Letters, October 2, 2014

Keep St Albans out of London please!

SIR –I have just read the article regarding whether St Albans should become part of London. Firstly, I do not understand where the logic for this reasoning is coming from, yes it may provide more available jobs building over current green land but what about the people’s happiness. Surely by making St Albans part of London it is just going to bring the problems already faced in London to a bigger area. I personally believe that the idea is ludicrous and don’t foresee how any of the local residents are going to allow this to happen. I will be one of the representatives to argue against this ridiculous idea to make sure it does not go ahead. Secondly, there are enough issues faced within the London area right now, so why bring those problems further out into the country, it makes more sense to fix the issues within the London area first before dragging it out into the borough towns. it will just prolong the situation and eventually make the surrounding towns just as bad as London in this moment of time. Finally, there is enough Green Belt land at risk already in the borough towns of London. If you carry on the way they are going there will soon be none left, this land is extremely important not just for us as humans but for the welfare of the environment. Without the Green Belt land, there would be nothing to make our borough towns stand out and make them a relaxing place for commuters to chill out after a stressful day in the city. Not everyone wants the atmosphere of London 24/7, have some consideration for the people who like their countryside and surroundings how they are.

CHLOE FARMER Homestead Road, St Albans

Whole lotta shakin’ going on

SIR – A recent Saturday in St Peter’s Street was the first time I had seen our local Elvis Presley impersonator perform in aid of Grove House, and he is brilliant! Even the market traders’ whining about the volume didn’t dull the occasion. Live music should be loud – especially rock and roll.

IAN TONKIN Ladies Grove, St Albans

Remembering Harpenden gone by

Most Read

SIR – Your photograph of a busy Harpenden High Street in 1955 seems to prove that parking was as bad then as it is now!

PAUL BISHOP Luton Road, Harpenden

SIR – I am sure that all older people living in Harpenden will recognise both Kingston House and Anscombes in your photo taken in 1955. The other shop shown is MP Rudd and Sons, a baker from Luton. MP was my great grandmother and the business was run by her three sons, William (my grandfather), Charlie and Bert. They had a bakehouse in Park Street, Luton, and four shops from quite early in the 20th Century. Old Lutonians always maintained that Rudd’s pork pies were the best in the country.

AVRIL ROBERT Dane Close, Harpenden

No plans for direct access for terminal

SIR – Mr Stonebanks is right when he says that it is vital that the highways authorities should build a direct access from the M25 to the proposed rail freight terminal. He is also correct in his economic arguments and the need for more rail transport for London. However, when I asked the Hertfordshire County Council about such a junction, they told me that there are no plans to build one. I am all in favour of putting goods and freight on the railways. However, railways cannot take international containers and with the East Midlands and Thameslink intensive passenger services, there is very little capacity for freight trains. As there is not another rail depot between the proposed site and London, freight for London will be loaded onto lorries here and then go to London. All this adds to the road congestion with its attendant pollution, rather than solve the road traffic problem, which the proposal purports to do. The proposal is fundamentally flawed in that it creates rather than solves a transport problem. How does Mr Stomebanks propose to get our politicians to build the M25 junction, when there has not even been a plan to do so?


Advice to victim of water leak

SIR – I was appalled and angry to read the report concerning Liz Williams’ water leak issues and wanted to provide her with some hopefully useful and immediate advice. Although it is the case the water supply pipes on the property are the homeowner’s responsibility, I am given to understand that Ms Williams engaged a company to install the water meter and it is this installation which she alleges is the cause of the leak for which Affinity Water wishes to charge for a repair because it is within her property boundary. There is a simple way to cut through all the BS and repudiation if negligent installation is indeed the case. Forget complaints processes, local councillors and the CWC. Quite simply, the law states that the company whom Ms Williams engaged to install the meter has an obligation, not just to follow a code of conduct with regards to competency but, critically, to perform the job with “reasonable skill and care.” The legal premise for this are the provisions of The Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 where companies and their workmen engaged to do a professional job must exercise reasonable skill and care. If they do not and cause damage or loss, they become negligent. I would suggest Ms Williams, if her account of events is as reported in your paper is correct, sends a simple two paragraph letter to the legal services department of the company whom she engaged to perform the installation of the meter reminding them of their legal obligations giving 14 days for them to remedy the situation or, if they do not, should she suffer financial loss restoring the position as it was prior to the company’s involvement, she will issue a small claim without further reference for this plus costs and interest via the County Court. This can be simply done online without fuss via www.moneyclaim.gov.uk and is usually far more effective than involving an overpaid, overworked, clueless councillor. I thank you!

