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The Tourist Information Centre in the Old Town Hall has been closed

The Tourist Information Centre in the Old Town Hall has been closed - Credit: Archant

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The Tourist Information Centre in the Old Town Hall has been closed

The Tourist Information Centre in the Old Town Hall has been closed - Credit: Archant

I could not agree more with your comments about the lack of adequate alternative arrangements for the Tourist Information Centre and the failure of the council to provide printed foreign language guides.

When I visited the Arena before the TIC staff were withdrawn, the member of staff was most apologetic about the lack of French and German brochures but did point out that they were out of date anyhow. She did not know of any plans to update them .

I would have thought that a centrally-placed temporary building could have been arranged or even use of an empty premises such as the one adjacent to WH Smith’s.

However I am not surprised by the situation because it seems to me that the city has a very half-hearted approach to encouraging tourists to visit. Even though we are only 20 minutes from St Pancras and would provide an ideal day or half-day outing, it my experience that many overseas visitors simply chance upon St Albans and having experienced its attractions wonder why it is not better known.

How can a city serious about tourism have a TIC [when it does exist] , which shuts at 4pm, even in summer and is not open on Sundays and Bank Holidays?

I would like to think that when the hoarding around the Old Town Hall is finally in place that it will be covered with a colourful mural depicting the history from Roman times through to the future with the prospect of a modern museum and an enhanced visitor experience at the Cathedral. I suspect I live in hope!

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More could and should be done. I do believe that the council would like to see more tourism but they do not seem to have the vision or a strategy to make it happen. At least they had the sense to overturn their planning department’s recommendation to refuse the Cathedral visitor centre. It was a pleasure to witness the councillors’ unanimous support for the project. Perhaps that enthusiasm can now spill over into making the desire to put St Albans on the tourist map a reality before the two exciting projects are complete.


I refer to Laura Berrill’s missive regarding the dog “snapping at her heels” in Chiswell Green Park.

There are two scourges in today’s society. One is the cyclist, the other are cynophobic joggers; both believing they have a divine right to block up roads, pedestrian pathways and parks performing their physical pursuits in the name of peak perfection.

As a dog owner myself, I was not surprised at Ms Berrill’s inference that she might sue the owner of the small dog were it to bite her - but even more horrified that if it didn’t and if it got too near to her, she would have no hesitation in “booting the little yapper over the field if it so suited her.”

Oh I wish I could turn into a Jack Russell for one day and meet Ms Berrill on her quest to reduce her BMI by pounding well worn dog walking tracks. Armed with jaws of steel, fleet of foot and as a much fast runner, I would annoy Ms Berrill by completely ruining her run by going in and out of her path until she gave up and took up her pursuit on a purpose-built track or some other safer route. I would also remind my owner (in dog speak of course) that were she to be successful in booting me into the next field, I would really play up at the vets, exaggerating my injuries and compelling my owner to sue her as well as reporting her to the RSPCA for animal cruelty. For that, I believe custodial sentences can be handed out.

For the avoidance of doubt Ms Berrill, dogs love chasing moving objects, whether that is other dogs, cats, balls, motor cars and, yes, diva runners who believe that they have a divine right to plod the same fields where dogs regularly walk and play. Yes of course there are remiss dog owners and yes, some dogs such as large or dangerous breeds that are a menace and should be kept well under control. I am with her on that.

From her description of events though, this appears to be a transient 30 seconds’ worth of territorial bother between herself and a toy breed at some short stage during her run, not the complete ruination of it. Get over it. Postmen and women face this challenge and worse every day. Ms Berrill, if you really intend suing the owner should the “little yapper” nip your ankles, watch out for an even bigger lawsuit if you should decide to use an animal as a canine football by replicating one of Jonny Wilkinson’s finest into the next cornfield. If you do, the implications for you will be far greater with, if you pardon the pun, the boot on the other foot. I thank you!


Green Lane, St Albans

I am very very sorry that the Company of Ten’s Martin Goodman took the phrase in my July 28 letter “a mindless pile of lowest common denominator balls” to refer to the local arts scene.

