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Every spring Verulamium Lake welcomes new arrivals. Birds fly in from Russia, the Sahara and all over Europe to spend the summer feeding, breeding and being peered at by the local RSPB and other bird watchers.
Sometimes there are squabbles with the local ducks who have remained here over the Winter and set up nesting sites on the island, but on the whole, everyone gets on with scrounging illicit bread from tourists and local kids, intimidating dogs, and messing up the path and lakeside grass with copious amounts of bird poo.
Over the past couple of years however there has been a change. Pollution and the district council’s refusal to shoulder the costly burden of draining and then cleaning the lake has resulted in the water is becoming more and more unpleasant.
Yesterday when I walked past it, the stench emanating from the lake was really foul. The water was grey in colour and you couldn’t see into the depths. Close to the edge, where children formerly played and paddled and dogs swam to retrieve sticks, curd-like scum rocked gently in the breeze.
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There were still some brave ducks out in the deep part, but not many and the tourists who normally flock to the park to take pictures or eat their packed lunches by its sparkling side, had stayed away. Was this a rather unfortunate analogy for the current state of the UK? I thought so.
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- 4 The latest court results for the St Albans area
- 5 Harpenden's disappearing banks - will Barclays be next?
- 6 Springfield Farm: Student party plan blocked by council
- 7 Sir David Amess: St Albans MP reflects on personal safety
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- 10 A New York state of mind
Coldharbour Lane, Harpenden
Are there any other people in St Albans as disturbed as we are by the constant drone of aircraft from 6am until late at night?
We believe the flight paths from Luton airport have been changed for a lengthy trial period to avoid overflying Harpenden.
We have registered our displeasure by filling in a form on the Civil Aviation Authority’s website. If your readers agree that there is a problem, please will they do the same.
MICHAEL & SHEILA LAVENDER JONES
Battlefield Road, St Albans
I only recently found out about the proposed building development at Symonshyde Great Wood. This is for an isolated, up-market, village of more than 1,100 houses on a site made up of high grade agricultural land deep in the Green Belt.
The proposal shows that it would be served only by tiny single track roads leading to the already congested Coopers Green Lane and the B653 Wheathampstead to Stanborough Road. There seem to be no plans for schools, shops, public transport or any other facilities.
There has been no consultation with St Albans District Council (SADC) although the site is extremely close to the SADC border.
Welwyn Hatfield Council are working with the proposed developer and the Gascoyne-Cecil estate (ultimately owned by Lord Salisbury) and seem to have ignored the planning rules that talk about sustainability and consultation.
There have been other proposals for development in the Green Belt, one to the Smallford side of the old Hawker Siddeley airfield (Hat2) and the other to the West of the Tesco roundabout (Hat1). However these seem to have been discarded as there are significant sand and gravel deposits. Money talks! Ruin the green belt but leave the owners to profit from the minerals.
Lord Salisbury owns Hatfield Park as well as large tracts of local farmland. A development to the east of the park and adjacent to the A414 would be much better served by transport links as well as being close to both Hatfield town centre and Welwyn Garden City facilities.
Everlasting Lane, St Albans
Your recent article entitled ‘District streets gripped by invasion of weeds’ was very much to the point but how do we resolve this serious problem?
Responsibility apparently rests with Hertfordshire County Council. Perhaps therefore our elected county councillors should make their voices loudly heard, supported in equal measure by those in our district council.
Cllr Hill’s petition could be supported as an absolute minimum.
Strangely enough, our neighbours, in Hertford and Welwyn Garden City do not share the same problems – I wonder why?
Cunningham Hill Road, St Albans
Nick Chivers has used your pages to fabricate an accusation against me. es, I recounted various doorstep conversations during the EU referendum campaign both on the BBC and in public debates.
And yes, one 75-year-old Verulam resident did say to me that he thought he should not have the vote in the referendum because the impact was going to be on his children and grandchildren and not on him. He said it, not me, and I simply retold the story. It does not mean he did not vote, I certainly did not tell him not to vote, and my own canvassing told me that, whatever happened in the rest of the UK, he and other St Albans residents of all ages were going to be sensible and vote Remain – as indeed they did. The Brexit car crash as endorsed by Anne Main and Peter Lilley was not our fault.
Mt Chivers can ‘infer’ whatever he likes – what a weasel word that is. But he did not produce a shred of evidence to support his ‘inference’.
