Letters, April 28, part two

Pollution plight

SIR – Here in the centre of St Albans there is a sense of shock that so many people’s health has been put at risk by the joint decision of the Tory county and the Lib Dem district councils to ignore the issue of the illegal traffic pollution at the Peahen and on the Holywell Hill for almost a decade – they hope that by doing nothing the problem will simply go away.

This has not happened. It has only got worse. Now several significant parts of the central area have had to be put on a special watch list, and others have been classified by the Lib Dems as “data not relevant”. This includes the flats that have been put on the rental market opposite the Civic Centre in Forrester House.

They’ve also taken another important decision to cement the policy of joint prevarication. They’ve decided to use the cuts as a pretext to stop monitoring the pollution effectively.

Now during the election campaign they’re pretending to squabble. They’ve mounted a diversion over the semi-pedestrianisation of St Peter’s Street, a scheme some say will reduce the traffic on the Holywell Hill. One of the parties is saying go, the other’s saying no.

I’m not deceived. They are mounting a charade, a pretence, of disunity to deceive the electorate. Neither of them genuinely want to do anything that will bring the pollution down to safe levels. It’s not as if there’s been an earthquake or a tsunami here in St Albans that would justify such a failure – just a coalition.

The Lib Dems pretend to believe in Europe, but when it comes to obeying directives they model themselves on certain founder states who believe that European Directives are for anybody else in Europe apart from themselves. And the Tories are just anti ANY European Directive full stop.

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Some residents are considering litigation. The councils are breaking pollution laws and leaving the NHS to pick up the tab for treating patients with pollution generated disorders. The local coalition of county and district are penny wise, pound foolish. They want to save pennies now on delaying traffic control for short-term political reasons rather than looking to the long term economic advantage of obeying the rules on pollution.


Holywell Hill, St Albans

More sculptures should be built

SIR – The proposal to create a Heritage Sculpture Trail in St Albans is interesting as we are extremely fortunate to have associations with many prominent people over the years which can be traced back as far as Alban, the first Christian martyr.

It is appropriate that we should honour those who have made a significant contribution to the quality and heritage of St Albans and the offer by the Samuel Ryder Foundation to fund the creation and upkeep of a statue to Samuel Ryder must be welcomed.

Samuel Ryder will be remembered mainly for his sponsorship of the Ryder Cup, even now the most important golfing competition at international level and, in his working life, established a business as a seed merchant in this city in the 1890s, was a councillor and mayor of St Albans as well as being a member and captain of Verulam Golf Club. A true Albanian!

However, what are the council planning to do to celebrate other notable recent contributors to St Albans? Sir John Maple, as the owner of Maple Stores the furniture manufacturer and retailer in London and living at Childwickbury he did much for this city, donating not only a hospital but also the excellent leisure and sporting facility of Clarence Park.

This facility is today used extensively and enjoyed by all groups of St Albans residents – and thanks to the benevolence of Sir John. So let us remember him as well.

Just as a footnote – when Samuel Ryder was appointed mayor in 1905, he surprised his fellow councillors by a tough and uncomplimentary assessment of the council’s lack of achievement. How we could do with him here now!


Woodstock Road North

St Albans

Get finger pointing out of elections

SIR – Am I the only person put off by some of the current election leaflet drops?

I have a received a leaflet from the Lib Dems critical of the county – run by the Conservatives – for poor road maintenance. Good point.

A week later another leaflet this time from the Conservatives saying they will improve pavements and street cleaning, a district responsibility – and run by the Lib Dems. Another good point.

Both parties are part of the national government so find finger pointing in that direction for blame difficult.

Both councils cost a packet to run and we are talking for example about the county CEO earning above the PM wage.

One local authority would still presumably have just one expensive CEO and well paid back up team, but here is the reason why it won’t happen, there would be no one left to blame!

Meanwhile neither county nor district councils do particularly well with street cleaning and road maintenance.


Cravells Road, Harpenden

No politics in parish

SIR – I have lived in St Stephen’s Parish (Bricket Wood) for 37 years and have always been greatly impressed by the services provided by the independent St Stephen’s Parish Council.

A prime example of which is the Greenwood Park facility and its developments over many years.

For some reason, best known to themselves, the Lib Dems are now trying to politicize our parish council and are putting candidates up in the forthcoming election.

If the Lib Dems were to gain seats on the parish council it would inevitably follow that other political parties would want to do the same. This would be to the disadvantage of independent candidates who fund all of their own campaign expenses when necessary.

Ultimately we would have a parish council not run for the benefit of St Stephen’s parish voters, but as a forum for the political parties involved. We already have enough of that nonsense at District and County level!

Let us keep St Stephen’s Parish Council free from being tainted by politics.


Reynards Way, Bricket Wood