SIR, — Once again I would suggest it is necessary to clarify the comments that have been made by Mr Robert Hill regarding the use of the picnic area on Harpenden Common (Herts Advertiser, July 3). It is suggested that the council had a change of heart o
SIR, - Once again I would suggest it is necessary to clarify the comments that have been made by Mr Robert Hill regarding the use of the picnic area on Harpenden Common (Herts Advertiser, July 3). It is suggested that the council had a "change of heart" over authority to use the picnic area as a car park.
The reason that the Town Council did not give permission for the use of the picnic area as overflow parking for a football tournament was clearly laid out in the decision taken at the meeting of the Environmental Committee on February 20, 2008. Members were concerned that the traffic generated in the area for the competition would be excessive and that without comments from the police confirming their position on this matter it was considered inappropriate to authorise the use of the picnic area at this time.
Considering the numbers that were being discussed by the football club and the potential traffic congestion that would be created as a consequence of authorising the use of the site, it was considered prudent to ensure that the police were satisfied with the arrangements before giving authority. This was explained to the football club and the matter was never progressed.
The committee has been consistent with its approach to the Classics on the Common. In December 2007, the committee agreed that the picnic area could be used by the Classics' organisers for 2008 if the weather did not prohibit the use of the field. This was consistent with the decision last year when, unfortunately, due to the very wet weather that was experienced, the use of the picnic area had to be withdrawn.
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There was no decision on June 11 at the Environment Committee which reversed or otherwise any decision to allow spectator parking on the Common. The report to which Mr Hill refers us, probably relates to the designated parking sites on the Common.
The Environment Committee has been consistent in its approach in managing the picnic area. I am sorry that Mr Hill has misunderstood or not appreciated the Town Council's position on this matter. Clearly not "a change of heart", it is the practical application of common sense.
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CLLR DANIEL CHICHESTER-MILLS,
Chair Environment Committee, Harpenden Town Council.