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SIR,— Firstly I would like to congratulate the Herts Advertiser on reporting on the poor service that some of our frailer fellow residents were receiving from a contractor for home care services. The money for which was provided from the public purse, and

SIR,- Firstly I would like to congratulate the Herts Advertiser on reporting on the poor service that some of our frailer fellow residents were receiving from a contractor for home care services. The money for which was provided from the public purse, and thankfully it seems the coverage has prompted a speedy resolution, ensuring residents get the service they deserve - and they and we are paying for.

Turning to a less-emotive matter, however still pertaining to public money that is continuing to be spent on "not-fit-for-purpose" goods, there too just might be a glimmer of hope on the horizon. Last Wednesday the all-party St Albans District Council Overview and Scrutiny Committee resolved to recommend to Cabinet, most sensibly in my opinion, that the grey granite paving should not, as Cabinet wanted, be sealed. The cleansing officer concurred with the findings of the expert when the paving was tested - at a cost, incidentally, of over £1,000 to the public purse - that sealing would basically not make a jot of difference. The committee also importantly recommended that the district council wrote to Herts County Council to request that they seek restitution from Mouchel for the "not-fit-for-purpose" paving material. Thus the resolution echoed the very same words that Cllr Robert Donald spoke at the July 2006 full council meeting. This motion now returns to the Cabinet to discuss and hopefully adopt at its meeting on the July 8.

So how could Cllr Donald and his colleagues fail to agree now his words have all-party support? Why would the Cabinet defy common sense this time and commit the taxpayer to futile cleansing costs which would amount to - over the granite's full lifecycle - nearly the same cost as the whole enhancement scheme?

It was clear to me at the Overview meeting that some senior district council officers were trying everything they could to prevent the councillors from demanding restitution from Mouchel. Could it be they want an easy life and are afraid of Herts Highways? So it will be interesting to see whether the Cabinet on July 8 will do the right thing by the taxpayer and back up Cllr Donald's words at full council a year ago, or cave in to their officers' desire for a quiet life.


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Should the Cabinet have the courage to refer, as recommended, to the county council and they refuse to take justifiable action against the consultant company, then I do not think county should ever complain again they don't have enough money to fix our roads and properly pave our footpaths.

VANESSA GREGORY,

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Tennyson Road, St Albans.

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