Letters to the Herts Ad...
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I am responding to the letter from Professor Barnett, chair of West Herts Hospital Trust, in the Herts Advertiser regarding the Trust’s plans to redevelop Watford General, St Albans and Hemel Hempstead Hospitals.
West Herts Hospital Trust’s and Herts Valley Clinical Commissioning Group’s boards continue to ignore the fundamental issue here: location, location, location!
Professor Barnett is talking of an investment of £300-£600 million redeveloping the current sites over the next 13 years and still we would end up with many of the shortcomings that the current Watford General Hospital has.
The current location of WGH in West Watford is hard to get to for most of the residents it serves, is too small and is situated on land with a steep gradient (not great for the sick and disabled to have to cope with).
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To add to this, it isn’t the best location for a major hospital to be located right next to a Premier League football ground unless of course you are an avid Watford FC fan.
The question of disturbance, inconvenience and stress from building works going on whilst redeveloping these existing sites has not been fully addressed in any response that I have received from board members of WHHT and HVCCG.
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I challenge Mr Barnett and his fellow hospital board members to travel with the elderly, the disabled, those with young children and those without their own transport who live outside of West Watford so that they experience at first hand the difficulties these residents have getting to and from WGH.
The board’s members cannot make such important health care decisions sitting in their offices unaware of many residents difficulties getting to and from the hospital.
Even on their arrival at WGH, patients and visitors have a challenge finding a parking space.
I have been informed by Katie Fisher, CEO WHHT, that the redevelopment would include a multi storey car park - great solution for a small site, on a steep slope and which currently lacks parking spaces - do the elderly, the disabled, those with young children and those using the hospital at night really want to encounter a multi-storey when visiting WGH?
The New Hospital Campaign Group’s petition on the government website achieved over 10 500 signatures from residents demanding a new acute care services hospital in a more central West Herts location than WGH.
Why are their views being dismissed by the hospital executives?
The New Hospital Campaign Group also argue that their proposals would be delivered earlier than the full redevelopment of the existing hospital sites.
The board of WHHT have said that redevelopment of the existing hospital sites will be less demanding to finance than a new hospital on a greenfield site.
As I have said in my correspondence to the hospital boards, first they need to demonstrate that they have correctly identified the best greenfield site for a new hospital. They didn’t do this but only used a comparative site for their dismissal of a new build hospital. Why shortlist 19 sites and stop the exercise?
Both WHHT’s and HVCCG’s boards need to think again and take up the challenge of not only providing the best buildings, with the best facilities but equally importantly, the hospital needs to be in the most convenient location for all of West Herts community!
Whether a new super hospital is in Watford, St Albans, Hemel Hempstead, Kings Langley etc it needs to be located where there are better public transport and road links (M1/M25/A41) then the current WGH has.
The hospital grounds also need to be more conducive to caring for the sick, the very young, the elderly and the disabled with level access to both car parks and hospital buildings throughout the site.
We can only hope that after NHS Improvement have reviewed the hospital redevelopment plans, they then instruct WHHT and HVCCG executives to come back again once they have properly reconsidered the sensible option of building a new hospital in a location central to the West Herts community it would serve.
ANDREW LOVE Warren Road, St Albans
So there is a house in St Albans for sale for £6 million. - 10,000 sq ft. seven bedrooms, sight ensuites, eight reception rooms, car lift to underground parking. Must be top council tax band H - currently £3,161.24 per annum.
Our home is 1,110 sq ft, one reception room, three bedrooms, end of terrace, garage. council tax band G - currently £2,634.37 per annum.
So the purchaser of the £6m house will pay just under £527 more a year than us! Fair?
Why is the Government resisting adding more higher Council Tax Bands? Social care, for example, desperately needs more funding.
GINA DUNSTAN Old Garden Court, St Albans
The most wonderful generosity found me receiving cash donations toward the cost of All Saints’ Church in Harpenden having to remove recently fly-tipped asbestos sheets.
Great thanks to Alison and her partner from Southdown who was so upset by this that she popped into church and gave us £40 - fabulous!
