Letters, August 5, part two

Murky waters over allotment signs

Murky waters over allotment signs

SIR – Re. your article relating to health and safety at allotments in Harpenden (Herts Advertiser, July 22, pictured above). To be consistent and logical the ponds on Harpenden Common should be covered. These ponds are a genuine hazard as unaccompanied children can play there at any time.

Maybe the Verulamium Lake should be covered!


Topstreet Way, Harpenden

SIR – Presumably the reason that health and safety issues are being reviewed for Harpenden allotments is to prevent them being sued in the event of an accident.

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Why not simply put up signs saying that no responsibility will be taken for this?

If anyone is stupid enough to let their children run around unsupervised and have an accident surely it is their fault and not that of the allotment holders or the council?

Allotments are inherently unsafe places and not places to bring very young children.


Ash Grove, Wheathampstead

Safeguard future of former airfield

SIR – Now that the appeal by Helioslough against refusal of permission to build a rail/road freight interchange on the old Handley Page airfield has been turned down by HM Government for a second time, we in the Radlett Society feel very strongly that the future of the airfield should be settled as far as possible by consultation and debate between all interested parties in the area.

The county council owns the land and we urge that it take a lead in company with St Albans District and Hertsmere Borough Councils to find a use which will be acceptable to as many residents of the area as possible, bearing in mind the fact that it lies indisputably in the London Green Belt and that it immediately neighbours a city of great historic importance.

This society is of the view that the land would properly be deployed in creating a community forest and country park as a haven for wildlife and the recreation and enjoyment of residents of the adjacent settlements, but, as one of the leading amenity groups in the county, we should wish to be have representation on any body or bodies which may be formed to discuss the matter, and to listen at an early stage to such proposals as might be put forward.

We are of course fully aware that the county council might feel that the public interest is best served by maximising the financial return from its ownership of the land, but we hope that we would be joined by many local environmental groups as well as local councils in seeking to ensure that any prescribed use would be in accordance with its Green Belt status.

We do hope that the concerned local authorities are currently giving thought to the future of the former airfield in particular with a view to pre-empting further attempts to bring about inappropriate development.


Chairman, Radlett Society and Green Belt Association

Coalition of contrasts?

SIR – I cannot be the only one who found your editorial of last week both unsettling, and rather telling.

What initially grabbed my attention was your somewhat unpleasant contrasting of young people driven out of the district by spiralling house prices, with gypsies who apparently say where they want to live and hey presto space is found for them.

This was the more unpalatable coming as it did in a piece which implies we should be all relieved that previous housebuilding targets have been scrapped.

This, when the council’s own housing survey found the actual need for housing to be far higher than the targets mentioned.

You don’t exactly have to be a Nobel Prize-winning economist to suspect that resistance to almost any new housebuilding may be a larger factor in the unaffordability of housing driving young people elsewhere, than are those dastardly gypsies.

What’s telling is that this kind of distasteful rhetoric was all to convince us how pleased we should be to be living under this new Lib-Con government.

Blue Yellows in the town hall, yellow blues in Downing Street. What could be more harmonious?

Apparently whatever our political persuasion, there can be no doubt this is all good news for St Albans. Really?

No mention of the �4m cuts in local road improvements? Plans for much-needed new buses, scrapped? Four thousand free swims for the over 60s, gone?

Hospital car parking charges not scrapped, but increased? Funding for St Albans-based charities cut, and VAT increases set to push them to the wall? And, as Karen Carpenter once put it, we’ve only just begun.

As the Tory and Liberal Democrat parties increasingly morph into a single entity, clearly we can expect the Herts Advertiser to be cheerleader-in-chief for this two-headed beast.

I suspect that most people in St Albans – that anti-Tory majority Sandy Walkington loved to talk about – will be somewhat more uncomfortable, with the rhetoric and the reality.


Waverley Road, St Albans

Airport chaos

SIR - There was media coverage following a security investigation at Luton airport on the morning of Friday July 23. What has not been reported though was the truly appalling inconvenience faced by travellers during the three- to four-hour spell when the airport basically suspended all ground operations.

This was most especially apparent at check in where there was total communication failure, vast queues and lack of interest/concern by both airport and airline staff. There was not a single outgoing passenger via any airline who was not affected. Do please feed this back to the Chief Executive.

Perhaps he should also be told that on arrival now, passengers are waiting-on average-at least 50 minutes for their passports to be checked (certainly the case on 28/7). Is this the norm at any other international airport?

“In addition, please please please can Luton airport drop this stupid �1 “drop-off fee” – now called a “Priority” drop-off fee.

How can it be called a “Priority” if there there are no other drop-off options near the terminal – and in any case usually one of the three drop-off lanes are closed – and the pay machine has regularly failed throughout this summer period.

Was anyone else affected by any of these appalling incidents? If so, please write and complain.

Advice for anyone intending to use Luton either this summer or in the future – beware. You are in for a truly terrible customer experience.


Address supplied

Even a minority can make a difference

SIR – I write as a member of the ‘pool too small’ group. At last week’s Overview and Scrutiny (Public Services) committee meeting, Cllr Anthony Rowlands stated that we were a “minority group”.

However, 326 of our “pooltoosmall” group wrote letters of objection to the planning referral officer before the meeting on April 28. Mr Moorhouse said he had also received a petition with 731 signatures on it requesting a larger main pool.

If my maths is correct this adds up to 1,057 people asking for a bigger main swimming pool.

Of the 599 people who responded to the council’s consultation last summer (2009) holidays, 59.1 per cent (SADC figure) or 354 people preferred option 2.

As neither option offered a larger main swimming pool (only a 25 m x 8 lanes) the only choice was for the add-on bling.

I really don’t agree that we are a minority group. Mr Rowlands should watch the Henry Fonda film 12 Angry Men to see how opinions can be altered by just one man on a jury of 12 if he still thinks we are.


Park Avenue, St Albans

Recycling madness has gone too far

SIR – In response to the letter regarding maggots in bins from Ms Tonkin (Herts Advertiser, July 29). A tip from Australia, put all meat trimmings in the freezer until collection day.

What has prompted this letter, is that I have been left a notice on my recycling boxes, to separate glass from plastics, etc., now the collection men have to empty another box with four items in!

What are we paying extortionate council tax for? Most people are of the opinion recycling is a con to please unelected Greens.

Returning to maggots in bins, what about people who bothered to get married and buy a place, now stuck in a one-bedroomed flat due to the credit crunch, with a baby and of course nappies?

Does Ms Tonkin advocate using terry nappies? The detergent pollutes the waterways and electric dryers would have to be used as no outside space to dry them.

So a car journey has to be made to the dump every other week. How green is that?

I feel that holier than thou people like Ms Tonkin are responsible for wheely bins cluttering up our streets and for the useless wind turbines.


Down Edge, Redbourn