Letters, April 7, 2011, part three

Incinerator would be a white elephant

SIR – In last week’s Herts Advertiser there was a report about the proposal by Hertfordshire County Council to build a waste incinerator at either Harper Lane, near Radlett, or at New Barnfield in South Hatfield.

It is a pity that the Herts Advertiser called the New Barnfield site “a former secondary school plot”. This makes the site sound empty, whereas in reality it currently houses the Central Resources Library, which is a public lending and reference library with computer facilities. This is an amenity for the people of Hatfield and Welham Green, who have few amenities, as well as for the whole county. On the site there is also The Park Education Support Centre. Herts County Council would have to move these facilities elsewhere, in order to clear the site for an incinerator.

An even worse problem is that immediately next to the New Barnfield site there is a second school, Southfield School, for primary-age children with special needs.

This school was purpose-built in 1995, and is much needed because of the shortage of special schools in Hertfordshire. The children and staff at this school would be terribly affected by having a huge waste incinerator right next to their boundary fence. They would also be harmed by the noise and pollution of waste-carrying lorries going past their door every few minutes. This would be in addition to the stream of lorries which already travel up the New Barnfield slip-road to the Tesco depot.

The New Barnfield site is also very close to housing in South Hatfield and to a recreation ground, which would bear the brunt of the vastly-increased traffic.

Directly next to New Barnfield there is a wildlife site, through which runs a CMS nature walk enjoyed by local people. Here, and also on the site itself, there are ponds in which there are rare newts, which it is illegal to disturb. The whole site is an important part of the Green Belt, dividing Welham Green and Hatfield.

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Just a field away is the Hatfield cemetery, the peace and beauty of which would be destroyed by the sight and sounds of an incinerator and its traffic. Close by is historic Hatfield House and its park, which would suffer visual and air pollution. The 100-metre stack of an incinerator would be seen for miles from this hilltop site.

On our website at www.hatfield-anti-incineration you can see photographs of New Barnfield.

Hertfordshire does not need an incinerator, which would soon become an expensive “white elephant” as recycling increases over the 25-year contract. There does not need to be an incinerator at either Harper Lane or in Hatfield. County Councillors must be persuaded by April 28 to avoid a mistake which will cost Hertfordshire dearly, both financially and in harm to the environment and residents.


Committee, Hatfield Against Incineration

Campaigning for a thriving High Street

SIR – In fairness to those estate agents who do contribute such a lot to the well being of our community I feel I have to correct some possible misunderstandings that might be construed from your front-page article two weeks ago on “selfish parking” and the comments I am quoted for (Harpenden edition, March 24).

The article stated that many business owners (and estate agents were mentioned) were “hogging” on-street parking all day outside their premises.

This over-generalised comment was not in any way meant to put the blame for the so-called “selfish parking” on the majority of local businesses (including estate agents).

Quite the opposite most estate agents should be complimented for the huge contribution they make to our whole community, for their generous support for our charity fund raising carnivals, our schools, sports clubs, etc..

As a past shopkeeper (C&A) and more recently as a town councillor I have always done my best to promote a vibrant and welcoming town centre, maximising customer footfall.

We do not want to end up with a “dead” High Street like so many towns around us.

One of the best ways to achieve this is to ensure the maximum availability of car parking spaces.

We should congratulate Messrs Mcardle and Coulter for pin-pointing some extra spaces and I hope they will continue to do so.

However, I do see the point they raise about shop owners parking outside their premises for overlong periods, because it actually hinders potential customers from doing their own shopping.

You could come up with so many different figures of how much town traders would benefit if for example 30 to 40 plus cars were not parked in the High Street.

The potential boost to town sales could make all the difference for so many shops currently struggling to meet their rent and rates bills.

Shoppers, shopkeepers and all business owners alike have to put up with and respect so many traffic and parking regulations. I have to sympathise with shopkeepers and indeed estate agents who have to use their vehicles throughout the day. As a community we need them to prosper.

In a recent BBC programme a thriving High Street and town centre is described as the essential heart of any town community.

One of the only answers in the long run is to increase the availability of parking facilities all around. This is a huge and even controversial task to tackle.

We have to think of local residents, the cost for commuters to London, car drivers who actually contribute to the wealth of the town, e.g. shop workers, and business owners, estate agents, salon and boutique owners alike and on and on.

As I said previously it might be a solution to have pay and display machines in our town centre, but how many of us would like to put up with both the cash and the environmental costs?


Harpenden Town Councillor

Clarence Road, Harpenden

Crescent move takes away choice

SIR – After reading your article I can only object to the comment made by the spokesperson for NHS Hertfordshire (PCT).

How can the withdrawal of services currently offered by the Crescent and the central yet confidential location of the organisation which is easily accessible by public transport be a step forward. The PCT wants to provide “more equitable access to all service users than is the case right now... we deliver a service that makes best use of resources.”

For us as service users this statement comes like a smack in the face. Proposals are being put forward to offer satellite offices in various locations in Hertfordshire. No one can tell us where these locations will be, if they will be accessible by public transport and most of all protect members confidentiality. None of us members want to be exposed accessing services somewhere on the high street.

Where is my choice as a patient? Clearly this will be taken away when offering only a single countywide service. I can confirm that none of us service users at the Crescent were consulted before the decision to withdraw funding from the Crescent was made by the county council.

As far as I am aware the Crescent building is held in trust to them and they do not pay rent on it only basic overheads like gas, water and electricity.

Hertsaid rents their premises and is now looking to rent other locations in order to provide services currently provided by the Crescent who have no such overheads.

Can anyone explain how this makes financial sense when the county council and PCT are supposed to be cutting costs? In addition if the staff of the new service are based in Ware the travel expenses from Ware to the various locations would still incur further costs.

Staff will be travelling large distances and will be spending more time doing this than actually providing services for all the people who need them. As this is public/tax payers money perhaps we can see the business model/full budget breakdown to justify this expenditure.