Letters, January 24, part two

Radlett ruined?

SIR – I now live in Totnes in Devon, I used to live near to Radlett and enjoyed the feel of the village and the green surroundings it offered inside the M25.

Over the festive period I returned to Radlett for the first time in many years and I was completely shocked when I walked round some of the streets. It is no longer a green village.

The owners of several properties have been to allowed to destroy the green space and build structures that dod not fit in to the street scene. This included overpowering buildings, buildings built in strange materials, destruction of both front and rear gardens.

What is the council playing at? I understand that the parish council has done its best but it is not them that make the decision.


Totnes, Devon

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Better off without Commissioner?

SIR – Good grief. So our newly minted Police Commissioner, Mr David Lloyd, is floating the idea of charging citizens for spending a night in the police cells, and he has made this suggestion in public unaware of whether it is legal or not (small hint, Mr Lloyd: it most probably isn’t). What a sad indictment of the calibre of this gentlemen for the important public office he now holds.

And he wishes to end up with a “more John Lewis” police service as if a commercial/mercantile model of operation were appropriate for a police service, just look at how successful said model has been in the NHS or our local train services.

It is disappointing that he appears to be blinkered by his previous professional experience as a banker and financial adviser, I would have hoped that a police commissioner would have more to do than restricting himself to counting pennies.

And of course, this all comes with the additional comments on wanting more special constables (i.e. people working for free) and a greater role for victim support (again, people working for free), whereas he is drawing a £75,000 salary in his new position and holds posts on the county council and a local borough council which have generous expense allowances.

Frankly, if this is the end result, I think here in Herts we would be much better off without a Police Commissioner in the first place.


Halsey Park, London Colney

Menace of the pavement cyclists

SIR – I am very sorry that 84-year-old J.Anson was knocked over by a cyclist on the pavement, resulting in severe injuries including a severe fracture of a finger on the left hand, damage to the hand and wrist, a cut top lip requiring a stitch, a severe graze in the mouth, bruising on the arms and shock for several days (Letters, January 10).

Cycling on the pavement is a criminal offence. The Highway Code (Paragraph 64) states: “You MUST NOT cycle on the pavement.” My son, who is a policeman, recently gave a pavement cyclist a fixed penalty ticket.

J. Anson should contact the police and give oral evidence and sign a witness statement. She should ask the police to try to find the cyclist and her parents with a view to charging them with assault for trial in a magistrates and then crown court.

J. Anson was lucky not to have been killed, unlike a man of 41 who was killed by a criminal also cycling on the pavement. The criminal pleaded guilty in a crown court and faced two years in jail.

A pensioner walking with a stick was thrown into the air and killed after being hit by a triathlon cyclist.

A young man suffered a brain haemorrhage after being knocked down on a pedestrian crossing by a criminal who cycled through a red light.

David Lloyd, the new Herts Police Commissioner, should instruct his officers to enforce this law.


Manland Avenue, Harpenden

Outsider’s opinion over rail freight

SIR – At a friend’s house in your area last week, I read your account and angry letters from those against the intended rail freight depot.

I was also amazed to see on further pages the pictures graphically detailing the state of the roads in the area.

Checking, I discovered that apparently the local authority has spent around £1 million opposing the depot. I stand to be corrected if this is massively wrong.

The choice for sleepy St Albans is surely good roads or a rail depot or jobs is it not? Surely all three make an ideal town but at present St Albans has none. Yet the money spent on opposing the depot would have made a big difference to road. Where are the jobs? Is everyone in Park Street sure of continued employment elsewhere?

I also recall hearing expert Stephen Joseph of the Campaign for Better Transport and a local St Albans resident saying on Radio 4’s Today programme that new roads weren’t the attraction to any area but the state of them.

Extra question: according to simple Wikipedia research the site in question, Radlett Airfield, has been such since 1929 and hardly therefore “Green Belt” which were created after the 1948 T&C planning acts. Green Belts are nice but if it was between any colour belt or a job, I think in these times the latter is better.


