Your letters to the Herts Ad...
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I am writing on behalf of seniors in Harpenden who are very concerned about the possible closure of the pharmacy in Southdown, Harpenden as a result of government cuts. The proposed funding cuts apply to pharmacies throughout England that are less than one mile from the nearest alternative pharmacy.
It is likely that the Southdown pharmacy will close as a result, although it is a lifeline for local seniors who use it for advice as well as for prescriptions. It is possible to park free of charge in Southdown, and many local seniors are wary of driving into Harpenden where parking is difficult. Many seniors have repeat prescriptions which they can arrange without visiting their GP, and they find the Southdown pharmacy very helpful.
The government is encouraging people to use their local pharmacy for advice and simple tests to relive the pressure on GPs. At the same time it is seeking to cut funding to pharmacies in order to save costs.
We would like to see some flexibility in the interpretation of the 1-mile rule so that Southdown would be able to retain its local pharmacy. We have spoken to local and county councillors about this as well as writing to Peter Lilley. If your readers are able to support our case in any way, we would be very grateful.
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Harpenden Seniors Forum
Last Thursday evening my wife and I went to St Pancras for the train to Harpenden. The area by the ticket barriers was packed. Hundreds of angry and confused people and nobody from Thameslink to help.
A policeman made announcements over a loud hailer but it was too feeble and nobody could hear. Chaos and no trains.
We went to Euston and took the train to Hemel Hempstead then a £25 taxi to Harpenden station car park. It was very dangerous with unfamiliar taxi drivers not seeing the “No Entry” sign which is overdue for repainting.
When will this madness stop?
STEVE GLEDHILL Cravells Road, Harpenden
I’m putting pen to paper about Barry Cashin. I want to like him, but it’s proving difficult, impossible even.
His constant nit-picking and complaints via your letters pages and social media really get my goat. He’s always determined the get the upper hand and the last laugh with his sarcasm and “witty” put-downs.
For three weeks a year we have a lovely Christmas market. This is unfortunately a complete let down. Homebase sheds, rip-off p[rices, horrible children grabbing this and that. Don’t forget the dig at mums and children Barry, your pet hate.
Obviously the letters about him the previous week hit a rather large and particularly raw nerve, prompting two offerings this week! RACHEL WREN
Prospect Road, St Albans
Oh my God - two circumlocutory Barry Cashin letters in the same week! On top of all the local traffic congestion aggro and parking nightmares afflicting your readers, it’s more than flesh and blood can stand – possibly a signal to move away.
Ridgewood Drive, Harpenden
James Singler asked two questions relating to muntjac deer in your November 17 edition.
In my opinion the deer are quite common over the district; they can be seen in many of our woods and commons. I have even spotted one on our local allotment.
They are solitary deer- unlike some which like to be in a herd.
Being quite small they can go unnoticed in the undergrowth, so James may well have gone past a few without realising. Their camouflage is very effective too.
The second answer is - no they are not a protected species.
CLLR SUE FEATHERSTONE
Mount Pleasant Lane, Bricket Wood
With regards to the proposed Harpenden sports, arts and leisure centre, The Harpenden Society has long argued that we need better arts and leisure facilities in the town and that Rothamsted Park needed a nearby café and toilets. We also support the need to improve Harpenden Town FC’s pitch, their club house and the surrounding area.
We therefore enthusiastically welcomed the district council’s proposal to create a new sports, arts and leisure complex on the sites of the existing pool and sports centre. In September and October we held two public meetings, one addressed by leaders of many of the town’s sports clubs and the other by leaders of many of the town’s arts organisations, to gather their views and hear about the council’s plans. Councillor Annie Brewster, who spoke at both the meetings, welcomed the many points raised and assured us they would be very useful in informing the design of the centre.
Subsequently several members of our committee have participated in the ‘charette’ process, in which ideas from interested Harpenden ‘stakeholders’ have been generated and included in the mix which eventually will become the design plan. This has not been easy as the wish list far exceeds the financial constraints and there are inevitably conflicting views but I believe that it has been a genuine attempt at open and creative consultation by the council. At the feedback session on Wednesday November 16, we were able to see emerging an overall picture of what the new facilities might be like and how the overall site could connect with the rest of Harpenden and indeed become a significantly enhanced social and activity hub for the town.
There are many issues still to be resolved and consultation to be done, however the Harpenden Society, like I believe the vast majority of those who attended Wednesday’s meeting, are fully supportive of the overall plan and we will do all we can to help it to be delivered.
Chairman, The Harpenden Society
In response to the letter from RF Collins in the November 17 edition I am unsure what Mrs Hoskins, a previous correspondent he or she references, would say to UK nationals deported from post-Brexit Europe despite prior unilateral guarantees given by the UK to EU citizens living here.
However, I know I would encourage them to take pride in the fact that the UK at least had done the right thing by people who came to this country entirely lawfully and in many cases will have been here for some years, establishing businesses, careers and strong emotional times to the UK.
