Your letters to the Herts Ad...
PUBLISHED: 13:35 16 February 2018 | UPDATED: 13:35 16 February 2018
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It is a while since we have let readers know what is happening, some may even think we have given up; very far from true.
Without access to the site we can’t see the level of deterioration except we are worried about the environmental damage being done to the site and nearby lanes by the heavy vehicles/plant using the site.
We must also acknowledge that the status of the Green Belt is under ever greater threat.
During the last few months Save Butterfly World have quietly been negotiating with others both exploring a future for the site and where the Gardens of the Rose fits in.
We are also realists recognising the need to consider an alternative local site for a significant environmental project.
As well as our popular Butterfly Fairs we are planning a second art exhibition in April and our first environmental conference.
The conference “From Penguins to Pollinators wildlife lectures” will take place on Friday April 21 as part of the St Albans Sustainability Week 2018.
So as you will see we are very much alive if you want any further information, know an alternative site or want to join our mailing list please email me – firstname.lastname@example.org
Chair, Save Butterfly World
I am concerned that the latest plan proposes building 900 homes per annum. This is double the 2016 plan (438 pa) and nearly four times the 2012 plan (250 pa) and will result in 9-10,000 homes being built on the Green Belt, compared with 4,000 in the 2016 plan.
It seems the higher number is based on the artificial construct of housing ‘need’ using a draft methodology set out in a Government consultation paper and which the council has chosen to meet in full.
It ignores the NPPF which prohibits new large scale housing development in the Green Belt.
Will the council please explain the rationale behind their decision to build 900 homes pa and why the most important aspect of the Plan (the total number of houses) has been omitted from the consultation process?
Due to this increase, two-thirds of new housing will now be built on the Green Belt when 80 per cent of local opinion was against changing Green Belt boundaries for this purpose in the last consultation.
With previous analysis showing that local occupants of new build properties are massively outnumbered by those from outside the area by a ratio of 10:1, we are effectively being asked to concrete over our Green Belt to meet London’s housing shortfall. If this new housing is genuinely for local people and key workers, then make it a condition of approval for any new Green Belt development.
In response to your article about city councillors and council workers’ parking permits:
I think if car parking is included as a perk of the job, then fine, but it should not be 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There should be hours attached to the permit which reflect the normal working hours of the job, ie 8am-6pm Mondays to Fridays. There is no reason why council workers, who are notorious for their short working hours, should be entitled to free parking on evenings and at weekends.
Parking is extremely hard to find in St Albans city centre on a Saturday, for instance, and so giving away 350 free parking passes to allow people to go shopping makes neither fiscal sense for the council’s coffers, nor is it fair to residents and visitors who have to pay a minimum of £1.20 per hour to park.
MELISSA KANE St Albans
I cannot think of one good reason why St Albans council staff should receive free car parking, they already get nice salaries and final salary pensions courtesy of the rate payers and now they want free parking! This story is a complete wind up!
The state of our roads continue to be a disgrace - repairs to car wheels cost the taxpayer.
Grass verges are not maintained properly, even though the council say they are, ours has not been cut for three years and is ruined!
Currently our street lighting has been off for a week.
Now there talk of a further increase in our rates, we’re happy to pay this for the police but not for the council to waste more of our money, the Christmas market springs to mind for one - what an embarrassment that is and total waste of money.
Giving an obscene amount of free parking (no wonder they want the rest of us to use public transport) would no doubt be a further strain on the taxpayer by way of reduced parking revenue.
I suggest they come up with better ideas suited to the community that they serve.
SARAH ELLIS By email
I would not only question why St Albans council staff should have parking spaces, but ask how many of the staff don’t even need to be in central St Albans at all?
The council is spending huge amounts of residents’ money to modernise council services, including IT and better online offerings. There is so much less need to go to the offices or deal with people. The modernisation business case ought to have quantified the impact on staff numbers and most efficient locations.
The council officers want to knock down the civic centre and rebuild new offices for themselves, as part of another grandiose prestige scheme.
It is essential that they relocate to somewhere cheaper as all services are no longer essential to be in the city centre. Some should remain but not the majority, probably very little of the ‘support services’.
Even staff who currently ‘need’ their council-paid cars for inspection trips out to sites etc must recognise that they could be based anywhere, Porters Wood industrial estate for example, or some of the council-owned vacant units around the district.
As new mega developments of affordable estates in the Green Belt come about, council services must open there to save excessive journeys for the new communities and to help them feel part of St Albans.
There is lots of scope to help the traffic and parking problems, hopefully not to be missed through inertia and self-interest. G NEWLYN By email
So the council says it needs free car parking to attract talented staff who come and go throughout the week to meetings etc.
Where does that leave the talented medical and nursing staff as well as ancillary workers at St Albans City hospital who have to pay for their car parking?
As a nurse for many years before retiring I dread to think how much my parking cost me over the years.
All council staff should be paying for parking just as health service staff do all over the country. JENNIFER DUNDON By email
Barry Cashin’s letter about Jamie’s Italian last week marked a first for me, it was so short that I actually read it all the way through. Don’t get carried away Barry I doubt it will happen again.With 45 years under my chef’s hat I feel qualified to comment.
A more spiteful missive would be hard to imagine. Barry is delighted that people have lost their jobs and sneers at a man who has done more to promote good food and healthy eating in this country than anyone I can recall.
His impact on school dinners is there to be seen today and will be well into the future.
Jamie Oliver has made it cool for young people to be interested in what they eat and to learn how to cook it themselves.
His skill and passion has made its mark on an industry that provides jobs for all.
It’s an industry of equality that decades before it was a big issue employed the black/white/gay/straight or whatever without any other question than ‘Can you do your job or are you willing to learn it?’ I’m proud of my trade for that.
I’ve lost count of the brilliant people that have passed through my kitchens. People who went on to become head chefs, people who supported themselves while training to be doctors, and people who had no advantages in life but knew how to turn up on time and work hard, all worth 10 of you Barry.
Let’s just mention the tax.The amount of money that flows into a restaurant that exits as tax would be eye-watering to any other industry. Austerity coming your way Barry!
Let’s just hope you’re not on an NHS waiting list because this is where the money comes from.
Believe me Barry it’s hard work the like of which you have no concept in your tiny little world of nine to five, warm beer and scotch eggs on the counter that Alexander Fleming would have been keen to examine. LEE ROGERS Harpenden
I write with reference to your article regarding the land known as the ‘Wastes’ on Sandridge Road.
Peter Cook - an activist for green spaces within the district and chair of Friends of Bernards Heath really should know better. SADC quite rightly informed that certain houses along the road have access across the Wastes written into their title. I know, I am one of them.
What the reporter failed to ask Mr Cook was what his suggestion might be for access to the houses assuming these driveways were not allowed. He would then have at the very least provided us with a level of comedy we became used to by another Peter Cook. Helicopter drop-ins?
The issue of the Wastes looking unsightly IS an important issue and for that SADC do have questions to answer. Had they cared better for the trees lining the road we would not be losing quite so many of them now. The council is also guilty of being toothless when it comes to the myriad of abuses of the land by homeowners carrying out building work. This is of course a financial issue as they simply do not have funds to deal with these people legally. To conclude: the fault therefore lies with SADC and brutal imposed budget cuts by a pernicious Tory government.
Let me know please when the helicopter service will begin.
Sandridge Road, St Albans