But then the whole Leave campaign was based on being economical with the truth. Indeed Mr Chivers’s pathetic attempt to libel me seems mild compared with the vitriol, bile and backstabbing being expended on each other by the Leave campaign leaders now they have to face the music and try to justify the economic and political ramifications of their half truths.
I thought that the Iraq War would never be surpassed in my political lifetime as a political disaster. Well, we have done it again with the EU vote. My party so sneeringly referenced by Mr Chivers was uniquely steadfast in its opposition to them both. The result is many new Liberal Democrat members joining up locally echoing the massive national surge in our party membership.
Hatfield Road, St Albans
“…many - quite probably a majority - of my constituents did vote to remain in the EU.” So says Peter Lilley. But he knows best!
And to prove it, “I have been returned with an increased vote and larger majority.”
In my communications with him, Peter Lilley shows not an ounce of sympathy with those who differ from him.
Why should he bother with their views? He has a safe seat, mainly because the other parties split the constituency vote. Such a smug attitude can only arise from having years of assured tenancy, unlike many of the less fortunate in this area.
He concludes: “I will be content to submit my record to their judgment at the next election”. So let us remember the attitude of a tired incumbent who clings to his safe seat knowing that he’ll get in anyway.
Piggottshill Lane, Harpenden
Anne Main has refused to stand down as MP for St Albans despite her opinions on Britain’s membership of the EU being diametrically opposed to those of a substantial majority of her constituents.
It is clear from this that Mrs Main believes MPs must act according to their conscience and not according to the wishes of those they represent. Presumably, then, in the interest of consistency she will support calls for MPs (the vast majority of whom are “remainers”) to have the final say on whether Britain leaves the EU, even if the MP’s majority view runs contrary to the referendum outcome?
Or could it be that Mrs Main is happy to accept the will of the people when it happens to concur with her view, but is happy ignore the will of those she represents when they happen to disagree with her?
Archers Fields, St Albans
Those EU Remainers who feel aggrieved by Anne Main and Peter Lilley voting for Brexit seem to be confusing the referendum with a constituency-based General Election: had we been voting on whether St Albans and Harpenden should alone withdraw from the EU they might have a point, but this was a national referendum of individuals, each voting according to their conscience and not along party lines. Our two MPs should be congratulated for voting for the important principles of sovereignty and democracy rather than narrow economic self-interest, which most of this wealthy Hertfordshire enclave seem to have done.
The inability of Remain hardliners to accept a decision going against their will is symptomatic of today’s narcissistic society, where people are so intoxicated with their own self-importance and sense of entitlement that they cannot accept being on the losing side. On social media revenge is taken by driving people out of friendship groups; in St Albans, two hard-working MPs risk being hounded out of their jobs.
Instead of childishly squabbling over the result, demanding a second referendum or going on text-a-mob demonstrations, Britain should be grasping a golden opportunity to break free from a corporatist empire that looks after the rich and powerful while ignoring the poor and disenfranchised. Or as the Bishop of St Albans told your reporter, it’s time to “move forward together”.
Hatfield Road, St Albans
What was noticeable about recent anti-Brexit letters was the lack of knowledge displayed in much of the correspondence.
I voted for Brexit because the EU is currently the most corrupt, undemocratic and incompetent governing body in the western world. Failed audits for 21 years, considerable evidence of extravagant, unnecessary and unidentifiable expenditure, excessive bureaucratic incompetence is clearly evident.
The Strasbourg office continues to exist at great expense. Financial contributions required by countries such as ours and Germany to bail-out weaker economies reduce the funding of our own needy populace. Legislation will grow and grow whether we require it or not. There is so much more, Hell as been long overtaken.
Admittedly we will have to face many problems but if we delay matters will only get worse. The EU seeks greater control and dictatorship. Our Government will be graced with fewer and fewer powers ending up on par with our local parish councils.
Yes immigration is currently a problem but at last we have the chance to control it.
Overstone Road, Harpenden
It is interesting that in a non-political ballot, when the voting is in secret and non-party that Anne Main is accused of not representing her constituents in the EU Referendum.
How was she supposed to know their wishes? Unlike David Cameron who took every opportunity to threaten us with terrible consequences if we voted to leave, Anne Main merely said to leave was in the best interests of this country in her opinion.
Anne Main voted as a member of the public, not as a politician and was prepared to stand up for her beliefs even if it threatened her political career. She showed great integrity and whether I agree with her or not, such integrity is to be admired and is essential in our MP as she has my vote.
