Your latest letters on the stories and issues featured in the Herts Ad
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I was interested to see the letter from Cllr Mandy Perkins, housing portfolio holder for Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, in relation to plans to build 1,130 houses and a 12 pitch gypsy site in the Green Belt between Wheathampstead and Hatfield.
Sadly her letter is an attempt to fudge the fact that Welwyn Hatfield Council have conducted no formal consultation on the plans for Symondsyde (HAT15) to date.
The consultation in January 2015 to which she refers made no mention of a new stand-alone site in the Green Belt at Symondshyde (HAT15). On the contrary the council’s own evidence base, the independent Green Belt Review conducted for Welwyn Hatfield, St Albans and Dacorum, specifically said that the Symondshyde Green Belt makes a significant contribution to the Green Belt objectives of preventing urban sprawl and maintaining the land spaces between St Albans, Hatfield and Wheathampstead.
As for the October ‘drop-in’ events, I can only conclude that they took the classic tactic of holding a consultation event and not bothering to tell anyone about it, since neither Wheathampsead parish council, Sandridge parish council or St Albans district council were made aware them.
I am saving my contempt for the last piece of so-called consultation, the fancifully entitled ‘Charrette’ held by the Gasgoyne Cecil Estates. For those of us who are not of noble birth, Charrette means consultation in French. Some people might say that it was a word chosen to conceal the fact that a consultation to build over 1,000 houses, a 12 pitch gypsy site and primary school slap bang in the middle of high grade Green Belt. In any case, a consultation put together and conducted by a developer and beneficiary of the sale of the land is arguably not worth the paper it’s written on.
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The plan to build over 1000 houses in the middle of the Green Belt is patently unsustainable. I almost laughed out loud when I read Cllr Perkins state: “the ability to provide supporting infrastructure has informed our decision when identifying the most suitable sites.” In what way would putting thousands of people, and potentially 2000+ cars in the middle of the Green Belt be sustainable? I’ve always believed that the Green Belt belongs to us all; it’s a precious, beautiful practical and visual amenity that is part of our collective green heritage. And, in these increasingly crowded times, it becomes even more precious. We have to resist Welwyn Hatfield’s attempts to sneak this plan through the Local Plan process without local people fully realising what will be lost and the harm that such an unsustainable development will cause.
CLLR JUDY SHARDLOW
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Dave Avenue, Gustard Wood
Walking around the lake in Verulamium Park recently I came upon what can only be described as the next production of a Carry On film.
Starring two men in J O’Connor high viz jackets with supporting cast of the lorry driver, who stood and watched the comedy.
Scene 1: O’Connor men shovel out the stinking sludge from a section of the lake.
Scene 2: Sludge loaded into a roll-on-roll off skip with a hinged tail gate
Scene 3: Skip loaded back onto bed of lorry.
Scene 4: Sludge pours out of skip back onto the path.
Scene 5: O’Conner men shovel sludge back into the lake.
Produced by SADC.
Directed by SADC councillors.
I sincerely hope SADC will not be paying the invoice from O’Connor’s for this fiasco.
Ash Copse, Bricket Wood
Richard Coleman seemed to think it was good that so many Canada geese are breeding in or around Verulamium Lake despite the claims about the lake water being in a bad way. Could I point out that Canada geese are regarded, in this country, as a pest/vermin, would Mr Coleman be as enthusiastic if he had counted 60 rats rather than 60 Canada goose goslings.
Canada geese are an invasive species with few if any natural predators, they destroy grassland near water and leave very unpleasant “droppings” which foul the water or the land.
SIR - I take exception to your recent front page headline that suggests that the people of St Albans have a “lack of respect for Somme heroes”.
The numbers who attend the Remembrance Day ceremony each year show this just is not true.
If only three members of the public were present for the Yomp to the Somme ceremony then any blame should be placed on those responsible for publicising the event.
It seems that Facebook and Twitter were the channels used and although the organisers had prior indication from lack of feedback there that the message wasn¹t getting through, they thought social media was sufficient.
I don¹t use Twitter and Facebook, and it seems I¹m not the only one.
It is a great pity that the yomping ex-Royal Marines weren¹t greeted by more of St Albans citizens, but if we didn¹t know about the event, how could we be expected to attend?
Fontmell Close, St Albans
Editor’s Comment: The Yomp was publicised on page 3 of the previous week’s Herts Advertiser, and the headline also referred to the theft of WWI memorial trees.
In company with other members of the Harpenden Society, I recently had the privilege of being taken on a conducted tour of Hammonds End Farm, whose 270 acres of organically-cultivated arable land occupy most of the area south of Harpenden between Rothamsted Research and the Childwickbury estate.
As we rode around the farm, seated surprisingly comfortably on straw bales on a tractor-hauled flat-bed trailer, there was widespread comment by members of the party on the beauty of Harpenden’s rural environment. In early summer everywhere was green and, in places, there were no buildings visible in any direction across a delightful undulating landscape. It was a salutary reminder of how imperative are the efforts of the Harpenden Green Belt Association and others to safeguard our precious local countryside against St Albans district council planners and rapacious would-be developers.
Ridgewood Drive, Harpenden
With reference to the proposal to build 2,000 homes on the former airfield site in Park Street instead of a rail freight terminal, it is absolutely vital that this piece of the Green Belt remains as such.
Why? Because it is the last remaining significant Green Belt area between South Hertfordshire and Greater London but more importantly it is an effective green lung producing clean fresh air that helps to mitigate the toxic outpouring of diesel and other poisonous fumes from the adjacent M25 motorway.
These emissions have now been discovered to be even higher and more hazardous to our health than previously admitted. Our area already exceeds the known safe level of airborne pollutants (if indeed there is such a thing) and I have it on good authority from a former GP who practiced in this area for many years that since the M25 opened there has been a huge increase in asthma especially among children and the elderly.