The Mount, London

(Editor’s comment: Mr Bassingham is probably unaware that responsibility for the condition of the roads lies with Herts county council – the owners of the Radlett Airfield site – and the local authority which has spent around £1 million opposing the rail freight depot is St Albans district council which is only too well aware of the huge impact it would have on an area in which there is very little unemployment as opposed to other parts of the country.)

Change of ethos?

SIR – As a matter of historical interest I wonder if someone can enlighten me?

How, when, where and by whom was a formal decision taken to change the ethos of Oaklands College? Indeed was such a decision ever taken?

As I recall, the very successful course of studies at this highly regarded college was mainly concerned with agriculture, horticulture and animal husbandry for which the fields, glasshouses and orchards together with the necessary machinery and maintenance equipment were essential.

The fields remain for the uncertain present but it seems that the rest has been allowed to decay.

An erstwhile neighbour of mine, who was once a lecturer at Oaklands, was shattered when he visited a few years ago and saw the distressed state of the glasshouses and orchards.

What would the successful students of an earlier era think of Oaklands if they saw it now?


Sandpit Lane, St Albans

Call in 007!

SIR – I read with fascination and incredulity your article last week about yet another public inquiry into the development of what is affectionately known as the Hunston Properties/Sewell Park project to put 116 homes, a 72-bed care home and two tennis courts on acknowledged Green Belt land behind the Harpenden Road opposite the St Albans Girls’ School.

This Hunston proposal has already been dismissed several times by the St Albans district council and by public inquiry led by an independent Planning Inspector and here we are again!

What is being brought to the table that is new and persuasive?

Six days of council chamber time have been allocated and at who’s expense?

Cllr Daly and the eloquent CLASH [Campaign by Local Residents Against Sewell Housing] representative have slaughtered the applicants in the past and this has to happen again.

Hopefully if Hunston lose they will bear everyone’s costs.

Are Hunston inspired by the equally unbelievable volte face of Eric Pickles? Perhaps like Daniel Craig in the highly successful James Bond film Skyfall Hunston Properties are hoping for a miracle on the verdant pastures of north St Albans.

However unlike Bond they will fall through the ice and die of hyperthermia unless something else is taking place we know nothing of yet!

Do we now need James Bond to rid St Albans of the creeping menace of local land exploitation?


Green Lane, St Albans

Roadside rubbish

SIR – For some considerable time I have been concerned about the amount of litter that can sometimes be seen on the roadsides in and around St Albans.

I have engaged directly with those responsible in St Albans council for maintaining street cleanliness and have developed a clear understanding of the challenges they face and their desire to deliver continuous improvement.

I regularly have a dialogue with them to provide feedback and also offer up ideas that might help lead to a more effective strategy to deter those who wish to act irresponsibly and not dispose of litter appropriately.

It appears that very few residents make use of the “St Albans Cleaner District” website to report a build up of litter that needs picking which is disappointing as the site is very user-friendly.

I believe it would be beneficial if more people took the time to identify and report issues thus giving the council team better information to work with, I know that more reporting would be well received.

I am equally concerned about this issue on the motorway network around the area including slip roads and the Highways Agency, in my experience, welcome reports of litter using the e-mail link on their website.

A collective effort will go some way to improving the situation further”


Westfields, St Albans

Ignorance is not bliss

SIR – I was shocked and annoyed to read L. Barwell’s letter in your January 10 issue stating that children should not be burdened with worries about childhood illnesses after seeing an article about a school raising money for Keech Hospice.

You only have to turn the TV on these days to see a graphic plea for charity. Children don’t need to help raise money for children less fortunate than themselves to be aware of the sad side of life. I’d much rather teach my children compassion and awareness than ignorance.

Hundreds of children locally have been trying to raise money for poor Bailey Sarwa who has cancer which is fantastic and in my opinion should be applauded and encouraged rather than trying to turn a blind eye to such “disturbing burdens”(L. Barwell’s words).

As a parent of a son who goes to Keech Hospice I sincerely hope that L. Barwell will never need Keech Hospice for a family member or need children to fundraise for someone who desperately needs help.



Maple Avenue, St Albans