Letters Sepetember 23, 2010, part two

The Swinsons and St Albans Scouting

SIR – Your item about Brenda Swinson turning 100 (Herts Advertiser, September 9) caught my eye and I add my congratulations. The Swinson name also has a founding historical place in Scouting as her husband Cyril Swinson was assistant producer in the elaborate and ambitious Searchlight and Torchlight Tattoo in Clarence Park on July 7 and 14, 1934, when he also wrote and produced the item The March of Time. He is also listed in the programme as assistant to the producer of the first (and now famous) St Albans Scout Gang Show held at Culver Hall in 1939. Culver Hall was then the Church Hall of St Saviour’s Church. I met with Peter Swinson in 2009 when he helped me with some research.

FRANK BRITTAIN Archivist, History and Heritage Support Team,

Hertfordshire Scouts

Gardens parking

SIR – The decision by the councillors on the plans south committee to refuse permission for a car park at the Gardens of the Rose is an absolute disgrace.

And the reasons given, as reported in your edition of September 9, are to say the least specious. What experience do these people have who make such draconian decisions? And do they live in the real world?

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To whom is Alan Moorhouse, the development control officer, accountable and what is the foundation for his view that a car park would have a “severe visual impact”? A car park is flat, and so any visual impact – unlike a tall structure – would only be on those people who are flying overhead! And how does the car park at Butterfly World satisfy Mr Moorhouse’s criteria?

A car park does not have to be like those at Morrisons or Sainsbury’s. I suggest that he, together with the myopic councillors, should (at their own expense in the interests of saving money) visit the car park at RHS Wisley or the National Trust at Sissinghurst, to see how sympathetic planting of trees and shrubs can be visually pleasing and add to the landscape.

Or is there a hidden agenda about which we should be told?


Lancaster Road, St Albans

Tickets disparity

SIR – Last Saturday I travelled by train from St Albans City Station to Tunbridge Wells, travelling via London. Unsure when I would be returning home I just booked a single ticket and the cost for a senior rail ticket was �16.25. I returned by the same route on the following Monday but this time the same single ticket from Tunbridge Wells to St Albans was only �13.80. I would really like to know why rail travellers from St Albans should have to pay some 18 per cent more for the same journey than their counterparts at Tunbridge Wells. Perhaps someone could enlighten me.


Saberton Close, Redbourn

Thanks for treats for our troops

SIR – On behalf of Cllr Bert Pawle and myself, I wish to say heartfelt thanks to all those who gave so much to my appeal to the Treat for Troops charity.

We loaded up the car boot, which is very large, until we could not get any more in and even carried some goodies on the back seat. We had more delivered to the Town Hall after the closing time and have made arrangements for them to be collected. These treats are going to all those of our brave boys and girls serving in Afghanistan at Christmas.

Harpenden once again rises to the occasion. Many, many thanks.


Harpenden Deputy Town Mayor

A burning issue

SIR – The age-old tradition of burning things has been brought to our attention by news media focusing on the threatened actions of the so-called Florida pastor Terry Jones to burn Korans.

A few years ago, I read the bestseller The Labyrinth. It brought to my attention the Cathars, an 11th century Christian group who were wiped out by what was called the Albigensian crusade. This was a religious crusade “preached” by Pope Innocent III to exterminate “the heretics”.

I recently returned from a trip to the land of the Cathars, which is in the Languedoc region of France. I made the journey as I wanted to acknowledge the existence of these people and in some strange way connect with them. Burning books was a feature of medieval life and not only were Cathar texts burned but the Bon Chretiens, to give them the name by which they were known, were placed on pyres.

When we start burning books of the people we despise we may in time burn them with their books.

In my own mind, what Terry Jones is threatening is a political stance rather than a Christian stance against Islam. No doubt in his own mind he justifies what he doing, believing he is called by God to do so. That, he has in common with countless people over history who have claimed God for their own objectives, including the people who flew the planes on September 11, 2001.

Concerning burning books, it is curious to see how much passion that arouses. God, if you believe, does not need defending nor will burning material books diminish God. In one sense, maybe we should put all our books to one side and start again. It is my own belief that this force we give the name God is more interested in a living, real-time experience with humans rather than being bound to words.