Mount Pleasant Lane, Bricket Wood
Regarding your article ‘Campaign calls on MPs to quit’ (June 30), may I be so bold as to ask Mike Gerrard to speak for himself. It was not my will for Mr Gerrard to remain within the EU as my vote denoted.
I have to say straight away how much I admire Anne Main and Peter Lilley for having the courage of their convictions and when it comes to Boris, what a brave man. He could have so easily have curried favour by going along with David Cameron (and daddy), but he insisted on doing what he felt was right for our country. Good on yer Boris!
I personally had no hesitation on how to vote and I feel that yes it was time for the UK to take back control of its laws, money and borders.
The other thing that bothered me greatly was the potential loss of identity regarding our nation and I could see that this was a real possibility if we were taken over. Obviously this was not much of a concern to these short sighted people who voted to remain within the EU, but make no mistake they would have been the first ones to whine. Inevitably we lost more and more control over time and there would have been nothing that we could do about it.
Perhaps now we might be able to prop up our ailing NHS, which seems to be getting into rather dire straights. What would we do without it?
Keep up the good work Peter and Anne and I am sure that in the end we will have no regrets, but will come out on top.
Wilston Drive, St Albans
Over half the staff at Cambridge’s Addenbrooke’s Hospital who cared for my son last year after a serious accident were not of British origin. The nurse that accompanied us in a blue-lighted ambulance from the Lister and kept me calm while I collected his cranial fluid in a beaker was Polish. The A&E doctor that met us at the door at 5am was from Bulgaria. The tea-lady, who comforted me when I had to leave the ward so my son couldn’t see my tears, was from Lebanon.
Cambridge, like St Albans, was one of few English regions that voted Remain, and I am one of those in ‘mourning’, according to Chief Desert(ing) Rat and now- drumroll!- our new Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson. I would never dispute anyone’s right to vote how they wish - that’s democracy. However, there was nothing democratic about this Referendum, something I did not appreciate beforehand. Yes! A Remain voter prepared to admit ignorance in the context of the Referendum. That the UK population should never have been given this chance to ‘Take Control’ is the view of a fast-growing number of constitutional lawyers, former leaders, political analysts and historians.
We have ALL been let down. I can’t understand anyone who refuses to see this now, given the chaos that has been unleashed. Every single vote to Leave has contributed to legitimisation of the abhorrent racism that is on the increase and that I have witnessed, even here. All Leave voters aligned themselves with a campaign that encouraged it, before its lying leaders fled like the cowards they are. If any are shocked about the reported 57 per cent increase in racist and xenophobic incidents over the past several days, then I would suggest they should look carefully at what else they have been fooled by.
I abhor our children’s future being the chip in this tragic game where everyone’s a loser. The ‘prize’ was taken by people who fell for xenophobic lies, false figures, empty promises about the NHS and a loose concept of control dressed up as ‘sovereignty’, with no understanding of what was really at stake. I suspect Cornwall and swathes of Yorkshire, recently begging for financial guarantees after they voted their EU funds down the drain, will soon realise this. Lincolnshire too; the UK ’s largest regional beneficiary of EU funds, and yet it voted Leave. What this shows is voters’ lack of understanding of what they were throwing away; in my view, this makes the vote result null and void. It was Advisory, after all.
Peace is more important than patriotism or sovereignty, and we have had it for 70 years, after millennia of conflict. That peace is now at immense risk. In November, we will wear our poppies with ‘pride’ in the sacrifice of those who died fighting the nationalists who took hold in Europe several decades ago. What does this dutiful pride and remembrance mean, if we ignore the evil stirrings now of the same nationalistic sentiments? The irony that, as I write, my daughter is visiting Auschwitz with her very progressive and European-minded school, makes me weep.
This Great British Mistake may turn out to a blip in history. Should it prove to be the historical tipping point so many fear, a high number of those who have helped lead us all to that potential tipping point won’t be around to experience the fall-out and it is the young who will have to live with it. I resent being part of a nation that would be responsible for that.
Right now, I am ashamed to be British; if this is ‘sovereignty’ and this is ‘control’, Leave voters are welcome to it. As many people appear to have voted Leave out of national pride, I don’t believe they foresaw or considered the possible collapse of the UK in their ‘analysis’. I do hope that those claiming some kind of victory will one day realise their grave mistake. ‘This country’s going to the dogs’ is a lament of many of those who have voted Leave. As 52 per cent of us are apparently either disenchanted, racist or, sadly, easily fooled, it really and truly IS going to the dogs now.
Firwood Avenue, St Albans