Letters, April 7, 2011, part two

Parking problems

SIR – I have waited for some time before writing to you about the new arrangements for senior citizen’s parking cards as I wished to use mine several times to find out if it was as difficult in practice as I suspected it would be. It is!

Having now used my ticket a number of times and in the light of my experience I wish to complain in the strongest possible terms and to ask some questions.

I am 80 and live some distance from St Albans, so when I visit town I have quite a lot of shopping to do.

Previously I parked, did my shopping and took the lift straight back to the car park.

Since the new rules, in order to avoid going up and down twice, I have had to carry heavy bags to the parking shop, distribute them on the floor whilst going into my purse for my pass, queue for a considerable time then gather my bags up and lug them back to the lift.

The reason NCP have given for this unreasonable change in procedure is that there has been misuse of the passes in the past.

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Please would NCP reveal how frequently cards were misused (figures on a weekly basis would be helpful), how the misuse was detected and how much money they collected as a result of this detection?


Brewhouse Hill, Wheathampstead

SIR – Unless the disabled parking ticket has changed and the person concerned has not read the blue book which came with the card, one should note that the card itself does not say which way up the card should be displayed.

Common sense would normally say that the ticket should be placed with the photocard displayed. However, the blue book apparently states otherwise.

Unless the card itself states which way up it should be displayed, then nobody should have to pay.


Farringford Close, St Albans

SIR – I am writing, with my son, regarding new stealth charges in Radlett’s parking scheme.

The point was forcibly made at the introduction of Radlett’s Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) that Radlett stretched for up to a mile and a half uphill from the centre on either side of Watling Street and many residents required to use their cars to go about their daily business in the village.

In particular a visit to the Post Office, bank, doctor’s surgery and chemist for prescriptions to be made up and shopping which often takes up to an hour or more.

The proposed changes from one hour free parking to 30 minutes free parking will make this virtually impossible.

The new 20 pence charge for an hour is simply a tax too far which will inevitably force most people to pay 20 pence, in much the same way as those parking machines that do not give change, for fear of running over half an hour and having to pay a fine. Or it may drive them away from Radlett altogether to perhaps Borehamwood’s Boulevard where I believe you can park free for three hours.

The idea of keeping the free parking for an hour in Newberries car park is more than welcome but is of no use to elderly residents, of which Radlett has many, who may be unable to manage the steep slope or steps up from the car park.

The present parking scheme in Radlett works very well and there can be no other reason for these charges except to make money.

Furthermore, the scrapping of the free residents parking permits and the introduction of a �15 charge for the same permit is scandalous.

Having lived in Park Road for 73 years and having fought long and hard for free parking permits at the introduction of the CPZ scheme some 15 years ago I question the morality of this sudden introduction of these extra charges.

Park Road along with most of the other roads affected is in the conservation area where houses were built long before the provision for parking was necessary.

These new charges in Station Road for example, a road of some 48 houses with no off-street parking, assuming that each house has just one car, amount to a charge of �720 per year.

These charges were rejected out of hand at the inception of the CPZ scheme and again in 2005 by residents, shopkeepers and the Radlett Society and Green Belt Association for reasons which remain just as valid as they were then.

It is petty and unfair to impose these charges on a comparatively small number of people when the cost should be borne by the whole community either by a small contribution from the council tax or alternatively they could be paid from the �100,000 a year that residents are still paying for our community fire station which was taken from us four years ago, leaving the village with less than adequate fire cover.

After all it is not only those living in the centre of Radlett who contribute to traffic and parking congestion but also those outside the zone who, quite rightly, come into the village to use its shops and services.

Some people might describe these charges as a stealth tax but they are very far from stealthy. They are in fact an arrogant in-your-face piece of highway robbery; there is absolutely no justification for introducing them now.

This will be another nail in Radlett’s coffin and if the proposed Rail Freight Terminal going to appeal for the third time and the waste incinerator go ahead nobody will want to live in Radlett anyway.


Park Road, Radlett

SIR – The ubiquitous all-singing-and-dancing Councillor Weaver – is he by chance up for election and/or our next mayor? – claims the introduction of pay-and-display meters, “would be at a heavy environmental cost” (‘Selfish’ parking row, Herts Advertiser, March 24).

Harm to the environment and quality of the rarified Harpenden air comes from the gas-guzzling reinforced people carriers cruising the streets for free parking, stationary buses and taxis with engines running; inert machines wired up to the National Grid may be unsightly and get in the way but with the introduction elsewhere of smart parking systems, they wouldn’t be required anyway.

The article mentioned local estate agents as the worst offenders for abusing the one-hour on-street free parking concession. Commission earned at 1.5 per cent on the sale of a local property at �1.5 million would be �22,500. From April 4 the cost of a day ticket in the Lydekker car park will be �4. Obviously beyond their means.


East Common, Harpenden

Litter pick success

SIR – A recent Sunday the park organised a litter pick with staff, trustees and members of the public taking part. It was a fantastic success with a huge number of waste bags filled with all types of litter.

What made the session even more special was the support given by the community probation service under the guidance of Lee Warren. A minibus arrived with people of all ages who were serving a community sentence. The majority of them worked really well and we were so grateful for their help and support to tidy our lovely park.


Chair of Highfield Park Trust

A tale of tails

SIR – I read with interest your article about the Park Street cats losing their tails (Herts Advertiser, March 24).

My brown Burmese cat returned home with a wound in the top of its head and his tail broken in two places. On the advice of the vet the tail was removed.

Two days later a dead fox was found in the road at the rear of our house.

We concluded that the fox attacked the cat, bit its tail, the cat tried to escape and as a result, broke its tail in two places.

He has recovered well and does not seem to miss his tail.


Church End, Redbourn

Power of the parish

SIR – I must refute some of the comments made about me in the letters column last week.

I am appreciative of the efforts of all the traders to make their businesses successful in our village and regularly use many of the village shops.

My principle reason for writing my original letter was because the ladies in the parish office were hurt by the implication that they would have neglected to advise the traders of the closure had they received official notification.

They may not have any duty to advise because that is the official role of Herts Highways, but they would always feel that it is appropriate to inform affected traders.

There is no question that the parish council will do what it can to support the village – parish council was involved in the setting up of the first traders’ group that evolved into WEB.

Many years ago I persuaded parish council to organise the hanging baskets to make the village attractive and encourage visitors.

I also persuaded the council to fund the new village sign with Annie Brewster acquiring extra funding to make it even better.

She obtained funding for the entrance signage to make our village an appealing place and to encourage greater footfall.

Parish councillors work for the good of the village and party politics does not get in the way of that aim.

There has been a very helpful meeting between Herts Highways representatives and the village traders chaired by Cllr Maxine Crawley in her role as the county councillor for the village.

Highways acknowledged that they could have done more to address the problems created by the road closure.

They will in future ensure that ‘business as usual’ signs are prominently placed, that notice will be given to all those affected when somewhere like our High Street is part of the area involved and that parish council will be advised.

I stand corrected about the amount of disruption our village traders have experienced over the last few years and hope that the discussions between the Herts Highways officers and the traders will help to alleviate that situation.


Tudor Road, Wheathampstead

AA is the answer to court results

SIR – I read the court results in the Herts Advertiser and I am constantly amazed at the number of cases which are caused by persons drinking alcochol to excess.

There is an excellent network in St Albans of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings details of which can be found in the Herts Advertiser ‘What’s on’ page.

I feel that there is not enough publicity given to alcohol problems in St Albans.

I have been a member of Alcoholics Anonymous for many, many years now and it has saved my life.