SIR, — Two items in last week s Herts Advertiser especially caught my eye — the £25,000 price for a parking space and the letter suggesting moving on and living in the real world regarding the old Odeon cinema in London Road. The parking space for sa

SIR, - Two items in last week's Herts Advertiser especially caught my eye - the £25,000 price for a parking space and the letter suggesting "moving on" and "living in the real world" regarding the old Odeon cinema in London Road.

The parking space for sale in St Albans would certainly have amazed my dear old father who despite working for 30 years at Vauxhall Motors after serving in the army during World War Two, never could afford a car! However as we are living in the here and now we have to face and deal with the effects of the post-war affluence in car ownership.

The Royal Horticultural Society has taken the opportunity, via their website, in the run up to the Chelsea Flower Show to highlight their concerns over the disappearance of front gardens as they are being turned into yet more places to store the motor car.

The impervious paving is raising the risks of more flash flooding as the climate changes. Bearing in mind that from October this year, should people want to cover their front gardens in impermeable paving, they will have to apply for planning permission, the RHS has issued a leaflet showing ingenious ways in which cars can still be stored in front gardens but not at the expense of saying goodbye to all plants and shrubs. Also very importantly, how to allow rainwater to soak back into the ground and help our precious chalk streams. When we can scrape a few bob together, we hope to renovate our front garden. I hope we will do our bit to help the environment but also make it pleasing for the wildlife and for people who pass by.

Turning to our beloved old Odeon cinema building, I could not help but see the irony of my latest invitation from The Historic Towns Forum to attend a seminar on "Tourism in historic towns - a quality offer" and your lead letter of last week. The event is in Morecambe in the newly-refurbished art deco Midland Hotel, and before you splutter into your cocoa asking how Morecambe is relevant to St Albans, I suggest we could learn a trick or two from them.

They are not sticking their heads in the sand, although they have plenty of it! From the information I have been sent it looks like their council recognises an unique selling point when it hits them in the face and works with developers "in a partnership approach" to find a way in which viable properties in private ownership can regenerate rundown areas.

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We need a cinema and the owner of The Rex can't be the only player in town. Building more flats at the moment is not the answer, more family homes are needed. Please take note of that too Tesco and remember "every little helps" in meeting the Government diktats on housing in this area.

To keep squaring up to each other in planning applications and appeals is wasting time and money. True the council cannot force the owner to refurbish the building or find someone else to do it. However I suggest the council gets in touch with their colleagues in Morecambe and learn what can be achieved being proactive rather than reactive. I suspect though many councillors don't want to see this building saved as it doesn't suit their book and their deal with a certain Henry Davidson.

Spotting opportunities not constraints is my view of moving on in the real world. I hope it is not too late for this building even with the planning application pending. I am sure many residents, not all I accept, who have enjoyed wonderful entertainment there and have fond memories will join me in hoping it can find an eleventh-hour angel so that future generations are not denied those pleasures.


Tennyson Road, St Albans.