We also heard on the grapevine about locals contacting St Albans district council about the fly-tipping.
It is really great when the community support each other like this and we were able to hold all our children’s groups that week too..
So thank you for helping us. The waste has now been safely removed and at less cost than we first expected.
God bless everyone for their support and prayers for All Saints.
REV LINDA WILLIAMS
Associate Vicar, All Saints’ Church
Parish of Harpenden
In July, everyone who lives in Radlett received a letter from the Radlett Village Neighbourhood Plan steering group to let you know of a local planning initiative called ‘The Radlett Neighbourhood Plan’ (RNP). The plan, when adopted, will influence planning decisions in Radlett for the next 10 years.
The letter included a brief summary of the plan and mentioned that you can view the full plan on line at the Radlett Plan website www.radlettplan.org.
You can also access an online survey on the website – allowing you to comment on and show which of the proposed policies you support.
A paper copy of the full plan can also be seen at the Aldenham Parish Council offices and Radlett Library.
Time is running out to let the steering group know your views as the consultation ends at midnight on Saturday September 30.
Remember -- this is your opportunity to determine the future of our village.
Chairman of Radlett Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group
I note with interest the STAQS action group.
I live in the middle of Nomansland right underneath the concentrated flight paths and suffer no nuisance and/or annoyance from aircraft noise.
In this modern age more and more people are flying including, I suspect, active members of the STAQS organisation.
Luton is an integral part of this operation and, if you live nearby there may be noise.
If you divert the flight paths from your aerial back yard then someone else will reap the benefit of the alleged noise.
So help reduce your blood pressure and live and let live.
Lie in your bed at 6am - listen to the early Easyjet flight and rejoice that there are 150 happy people above you going on their hols.
JOHN STOCKER Nomansland, Wheathampstead
I am trying to locate Hilary Sinick or Heather Cartwright who were the sisters of William Roy Baxter. They all grew up in the Harpenden’s National Children’s Home then lost touch.
His wife is interested in linking up with them. I can be contacted on 01202 773028.
BERYL BAXTER By email
I would not automatically leap to the defence of St Albans council but from the allegation made by the Herts Ad that it was their “inefficiencies” that allowed a rather smart retail unit something should be said in their defence.
With the reduced resources they have available it is only in situations like this that problems are revealed publicly.
True the signage in your photos looks overbearing, the camera lenses make it seem as big as the entire store.
It can be resolved quickly by pulling the fuse. As for traffic being confused by a blue sign quotes Cllr Gibbard, I wonder which traffic sign does a light blue Co-op sign clash with?
Perhaps if St Albans council had not wasted upwards of £1 million on fighting the rail freight depot there would be enough to staff their planning department more fully?
The remark about an inferior retail offering from the Co-op is best summed up by the remark “I don’t like Guinness and I’ve never tried it either!” Perhaps you should speak to the Fairtrade people regarding that aspect of retailers’ “offering?”
The situation in Harpenden was however close to what your article stated.
The landlord ended the leases telling the traders that he could not care less what difference this made locally, he then sought offers and Tesco was forced to up their bid significantly to maintain their interest over alternatives. The landlord was as you state the cash grabber.
LESLIE FREITAG Cravells Road, Harpenden
I recently returned home from having a new knee. Following the operation I recuperated in De La Mare Ward in St Albans City Hospital and I really can’t praise the staff there enough.
What a lovely lot of people, so helpful, caring, encouraging, supportive and kind. The cleanliness and catering are equally wonderful too.
MARGARET E WILLIAMS By email
Through your letters pages may I please send my very grateful thanks to the two lovely ladies who so kindly assisted my wife, Liz, after her unfortunate fall outside Waitrose in Harpenden on September 12.
These two kind individuals helped my wife around to the surgery in Amenbury Lane and awaited my arrival, I also want to thank the Waitrose staff who kindly offered a bag of frozen peas to calm the bruising Liz suffered.
Although Liz has the mother and father of a black eye I think there is no lasting damage.
The good Samaritan ethos is still alive and in evidence in Harpenden.