Letters May 12 2016
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Plans for a new HUB
SIR - For several months there have been rumours that the Herts Community Trust (HCT) or the Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group (or both) were planning to provide a community health centre, often called a HUB, in St Albans. In the last few weeks St Albans and Harpenden Patient Group (SAPG) has heard that three GP surgeries are interested in moving into a HUB in the centre of St Albans; the Maltings, Harvey House and Parkbury House. It has been announced that the district council and a developer, Angle Property, are drawing up plans to redevelop buildings and land near the corner of Victoria Street and Bricket Road. The only occupied building on the site is an HCT health facility and it is planned to replace it with a new NHS community health centre of double its size. In addition to three surgeries this HUB could provide out-patient facilities which would improve the provision of health care in St. Albans. Angle Property is holding a consultation about its plans for the site on Friday 13 May 2-6pm, Saturday May 14 10am-1pm at Marlborough Road Methodist Church Hall and online at www.angleproperty-stalbans.co.uk SAPG urges your readers to take part in the consultation, if possible by visiting the Church Hall. It advises them to ask what health facilities are planned for the HUB and what provision is to be made for disabled access and on-site parking.
JOHN WIGLEY (Chair SAPG)
County comeback over school places
SIR - I understand the frustration of any parent who does not get their preferred choice of school place (‘Action group fights for more primary places’ May 5). Hertfordshire County Council would very much like to be in a position to provide every family with their first choice. We managed this in 82 per cent of cases this year and 95 per cent got one of their four preferences, so we have a good track record. But, as the editor rightly pointed out in his comment, we have a real challenge on our hands given there are 10,000 more children under the age of four in Hertfordshire today than a decade ago. We are committed to working with our partners to ensure that the appropriate infrastructure is in place to cope with demand and have spent more than £180m since 2010 to provide more than 3,200 additional reception places. In St Albans, an additional nine forms of entry (equivalent to 270 extra permanent reception places each year) have been created since 2008, through a combination of expanding existing schools and opening new primary schools, ensuring there are sufficient places for every child who needs one. However, we do appreciate that there is particular pressure in and around the city centre and as a consequence are making a further 30 reception places available at Maple Primary School; a popular and outstanding school. These additional places will help support families in the city centre secure places as close to home as possible for September 2016. In the longer term, we continue to work with the district council to identify potential new school sites to support existing demand and future development within the city. In the meantime, I would urge those who have not yet got their preferred choice not to be too downhearted. We have still not reached the end of the process and places will be offered in the first run of continuing interest in the week commencing May 16. Even if you do not get your first choice, please go and see the school at which you have been offered a place as you may be pleasantly surprised. Hertfordshire has some of the best schools in the country, with 88 per cent of primaries being rated as Good or Outstanding by Ofsted.
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DAVID WILLIAMS Cabinet Member for Education at Hertfordshire County Council
Back off over new bins please Barry
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SIR - I always look forward to reading the regular letters from Barry Cashin and generally agree with his viewpoint (especially with regard to the yummy mummies monopolising coffee shops). However, as a serious re~cycler I have to take issue with the letter he penned this week regarding the proposed new wheelie bin system. The idea of a 180 litre brown bin for landfill is an excellent idea and long overdue. If everything is recycled correctly the only items needing to go to landfill are packaging and polystyrene etc. My husband and I usually generate just one small black bag per fortnight. Putting the plastics, tins and glass bottles all in one bin also makes sense as generally the present boxes are overfilled and the lids are of no use. It’s not a political issue Barry just a sensible approach to reduce the vast amount of waste that currently ends up in precious landfill.
CAROL WRAP Tavistock Close, St Albans
Bowing out - slowly
SIR - There comes a time in life when one should make way for others with new ideas and full of energy. After several years of trying hopefully to make some contribution to our local community I felt it was the right time to step down and not to stand as a councillor in the recent district elections. However this is my great opportunity to sincerely thank all my family, friends, colleagues, local residents, fellow councillors of all parties and very helpful council officers, who have in their different ways supported and helped me in everything I have ever tried to do in both Harpenden and St Albans, especially in trying to reverse the trend of the dreaded “dying High Streets”. In our district, with its history, its Cathedral, its markets, its parks , and in many cases vibrant shopping areas we actually have so much going for us, but we must never be complacent. There is so much more to do. For me it all started in the late sixties when coming to Harpenden I ran that old ironmongery store in the High Street, C &A (nothing to do with the big C&A!). That was community life itself. Then it was involvement with the Chamber of Commerce and Harpenden First. Forced to give up the old store (personal injury) I was persuaded to join the town council. Despite some rough riding at times what a fulfilment it has been for me, especially when I was privileged to be the Town Mayor. Then it was on to the sistrict xouncil, dealing with even more local issues, such as the nitty gritty in planning. I still remain a town councillor, Chamber director and if the Editor permits will contribute an occasional letter on the inevitable controversial issues that always arise. So I will still be around, having my say. I can only repeat that I have really enjoyed doing my little bit in this community. We are all lucky in this part of the world to live in such a community and environment. I am very grateful to live here with my family. Good luck to all new councillors.
MICHAEL WEAVER Clarence Road, Harpenden