I love books, they can give us much but they can’t give us the experience – that, we have to do for ourselves.


Eskdale, London Colney

Analysing flights

SIR – Explaining the intricacies of local flightpaths briefly is difficult, but concentrating (as in your August 19 issue) on easterly winds, as are especially prevalent in spring/early summer, i.e. garden time, Harpenden is then under an aerial crossroads.

This involves northbound 747s, etc., from Heathrow which, fully laden, can only climb slowly (in answer to Cllr Clark’s “why not fly higher?” query of September 9) and are routed over Luton to avoid conflict with its departures, many of which come back over Harpenden and are kept low by the Heathrow flights. Looping the Luton departures to the south of both Harpenden and Wheathampstead (but north of Sandridge, in asnwer to the comment of August 26) would benefit both communities, along with Gustard Wood/Blackmore End. The promised NATS reconsultation should give residents the opportunity to make that point.

Those of your correspondents (September 16 and previously) claiming not to hear aircraft over Harpenden under these (easterly-wind) conditions must be blissfully unobservant or live just off track. Half a mile either side makes a big difference. However, should Luton take advantage of the cancellation of all new runways in the south-east and greatly increases its operations, we’ll all know about it! And yes they could. Meanwhile, the less we use climate-damaging aircraft on quick weekend breaks and the like, the less future generations will have to do to sort out the climate change problems they’ll inherit.


Fairmead Avenue, Harpenden

Bike stands folly

SIR – I was interested to read the article in your paper of September 9 about the Vesta Avenue bike stands and the comments from Andrew Robertson.

My daughter and I cycled to the town centre that Sunday – for a bit of exercise and also because we live near enough to cycle and not use the car when we don’t have to. Our destination was The Maltings and when we arrived via the Victoria Street entrance there was one bike stand – opposite H&M – used by two bikes, a further two pairs of bikes were secured around tree trunks thin enough to allow the locks.

We walked right the way through to the Joules and Hotel Chocolat end but found no other bike racks, in the end we walked back and luckily one of the trees had become free so we used that. Perhaps the Vesta Avenue bike racks could have been more usefully deployed?


Address supplied

Justice was served

SIR – After being advised recently, by a friend, to read your comments in the Herts Advertiser of August 19, I feel that the record needs to be set straight. Yes I was disgusted at the sentence that Robert Dales was given for his driving that ended up killing Rachael Deradour. I knew Rachael well. The sentences are down to the judges and I agree that the sentence should fit the crime.

Never the less, Aadum Nozeer got the sentence he deserved. I am the mother of the boy he committed the armed robbery on – using a knife and a car jack. My son was 15 when the attack happened and theft and violence were used. The judge decided to sentence him as if he were still 17. All the reasons for him fleeing the country and what his life is like now were given by his defence lawyer, but after all these years of myself and the police trying to find Aadum Nozeer and finally catching up with him in May this year – suddenly he got married in May this year and his wife (in July) was three months pregnant!

I saw one person, smart, presentable, Aadum Nozeer when the trial was heard... but then when he was up for sentencing he was back to the original-looking Aadum Nozeer of seven years ago. I personally do not think there is much change in him.

At the end of the day you did not see what happened to my son, you did not see the effects we had to deal with – basically you have commented on what you assume may be right. Your comments with regard to this were completely wrong, but your comments on the other subject were completely right. Please get the facts right before printing your comments.


Colney Heath

Cricket confusion

SIR – I am pleased that Cllr Gill Clark reads the Civic Society newsletter so closely, but sorry to hear her views about the incomprehensibility of cricket.

The event described was played between the councillors versus the Friends of Victoria Playing Field and the Civic Society. The report that no one was sure who won, was of course “tongue in cheek” to save the faces of the losers! The result did not matter. The winner of this match was a better relationship between councillors and their public, played in an atmosphere of fun and true village cricket. It is possible that some of those who turned out to support the councillors had as much understanding of the game as Cllr Clark! Several of her female councillor colleagues turned out to play, and this is an annual match so perhaps she can come and learn about the enjoyment and fun of this game next year.


Fishpool Street, St Albans