I was referring solely to film; and praising Michael Joyce, the Advertiser’s film reviewer, for highlighting film’s raison d’etre - money.

Most arts reviews are shallow, four star, uninformative, exaggerated, verbose and gossipy. Michael Joyce’s are a refreshing change.

My point was that Michael Joyce’s radical approach might aid understanding of other arts: for example, local arts productions; and other arts issues, such as subsidy’s bureaucratic labyrinth. I wrote that letter, I now see, with insufficient care. It was actually just a fan letter to Michael Joyce, not meant for publication. But now that it has been published, I’m glad the Company of Ten responded.

Quality, such as the Company of Ten, has nothing to fear. Their recent production of Under Milk Wood filled me utterly with delight. The staging excited. The actors’ dazzled: their voices rich with music and timing, their bodies alive. They played off each other and the audience in a way that professional companies should envy. The atmosphere thickened. I was gripped.

Ditto their Time and the Conways: the most affecting production of any Priestley play I have ever seen: splendidly played.

I await eagerly forthcoming productions. Excitement. Tingling. Alive. I applaud the dedication, energy and talent of their players, directors and staff. A jewel in St Alban’s crown.

No subsidy.


Ramsbury Road, St Albans

Once more Mr Stone feels the need to insult your readers and simultaneously enforce his half-baked ideas onto the wider readership.

He has the arrogance and self-imposed importance to feel he “must” write in to inform reader Ms Campbell that it is not the EU which has kept Europe peaceful, but NATO. Yet again, his delusional narrow-minded ideas highlight his lack of understanding and fail to encompass the wider picture.

NATO is a political and military force invented primarily to defend the North Western hemisphere against communism and if anything has to some extent through stockpiling missiles, assisted in perpetuating the tension and alienation for many decades. Meanwhile, the EU, through fostering trade and people integration, promoting inter-membership interdependence, and strengthening diplomatic ties, has helped promote and evolve mutual bonds from the Mediterranean to Scandinavia. States who fought for centuries are now collaborating through economic integration and it is this that has primarily kept the peace in Europe, not threats of weaponry.

To dismiss the many positive aspects of the admittedly often shambolic and occasionally misguided EU and revel in the potential mess Brexit will cause across the water is not a healthy nor helpful attitude. We need more joined up, open-minded thinking, not the bigoted spluttering of conceited ill-natured dogma from someone who claims he so easily “takes exception” with one person’s views and then “takes offence” against another whilst accusing them of temerity. Pot, kettle and black readily come to mind.


Nunnery Stables, St Albans

I am certainly not the first to offer my opinion on these subjects and for sure I will not be the last and I felt like having a rant and rave as I feel so strongly.

Whilst I am in favour of recycling, caring for our environment and the future of the planet, I think the government and the council has got it all totally wrong.

We pay 5p for bags at the supermarket if we choose not to bring our own which is great but what about all the unnecessary bits of cardboard, polystyrene, plastic etc that adorn the product we buy and have responsibility to dispose of. How about a charge to the manufacturer or retailer for the amount of packaging they use, that might encourage them to reduce it. I remember as a young man (a long long time ago) living with just an old fashioned corregated metal dustbin that was emptied once a week and other than Christmas and birthdays was rarely filled to the top.

Upon waking each morning one of the jobs that I opt to do at that time is the recycling, I feel like I have a mini recycling centre behind my driveway gates. Three wheelie bins, one box for cardboard and paper and a food waste bin. Its like a part time unpaid job. In fact I have to move all these bins to get my car in and out of the garage because I prefer not to leave them in front of the house in view from the street, which thankfully, as do the majority of my neighbours.

My wife and I have decided to organise the instalation of a waste disposal unit as we don’t wish to store waste food for up to seven days at a cost to us of several hundred pounds for the privilige. We also now have to wash all the food containers, plastic trays, fruit punnets etc using our costly metered and heated water before placing them in our now clean black bin. Plus what about the amount of vehicles burning fuel on all these multi collections across the district.

I’ve become aware of communal bins both in Europe and in parts of the U.K. where mini recycling type containers are located in a designated position in your street and are empied on a regular basis.

