Letter, October 7, part two

Sinking feeling over pool-size decision

SIR – I refer to your article and letters in last week’s Herts Advertiser pertaining to the misleading of residents of the true position of the ASA regarding a 50m pool in St Albans.

Cllr Donald now proclaims he and his cabinet colleagues have always known that the ASA preferred a 50m pool for St Albans, whose chairman is quoted in your article as believing it would represent better value for money.

I have observed three meetings this year where Cllr Donald has been present or chaired the meeting, where he has allowed his cabinet colleagues and officers both verbally and in reports misrepresent the views of the ASA, without any attempt to correct this falsehood.

It was only at Full Council in September that Cllr Donald, confronted by Cllrs Daly and Leach with copies of the ASA’s ‘position statement’ in front of them, sent that afternoon to the council and others, was forced to concede the truth.

In contractual terms the ASA’s true stance would be considered ‘material facts’.

Have, therefore, contracts already been broken and the project planning been comprised. Clearly the overview and scrutiny cross-party committee and the public have been misled.

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Therefore to proceed further with this project without a full review of all aspects of this scheme, could lead to Cllr Donald and his colleagues being in deeper water than they are in already!


Tennyson Road, St Albans

SIR – I was thrilled when I saw the wraparound of your edition of September 30 for the new leisure centre planned for Westminster Lodge.

It told me that, amongst the other things to be included, were three swimming pools. Hooray, I thought, they’ve listened to PoolTooSmall’s concerns that the new main swimming pool would not be big enough to cater for future population growth. See www.pooltoosmall.com

However, when I read further, I discovered that the third swimming pool referred to is the confidence pool with very shallow water for 0-5 year old children –more a puddle than a swimming pool. This puddle is estimated by the council to cost �513,000 to build. A very expensive puddle to my mind.

All in all, what a disappointment. Especially as it is now revealed that far from recommending that the new main pool should be 25mx8 lanes, the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) have stated all along that their first choice would be a 50-metre configurable community pool with diving boards and pit.

With the inadequate proposed main pool size of only 25mx8 lanes, what an opportunity is being missed to leave a wonderful Olympic-year legacy for St Albans to cherish!


Co- Founder of PoolTooSmall – www.pooltoosmall.com

SIR – We see in this week’s Herts Advertiser that the position of the Amateur Swimming Association has been “misrepresented” by the Liberal Democrat council to the public.

This seems to be a theme developing when it comes to Lib-Dem governing methods and campaigning tactics.

The people of St Albans are, each election time, subjected to literature showing their local Lib-Dem grinning next to a ‘pot hole’.

As the county council relies on potholes being reported, and every county councilor across St Albans is a Liberal Democrat, it seems the potholes could just as well be described as a “Liberal Democrat pothole”, as much as a “Tory pothole”.

I don’t believe that either party actually wants potholes, so to not report them, and just to take a picture looking angry about them, seems a little manipulative.

Also at the General Election, the people of St Albans were encouraged to vote Liberal Democrat to ‘Stop The Tories!’. Considering subsequent events it seems that claim was a little churlish also.

Do the people of St Albans feel deceived yet?


The Cleave, St Albans

Cost of road repairs

SIR – At a time when stringent savings are being imposed on the public sector, so that the available budget for repairing Hertfordshire’s cracked and pot-holed roads becomes ever more restricted, it is astonishing that huge amounts have clearly been spent recently on resurfacing the two or three miles of semi-private road within the precincts of Harpenden’s Rothamsted Research establishment.

From Rothamsted Manor House the roads radiating out to Hatching Green, to the main laboratory buildings and even out to the relatively remote farm buildings adjacent to Broadbalk have been splendidly, let us say professionally, resurfaced with top-grade Tarmacadam.

As one who frequently walks along those stretches of road I make the following observations: they were in a more than adequate condition before the work was started; and the amount of traffic they carry is negligible compared with many public roads in and around Harpenden.

For the latter, where Herts County Council has deigned to allocate funds for refurbishment in the last two or three years, most recently Park Mount and much of Rothamsted Avenue for example, a cheap ‘surface dressing’ has been applied.

In some places the job has been done in such a hurry that the contractors did not even bother to blank off the drains before the work started, so they became blocked with solidified tarmac – and were left in that state. In Ridgewood Drive, which received the same cheapskate treatment only about two years ago, large parts of the road surface have already worn through to expose the pot-holes that were there before.

To anyone who says ‘oh yes, but Rothamsted Research relies on a separate DEFRA budget from that of Herts CC’, I say both budgets come ultimately from the public purse and the new coalition government would do well, in planning its deficit-reducing cuts, to start by sorting out glaring expenditure inconsistencies of the kind I have described.


Ridgewood Drive, Harpenden

Street spirit

SIR – I was delighted to receive from a relative the article regarding the recent street party in Eaton Road, St Albans (Herts Advertiser, September 16).

My parents Sidney and Ethel Wright moved into No 13 on their marriage in 1928, my late sister was born there in 1932 and I followed in 1935, living there until my marriage in 1956 and my sister moving to Canada the same year.

Dad died in 1979 and Mum remained at the family home until she moved to Hampshire to live with me in 1990.

I do remember the Routledge family specifically, as we obtained a most beautiful tortoise-shell cat from them. I think it would have been Sally’s grandfather living there at the time with their son Bobby.

As a point of interest, your photograph shows two red-brick houses at the end of the road on the left hand side – these replaced the two bombed cottages.

I will never forget the night that occurred on October 20, 1940, it was the first time we had slept upstairs for ages, normally sleeping under the dining room table for safety. The bomb landed in the front garden and the front of the houses just fell out.

I remember we all had to leave the house as a gas main had ruptured in the road sending up 20ft flames and we all moved to the house right at the end of the road and spent the rest of the night there. No one, miraculously, was injured.

My memory also includes a street party at the end of the war and dancing in Hatfield Road outside what was Ballito Hosiery Mills (now Morrisons I think)! It is nice to see good neighbouring still exists.


Tipton St John, Sidmouth