To anyone who knows it this is a beautiful part of the St Albans area - a large expanse of land which serves both as a wild life sanctuary and for sheep grazing. Fond and proud memories remain in and around Park Street of its past as an aircraft industry but following its closure the site was used for mineral extraction and the runways and buildings were dug up and demolished. When mineral extraction ceased some years ago the site was rehabilitated with top soil, tree planting and a large pond area. It now bears no physical history of its past usage. I believe we would be absolute fools to allow this land to be destroyed by any type of building on it.
Finally let’s not forget, it has never been an area considered by the district plan to be suitable or desirable for any type of development.
Park Street, St Albans
62 per cent of St Albans electors in an 82 per cent turnout voted to remain in the EU. Our MP, Mrs Main, voted to leave. How will she represent the views of her constituents who have clearly repudiated her position?
Mrs Main has heralded the vote as “a new start for the country” – she, and her colleagues such as Peter Lilley, who also voted to leave, now bear a heavy responsibility for developing a way forward for the country that will protect the interests of those who voted to remain. I urge readers to contact Mrs Main (MAINA@parliament.uk) to ask her how she intends to do this.
In the meantime, the country has no leader, no plan, no idea where it is going or how it is going to get there.
Worley Road, St Albans
Like many others, I wrote to Anne Main suggesting that she should resign after nearly 63 per cent of her constituents showed that she did not represent them in the EU Referendum. I have also received her reply maintaining that she had a perfect right to vote for what she believed was best for our country – as we all did. Of course she did, but what did not have was a mandate from those who elected her to campaign for Leave (e.g, pp 14 & 15 of Herts Advertiser, 9 June), since she admits that she was well aware beforehand that St Albans was the ‘ninth most pro-European constituency’ in the country. That is why I consider that she cannot claim to represent us now.
ROBERT PANKHURST College Street, St Albans
I was very surprised to find that St Albans was an area that was so staunchly Remain. I campaigned for the Leave side, and all of the people I spoke to who said they were going to leave, were polite and friendly, where as on many occasions Remainers were either curt, ignored me, or were surprisingly abusive. There were certainly no need for that sort of behaviour, and it seemed to have brought out the worst in people.
Anne Main campaigned vigorously for what she believed is best for the country, and the majority of voters backed her opinion. The prosperity of St Albans has shown that people are thinking of their own welfare, and not thinking of those less well off, who have felt oppressed by the prospect of continuing unlimited immigration, and the effect it is having on our housing, schools and medical requirements. It is clearly not a question of race, but quantity. The Remainers have tried to turn it into a race issue.
Voting Leave was about regaining our sovereignty; saving £12 billion a year contributions, which I am sure is better spent at home rather than wasted by the EU; and not being drawn into ever closer political union, including a European army.
What we want is business, without political interference, (which comes at enormous expense) We want to be free to trade with the rest of the world, not shackled by endless EU regulation and red tape. If the EU turns nasty on us, then it will show up what sort of people we have been dealing with. Don’t forget we buy a lot more from them than they buy from us. They know this, so I don’t think they will do anything stupid, much as what they would like to punish us for having the temerity to leave. They are afraid we might have started a domino effect.
A lot of people around the world are congratulating us for taking a stand against centralised control. We want to continue to trade with the EU, and also our friends in the Commonwealth, which when you come to think of it is a great title, don’t you think?
Hill End Farm, Tyttenhanger Green
I am a teacher in St Albans who, like 62.7 per cent of constituents, voted to remain in the EU.
Living and working in an area where many of my friends, colleagues and students are EU nationals, an area where diversity is celebrated, and an area where a large proportion of the community are commuters whose livelihoods rely on our capital city prospering, the past few days have left me feeling extremely concerned for the future.
Not only has the overall result gone against the wishes and interests of our community, it appears that the Conservative party - the ruling party - have little in place to ensure that things run smoothly as we start the process of leaving the EU.
As the MP elected to represent St Albans, what reassurances can Anne Main offer to the 62.7 per cent of her constituents who, like me, voted to stay in the EU? Will she use her vote in the Commons to represent our interests?
Despite all the gloom I feel about the national results of the referendum there is some consolation in the fact that St Albans can be proud that the folk of our city voted overwhelmingly to stay in the EU 54,208 against the 32,237 who want to turn their backs on all the other 27 countries of the European Union.
This will give a great deal of support to those more extreme right wing countries who want to get out of the Union. There is also the likelihood that Scotland will hold a referendum to leave Great Britain because they voted overwhelmingly to stay in the EU. Wales and Northern Island will probably follow, making us truly little England with little influence in the rest of the world. I am happy to stand alongside all those who campaigned to stay in the EU. People from all the political parties have worked hard to stay in, but not our MP Anne Main who actively campaigned to get out of the EU. Now all our leaders will have to try and heal this terrible wound to our nation.
Spencer Street, St Albans
In the fallout from the Referendum there are many of us who now feel like strangers in our own country. We have communities who are divided; families who are divided. It is very divisive and destructive, and frightening.
Regardless of which way one voted (and I voted Remain) how can any person in leadership and especially MPs who backed the Leave campaign, possibly justify or commend the outcome?
Bricket Wood It is a little known fact that members of the International Olympic Committee represent the IOC to their countries and not the other way round. M.P’s are a different kettle of fish entirely, Anne Main is our representative in Parliament.
We now know, empirically, that her views on leaving the EU are in stark contrast to your constituents and therefore I would ask her to consider how can we have an effective debate on the petition that now nearly THREE MILLION people have called for.
The quality of the EU debate was woefully poor, now is the time to address it.
Vernon Close, St Albans