Alternatively why can’t the seperation/recycling of waste take place at the actual waste sites or as a resident be given the option of whether we want to pay for collection or give back our bins and deliver our waste direct to the site. I know I would prefer not to have all these bins at my home discount the appropriate amount from my council tax and take personal responsibility for the disposal of all the waste and recycling.

Will it ever happen, I doubt it.

My second “observation” (sorry) is about the grass cutting and weeds.

I have chosen to cut the verge outside of my home myself and have been doing so for the last four years. It’s not diffilcult, I enjoy both doing it and the visual end result. My neighbours call it my bowling green and yes it does look good. However someone else is being paid to do it and they are not doing mine (thankfully) and what they are doing is not a very good job. When did Ringway, the current contractor, become gardening experts? Correct me if i’m wrong but I always associated Ringway with electronics and taking care of street lighting and traffic lights. But whatever their history one thing for sure is other than owning the equipment they have not the personnel, expertise or experience to be doing the job that they are currently doing and probably being paid a kings ransom to perform it.

The same applies to the weeds growing out of the kerb, pavement and road which once again I choose to remove and keep tidy outside of my property. Long term it will cost the council to repair all the broken up surfaces because of it but nobody seems to think ahead.

Someone in the local council needs to take responsibility for these issues and take the necessary sensible steps to deal with them. They might actually surprise themselves and even save money.!

Well that’s it, I’ve had my rant and rave, going out now to move all the bins and put my car away.


Chiswell Green, St Albans

The Big Butterfly Count has finished with over 31,500 counts complete and we wait to learn how these important pollinators are faring. But sadly the children could not this year count at Butterfly World which did not reopen this spring.

Butterfly World was a hugely popular visitor attraction that added greatly to the quality of life in St Albans:

• It was an important conservation project for wildlife, in particular for native butterflies

• It added to the education of the 12,000 school children who visited in 2015

• It contributed to the local economy as the second most visited St Albans attraction after the Cathedral.

A huge amount of work has gone into creating a habitat where in just six years twenty-eight butterfly species became established. Huge credit must go to founder, Clive Farrell for his vision and Breheny Construction for saving the project and improving the habitat.

Save Butterfly World hope that a way can be found to save the habitat and reopen this much missed resource.

Although we already have 56,000 signatures on our worldwide petition we need to demonstrate that St Albans and Harpenden wants to see Butterfly World reopen. We already have the support of The Rt Revd Dr Alan Smith Bishop of St Albans, Anne Main St Albans MP. Kathy Ford MEP and Rabbi Debbie Young- Somers and eight city councillors from all parties.

If we have your support please email or write to Save Butterfly World, 25 Valley Rise, Watford WD25 7EY


Chair Save Butterfly World

SIR – We seem to be moving slowly but surely towards the development of the Radlett Airfield site, favouring a residential solution comprising two thousand houses (almost certainly houses and flats).. Much has been said previously regarding the rail freight terminal scheme. So which scheme will pose the biggest negative impact on the environment? The housing scheme will require some two thousand gas, water and foul drainage connections. The freight terminal could be accommodated with single connections serving a central services core. As the existing mains would almost certainly not provide sufficient capacity to support two thousand connections, several mains connections would be required in who knows where positions. Then there is logistics and economics to consider. The freight terminal, being under a single contract with a developer who would have funding in place, could be built in something like three years. The housing solution would require a period of something like ten years so to physically construct two thousand dwellings. No housebuilder is going to commit to financing such a development without the security of end buyers, each with a secured mortgage. How likely is that in the current economic climate?

The solution might be for a consortia of housing associations and possibly the local authority to fund build costs and recover their costs after a long period or time. Or with taxation increase to supplenent funding? The sale of the site is obviously a consideration but is it worth two hundred and fifty million pounds that the housing scheme will cost?

Finally which scheme will require more vehicle deliveries of materials to complete construction and put more vehicles on the roads when completed – the answer is the housing scheme. A properly thought out housing solution is required to solve the housing crisis but this will only be achieved by building smaller, more manageable, developments.


North Riding, Bricket Wood