to agree. But have they looked at how narrow and congested Sandpit Lane is beyond this junction heading into town and the station?
The Residential Travel Plan submitted by Taylor Wimpey which is intended to promote sustainable transport proposes that the Uno bus 653 should be diverted to the far north east corner of the site and then resume its previous route.
Who is going to sit on a bus which will run around Jersey Farm and Marshalswick before heading to town? A discussion with Uno would confirm that this is not a viable option. Taylor Wimpey need to come up with an alternative option for a half hourly bus link to serve the development.
These are just two examples of the problems that this scheme will cause to the local area in particular and St Albans in general.
This is before we look at the lack of schools, medical facilities, access to shops, public rights of way, to name just a few.
The Residential Transport Plan requires Taylor Wimpey to liaise with the local community including the local Residents’ Association.
Let us hope that they start this discussion in advance of any construction works so that minor changes can be made, in consultation with people who know and care about the community, to ensure that this development is sustainable and that infrastructure is in place that will benefit the future residents and the existing community.
JIM WATSON, chairman
Marshalswick North Residents Association
The St Albans branch of the Royal National Lifeboats Institution (The Lifeboats) would like to thank everyone who collected and contributed so generously to our very successful annual weeklong collection. I am delighted to say we collected the impressive sum of £4,602.37.
DAWN WHEELER Hon Secretary, St Albans RNLI
It was important that Alex Thomas responded to your article on gender fluidity by questioning the apparent lack of balance given to the subject.
I myself was dismayed to read that such choices could be made by children who would be allowed to daily change their minds!
Surely we should be encouraging children to accept the gender they were born with and consider the long-term implications of making any changes towards transition.
Our children should know that they are precious in God’s sight. He knows what is best for them when he created them make and female.
As we can see, anything else creates incredible confusion for the children, let alone the adults. JOANNE TREDINNICK The Ridgeway, St Albans
I have a compost heap at the bottom of my garden. This is the third autumn that I have obseved a nice pile of freshly-turned compost just next to my compost heap, all ready for putting on the flower beds next spring.
In March this year I ws looking out of my kitchen window, and was delighted to see a hedgehog scurrying from the compost heap, across the garden and away.
The Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust has told me that it is very likely to be the same hedgehog coming back each year to hibernate.
I always add all my leaves onto my compost heap, and I think this helps to make it a desirable, comfortable hibernation home for my hedgehog.
Surely the population of Herts hedgehogs would rise considerably is everyone had a compost heap, and threw away their large green plastic bins!
JOAN REIBSCHEID Harpenden Rise, Harpenden
The 1st St Albans Brownie Unit is celebrating 100 years. We meet at St Paul’s Church in Fleetville.
Were you part of this Brownie Unit or 26th St Albans Brownies? Hopefully you have some wonderfully happy memories of your time in the Sprites, Gnomes or Leprechauns!
We will be hosting a reunion afternoon tea to be held on the afternoon of Sunday March 25.
Please contact me via email if you would like to come along: firstname.lastname@example.org
Like and follow the facebook page: 1st/26th St Albans Brownies Reunion - I will be posting lots of old photos! I look forward to hearing from you!
LUCY DAVIES (previously Dayton)
Marten Gate, St Albans
St Peter’s Street should be pedestrianised as this would vastly improve the air quality which is frequently way above the legal limit.
The Mayor of London together with the Medical Council and Sports Council received wide media coverage when he had 10 London children aged about 10 years old with their doctors, parents and lung specialists at a major conference on air pollution.
These children’s lungs have been monitored by doctors and specialists since birth. All of our lungs become fully developed when we reach the age of 10, these children’s lungs had not grown to their full size or ever will do.
These children will never be able to compete in the Olympics when they get older and will be much more prone to respiratory deceases in later life.
We have two primary schools in the city centre there are many young families with small children who live close by. I go into St Peter’s Street every day and when the weather is fine about 40 per cent of all shoppers are young mums with toddlers or pushing prams with babies in them.
During the St Peter’s Street improvements, the street was closed to all vehicles except buses, taxis and cycles for two five week periods, one in term time and one in school holidays, and it proved very popular with pedestrians.
The bus companies were delighted as it was much easier for the buses to run on time and used a bit less fuel.
People coming into town to shop or do business by car don’t need go into St Peter’s Street to get to any of the car parks.
Cars, trucks and vans going straight through the town soon found other ways around the centre.
Number plate recognition technology is very well developed, placed in strategic spots it would make it easy to control traffic, and we already have some at junctions in the town.
The ridiculous idea of anti-idling zones is just councillors trying to look like they are doing something about the scandal of air pollution, it is a waste of money and paper and is out of touch with reality.
I live in Spencer Street and when it’s cold or very hot there are often cars or vans waiting in Cross Street while somebody goes into Argos or is just waiting leaving their engines running.
I tried tapping on their windows and politely asking them to turn off their engines but they just ignore me.
Last Wednesday I tapped on the window of a Herts council diesel van, the driver was eating a sandwich and reading a paper he opened his widow gave me the middle finger sign and closed his window and left his engine running.
In any case if everybody complied with this it would have a miniscule effect on air pollution.
Banning cars, vans and trucks in St Peter’s Street is one of the few things that our councillors has the power to do.
Putting cars and trucks before the health of our children is close to criminal.
Spencer Street, St Albans
I’ve read the planning appeal decision on Oaklands Collage, and as one who helped write the original District Plan, I agree that many St Albans councillors have only themselves to blame for the decision, having prevaricated so long in reviewing the Plan.
The reasoning troubles me though. The argument was that the “very special circumstances” of providing updated education facilities justifies building private houses in the Green Belt.
I wonder how a college in similar condition but with no surplus land is expected to cope?
Most public bodies need more funding .
Herts County Council owns a lot of Green Belt, as do other public bodies including the NHS and the University of Herts. I can’t see why the same principle doesn’t apply to them so that speculative development funds improvements in services.
If so, what makes “the circumstances” very special? DOUGLAS RAINE By email
People with the debilitating disease ME /CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome) often feel like they are missing from life, ignored or disbelieved by the medical profession and sometimes even by their own circle of acquaintances or family.
When this happened to Jennifer Brae she decided to convince doctors by videoing her own condition then went on to contact other sufferers around the world and to make an informative, comprehensive documentary, Unrest.
St Albans ME support group recently contacted The Odyssey in St Albans and asked them to screen the film which they were happy to do.
We would now like to thank The Odyssey publicly for their support, understanding and positive attitude to our group; for once we did not feel ignored.
ST ALBANS ME SUPPORT GROUP (www.stalbansmegroup.org.uk)