Letters September 16, part one

Park trees at risk from new pool

SIR - You recently published a letter about saving two long-standing trees from being cut down or cut back (Herts Advertiser September 2).

How many residents of St Albans have realised the number of trees the council will cut down to accommodate the new swimming pool the council insists we need at Westminster Lodge?

In the current economic climate, the expense of the new pool and complex seems so unnecessary. Surely it is possible to update the present pool and build the new complex there?

This would leave the entrance to Verulamium looking green, with trees still growing, instead of being dominated by a large new building. It would surely not cost such an enormous amount of money.


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Come on residents of St Albans! Together we may be in time to delay and hopefully prevent the destruction of so many trees spoiling the entrance of our historic and beloved Verulamium. I’m sure many swimmers would agree.

MOLLY CALDICOTT

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Evershed’s plans are unwelcome

SIR - I would like to express my deep concerns regarding the proposed new housing development on the site of the Evershed’s printing works.

I am a resident of Alma Road, who already has great difficulty getting in and out of my own house due to the heavy streams of traffic already present.

The area already has its severe traffic problems (See the London Road parking fiasco), so surely a plan to build a further 200 homes on an already congested part of the city would be absolute madness? I just can’t see how the infrastructure could cope.

I urge the council and its dignitaries to seriously consider the quality of life for the people already living in the immediate area, and not just purely how much money can be generated.

Apologies go to Liz Needham (Herts Advertiser September 2) for not sharing in her optimism in traffic hell, increased pollution and overcrowding. I have a five-year-old son who very nearly didn’t make it into any school, yet alone one of our choice.

Thankfully it is a brilliant school, but like many parents in this area we have to make a decent car journey in order for him to attend.

Making a few more classes at Francis Bacon will not solve the growing problem of the lack of educational facilities on offer. Please see sense and use this precious land as an investment in the next generation through a much needed school.

JOSEPH CONNOLLY

Alma Road, St Albans

SIR - If the current application to demolish the buildings on the Evershed’s site is approved then the city will lose yet another chunk of its history and a landmark.

The large single story northlight workshop was built in 1896 for Dangerfields and at the time it was the most up to date lithographic plant in the country. They produced outstanding posters for the railway companies and London Transport amongst many other commisions, employing skilled engravers and printers. Even now the building offers outstanding daylighting and clear space.

The prominent four0storey Evershed’s Printing Hall built in the 1950s by a competent architect, has interesting features especially the roof terrace, is built to a high standard and would convert well to a residential use. This is a building that deserves a better fate than mere demolition which in itself would be a waste all of the energy locked up in it. The qualities of 1950s buildings are only now becoming appreciated and it would be a great pity for this one to go now but later mourned.

DAVID DORKINGS

Hill Street, St Albans

Pedestrian risk from parking problems

SIR - Further to the letter in the Herts Advertiser of September 2 concerning the parking along the London Road between the junction with Alma Road and the two railway bridges, an additional hazard - as I discovered on Monday night - is that the parked cars do not allow pedestrians visibility in respect of oncoming traffic heading out of the city from the roundabout at the London Road/Alma Road junction.

Monday night was dark and wet and I had a lucky escape when the driver of a small black car reacted quickly enough to avoid hitting me as I was crossing the road. It was a scary moment. I would like to register my thanks to the young woman concerned, without whose quick and clear thinking I might not be sitting here writing this letter. I would also like to thank her for stopping to check that I was all right. Which I was. Shaken but unharmed.

With hindsight, I could have chosen a better place to cross, but my point remains: the parked cars along that particular stretch of road render pedestrians vulnerable.

LINDEN INNES-HOPKINS

Cornwall Road, St Albans

Fighting the foliage

SIR - I am sorry that Herts Highways did not remove the overhanging foliage (SJ Hill’s photo and letter, Herts Advertiser September 2), which is their legal duty.

I succeeded when I could not walk along the pavement without being hit by the overhanging hedge at 5 Bramble Corner, next to the corner of Devonshire and Cornwall Roads in Harpenden.

I phoned Highways on 01923 471320, detailed the obstruction, illegal under the Highways Act 1980 (as recorded by SJ Hill) and was given the Reference Number 1561591. I asked the Highways’ gentleman his name and he said Matthew. I have often succeeded in life after asking strangers their names!

I examined the ugly hedge daily, and on June 3, it had been cut back – seven days within the 14 day time frame.

DR TONY HALL

Manland Avenue, Harpenden

SIR - On reading SJ Hill’s letter about overhanging foliage, I used the HertsDirect we site to submit complaints about overgrown hedges, blocked cycle-paths and low tree branches along public footpaths and entrances to playing fields, with some success but lately my concern is the email replies to reports made in July.

I quote: “Sandridge Parish Council leases the grounds from St Albans District Council and we have just finished the process of gathering quotations to have all the perimeter hedges and trees cut back.

“We have selected a contractor who will execute the work in September which is after the school holidays and when hedgerow growth has slowed down...”

And on another report of low tree branches from the Trees and Woodland Department: “I have logged these queries and they will be inspected in due course, please be advised it takes the council approximately four weeks to be able to view these queries and make recommendations of works.

“Once recommendations have been made it typically takes another four-five weeks for the councils contractors to carry out such works.”

It seems St Albans Council has no programme of basic constructive pruning all year round and relies on complaints raised, and with detailed locations supplied, and takes another eight weeks to cut a few tree branches along our grass verges, so don’t expect to see any action in the near future on the private hedges blocking public footpaths.

C NICHOLSON

Brecken Close, St Albans

Careless councils are condemned

SIR – Regarding Charlotte Morgan’s article about the disabled OAP who is seriously need of a chair lift to his second floor (Herts Advertiser, September 2), I am a 91 year old and a couple of years ago I was due to have a hip replacement operation. I phoned the local council for help – no answer – tried again six times.

Finally some nameless person promised to ring me back and failed to do that. So I ordered a chair lift myself and three days later it was fitted in a few hours for �1,500. Councils! They couldn’t care less.

NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED

Remembering Harpenden past

SIR – With reference to your Yesterday Once More photos of Harpenden in the issue of August 19, I was very interested in the picture entitled “The Dells” which I think is more probably the “Third Pond in Southdown Road”.

Skew Bridge can be seen in the background and the white cottages to the right are in Queen’s Road. The “Dells”, ie Brickwell Dells or Prickle Dells, are situated in Walkers Road.

I found the picture of Harriden’s interesting. When I left school and worked in the “village” I used to take our ration books, shopping list and money, put them through the letter box in the morning and collect them (rations for three) at lunchtime and pack them in my saddle bag.

M. E. DIXON,

St James Road, Harpenden

Nimbyism over aircraft noise

SIR - Regarding aircraft noise in South Harpenden I felt obliged to write in both to applaud the sentiments of Steve Pryor and to counter the horrendous “nimbyism” of others who have written.

I live in South Harpenden and spend as much time as I can outdoors and have never once noticed any aircraft noise of any kind and no I don’t have any problems whatsoever with my hearing.

I have no association with Luton airport in any business or work capacity but I consider myself very lucky to live in such close proximity to an international airport for the purposes of both business and leisure flights and the convenience this provides.

I consider myself doubly lucky in that I experience no noise pollution as do friends of mine who live in the vicinity of Heathrow.

Previously I lived alongside the mainline rail line in Harpenden for a number of years now that really is noisy with all the night time maintenance of the tracks and the slow moving creaking of many carriages during the early hours.

To say Harpenden is in danger of becoming a “noise slum” is just a risible notion.

DECLAN DALY

Eastmoor Park, Harpenden

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