I appreciate this may be small comfort in the short term, but over time I believe that as people who are likely to have a broader than average world view they will appreciate that Britain at least did not sink so low as to use living breathing human beings as weapons in some nauseating game of chicken - a game which RF Collins seeks to flatter as “negotiations”.
For the sake of brevity I shall not cover the fundamental practical flaws that exist in the approach RF Collins is implicitly proposing, because although they are many, having presented the moral argument against, they should be regarded as essentially irrelevant.
I will though close with the observation that the constant bleat of the Brexiteers that their desire for Britain to “take control of its borders” was not motivated by xenophobia or incipient racism, is somewhat undermined by their apparent willingness to use innocent people from other countries as a form of political human shield. But then as we have seen over the last few months, consistency was never their strongest point!
The trains to and from London from St Albans have been an absolute disgrace for two weeks. They have been as bad as I ever remember. Will you please publicise this and put pressure on both Govia, Thameslink and the local MP to do something. People moan about Southern Rail, but Thameslink is getting just as bad. I’ve never been moved to contact you before, but for the fourth time in two weeks I’ve been stuck for two hours on my train. It should take 20 minutes. It’s a national disgrace that needs press coverage. Grrrhhhh.
Without wishing to add to the fervent exchange of views already rife amongst the pages of Your Opinions, I would like to express my concerns over road use generally and the consideration that is vital (literally) when sharing our city’s crowded streets.
I could of course cite examples of inconsiderate behaviour by every group of road users, but I will mention only one for the sake of brevity.
It seems like a badge of honour amongst some pedestrians to cross a road nonchalantly when they do not have the right of way, despite approaching motor traffic. And yet if it is not deliberate, then things are even worse. The complete ignorance of one’s immediate surroundings (and what damage a car can do if it is not able to brake in time) is a worrying trend, not helped by the ubiquitous technology that creates a delusional bubble of invulnerability around the head of every texter/gamer/listener.
This is not intended as a rant to illicit angry responses from pedestrians raging against deplorable driving. As with every group of road users, there are good and bad practitioners, and it is fortunate that the former outnumber the latter. The introduction to the oft-mentioned Highway Code states that “all road users” should be “considerate towards each other”. And consideration of others is something that should extend way beyond our transport network.
However, when witnessing first-hand the maelstrom of activity outside the St Albans City railway station every morning and evening, I fear for a convergence of the twain between two careless road users (e.g. one cyclist and one motorist). I sincerely hope that planners for the new station have devised a way to minimise the risk of serious accident in this traffic hotspot.
Runcie Close, St Albans
A good friend who is a leading light in our parish for Neighborhood Watch was knocked down by an car driver reversing out of thier driveway on King Harry Lane last Saturday.
Car parking is an emotive subject. There are two main aspects: (1) parallel/street parking or parking in car parks, (2) parking in driveways.
(1) Many modern cars have ‘Parking Assist’. For drivers who don’t have this luxury, please note that the technology reverses cars into the space as this is the easiest way to park and the safest way to drive out in a car park. Next time you park your car, try backing in, it is easier to manoeuvre into the space and far easier and safer to drive out.
(2) Many people drive into their driveway and back out. Whilst backing out is not illegal, under Rule 201 of the Highway Code it is recommended that you back into a driveway and drive out forward. If you have an accident backing out, the Police can charge you with driving without due care and attention and use the recommendation of the Highway Code as a reason.
When a driver reverses out of a drive, he/she is always taking an unacceptable risk - there are too many blind spots. On the other hand, reversing IN can be done when you are absolutely certain it is safe to do so - hence the advice.
Driving out means you have more opportunity to see a small child - safety first - back in/drive out.
Reversing out of a driveway should be made illegal, like using a phone, the driver is not in full control.
Park Street Lane, St Albans
On November 14 I visited my father’s 77-year-old friend with an evening meal which my dad has made for him over the last year, as he been getting over an operation.
I was shocked to find him shouting for help. He had fallen on to the floor between the toilet and front door, and had been unable to get up. He was stuck for three hours until I visited him and heard his plight for help.
During that time not one person in the flats where he lives heard his crying for help. I could not lift him, as I too had back trouble. The 999 control room said he was not a priority.
I would like to say a big thank you to paramedics Mary and Rachel and two police officers who helped.
So please, if you know someone who is elderly, please check on them this winter as the cold weather moves in....
ROBERT THOMSON By email
I was pleased to see that Sustainable St Albans Week is back again this year and it’s impressive to see over 100 events organised up until Novembe 26r. “St Albans” of course refers to the whole district - including Harpenden - it’s not just something for the “Snorbens” people down the road, I hope the name isn’t putting Harpenden people off.
I’m particularly pleased to see that one of the signature events of the whole week is happening in our Park Hall this Friday. Phil Williams is a nationally known speaker and it’s a real coup that we have him in Harpenden.
JONATHAN FLOWERS Harpenden