BARRY CASHIN Green Lane, St Albans

Little support for Page 3 campaign

SIR – It’s typical of today’s culture that Louise Restell is campaigning for local cafés to stop supplying The Sun newspaper in case her children get to see it! How about keeping an eye on her children instead? I would like someone to start a campaign to stop parents taking their children to cafés, restaurants and, definitely, pubs, if they are not going to be responsible for them once there. I work in London five days a week and at the weekend my husband and I like to mooch around the shops on a Saturday afternoon and then stop off at a pub for a quiet drink! We have stopped going to several of our favourite haunts as they are now filled with families not taking a blind bit of notice of their children apart from shouting out the obligatory “no Toby don’t” – is it any wonder so many pubs in St Albans are closing. Whilst on the subject of irresponsible parents – what’s with the latest craze of allowing children to ride their scooters and bikes through shops? And why are shops allowing this? I was knocked into two weeks ago in Boots by a boy of about seven – his parents were completely oblivious! Just for the record my husband and I have four children!

D SEATON The Ridgeway, St Albans

SIR – I rather think Louise Restell has shot herself in the cleavage (September 18)! Still, made me chuckle. Perhaps the Herts Ad should also be removed from family friendly cafés?

CLIVE PIGGOTT Samian Gate, St Albans

Council did call in temporary help

SIR – I am writing to correct an inaccuracy in last week’s Editor’s comment about Hertfordshire County Council’s in year school admissions team. Contrary to your assumption, Hertfordshire County Council has indeed drafted in extra temporary administrative staff to help us deal with the unprecedented amount of applications. We do apologise to anyone who has had problems reaching the team by telephone during this time, but please be assured that the complex task of assessing and allocating places is being done as swiftly as possible. Despite a huge increase in volume, which could not have been anticipated, the service has maintained the target turnaround throughout and I would like to thank the dedicated staff, who have worked extra hours and even weekends during the summer, and continue to do so, to tackle the vast number of applications – more than 1,200 – received in the last few months. There’s more information on in year applications on our website www.hertsdirect.org/inyear


Cabinet Member for Enterprise, Education and Skills

Hertfordshire County Council

Pointless repainting of station signs

SIR – Once again in Radlett we appear to have a case of the left hand of local government not knowing what the right hand is doing. Outside Radlett Fire Station there were two large painted additions to the road surface, on either side of the carriageway, instructing motorists to keep the access to the fire station clear for emerging fire engines. These signs have recently been re-painted, no doubt at substantial cost to the taxpayer. It will almost certainly not have escaped the notice of your readers that Herts County Council, in the face of determined local opposition, closed Radlett fire station some eight years ago this October. It does however, seem to have escaped the council’s notice. It would be delightful to believe that the re-painting of the signs presages a change of heart or a coming to the senses of the local council and that the fire station is about to re-open for business. Sadly however, I suspect that it is in fact just another example of the council’s utter incompetence. A recent fire in Oakridge Avenue, Radlett, which required the attendance of four engines from scattered locations, underlines how stupid the decision to close Radlett fire station was. Radlett’s engine could have been on the scene in half the time and at half the cost and their prompt attendance might well have saved thousands of pounds worth of damage and enabled the elderly residents to stay in their home, rather than having to find somewhere else to live whilst repairs are carried out.


A collection to be proud of

SIR – I have much sympathy for the person involved with the news item about the WWI/WWII military equipment. To me it seems to be a well organissd collection that any museum would be proud to own. Admittedly, the dangerous items should be deactivated. By no means were all these items found by metal detectors. One cannot find, for instance, that tripod mounted machine gun by that means. I can only assume that he spent considerable sums of money to amass such a collection. Of course, it seems odd to me that having amassed such a collection he did not make it available to visitors.

LESLIE BRAY Orchard Drive, Park Street

Different surfaces make no sense

SIR – Does anyone know the reason why there are such a wide variety of road surfaces on the roads around our district? Road surfaces seem to vary from one neighbouring street to the next and change, apparently arbitrarily, on different parts of the same road. Sandpit Lane is a case in point. Westwards from the roundabout with Clarence Road, Sandpit Lane has a long, continuous surface of recently laid, relatively quiet, road surface – which appears to be Hot Rolled Asphalt. Then at the junction of Damson Way, this abruptly changes to a very noisy surface of Bitumen with loose chippings. This then stops just as abruptly, 20 metres or so, before the roundabout with House Lane where it is replaced by the same quiet surface used between the roundabout and Damson Way. A further 20 metres along the noisy Bitumen and loose chippings begin again. Then as Sandpit Lane becomes Oaklands Lane the quiet road surface resumes. This cannot have anything to do with the speed or the type of vehicles using the road as the Bitumen and loose chippings begin at a point where the 30mph speed restriction is still in place and the quieter road surface is used in both 30mph and 40mph stretches of road. The newly-laid Bitumen and loose chippings in Sandpit Lane is another example of a decision being made by people in offices far away who look at maps rather than visit the site where their poor choices affect the lives of local residents. I hope that someone from Hertfordshire County Council reads this letter and understands that their choices adversely affect the quality of life of the local residents in Sandpit Lane and elsewhere, by making busy roads, intolerable. As traffic is set to increase in Sandpit Lane in the future, to preserve what little peace we can, I call upon Hertfordshire County Council to replace this noisy road surface without delay.

GEOFFREY BEAN Chairman, Marshalswick North Residents’ Association