Your letters to the Herts Ad...
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We have not been consulted by St Albans district council with regards to their massive development right on the doorstep of our village, bearing in mind Pancake Lane is just a quarter of a mile from the site.
Unfortunately we come under the Borough of Dacorum, so therefore they did not legally have to contact us, but one would have thought it would be common decency to notify all residents being in such close proximity to the development.
We attended the east of Hemel public consultation meeting organised by the Crown Estate at Leverstock Green Church Hall in October. It was not satisfactory.
Questions such as ‘Where are the two traveller sites going to be located?’ received this reply from one of the consultants: ‘We do not know at the moment’.
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Various other questions about infrastructure, such as schools, hospital etc, they also did not know the answers to.
We would like to put on record our contempt and disgust for such a massive plan for development of the agricultural land around Leverstock Green village, approximately 2,500 homes up to 2031. Spencer Park is going to have another 900 houses in phase 1 and 2. Maylands Industrial Area is going to have nother 475 units. Then there is the Marchmont Farm development. Where is all the traffic going to go on our clogged roads around Hemel and St Albans?
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We are not NIMBYs, but you have to put your infrastructure in first, not blunder on in the hope that this development will sort itself out.
The development is going to impact and ruin this village in several ways: we have no GP surgery in the village; there is no large hospital to cope with the volume of people who will move into the area - I would like to compliment the staff of Hemel Hempstead Hospital for the wonderful work they do coping with the volumes of people they have to deal with, but it is only open from 8am until 8pm each day, and we need a fully operational hospital with 24/7 accident and emergency; we are also having to absorb two travellers sites of 30 pitches; we hope that the secondary school and primary school that are scheduled to be built will materialise, otherwise it will mean more traffic to take the pupils further afield to school.
G HOULDCROFT A FOX
Pancake Lane, Leverstock Green
I am daughter of Jewish refugees who came to this country in the late 1930s, having been stripped of their German citizenship by Hitler’s government. Now, another ‘alt-right’ government, on a deliberate misreading of the 2015 Referendum Act, which stated that any outcome should be regarded as advisory rather than mandatory, is about to strip me of my current EU citizenship.
I can personally attest to the rise in nastiness and xenophobia, referenced by several of your correspondents post 23rd of June. Let one incident suffice. I board the 366 bus from Harpenden. Having a smattering of Polish, I greet the lady bus driver in her own language. I go to find a seat, only to meet the glare of a fellow passenger.
‘Where do you come from?’ she demands hostily.
‘Welwyn Garden City,’ I reply. ‘Where do you come from?’
The last time I faced such intrusive and racially prejudicial remarks was when I was seven, and a fellow pupil called me a ‘dirty Jew’. Smug Brexiteers may gloat that ‘we are taking our country back’. My question: ‘where the hell to?’
CAROL HEDGES Coldharbour Lane, Harpenden
The excellent piece by the Civic Society “Please Keep Planting“ (November 10) reminded us and our council about the importance of trees in our city.
The local effort by the Friends of Victoria Playing Field (FVPF) to instigate new plantings was mentioned.
I would like to add some “ flesh” to those words.
The Friends established a planting plan for the field, based on the knowledge that species of trees have different life spans. Replanting has to take this into account in preserving the landscape. Age, vandalism and maintenance are all factors.
Since 2003, 71 trees have been planted, with differing funding sources including the council. Some trees have been planted by their families as memorials to people who lived in the area .
This is a solid voluntary achievement by the Friends and the local community, who are participating in ensuring a continuing life for the treescape in this valuable public space.
Vice President FVPF
Fishpool Street, St Albans
A recent Herts Advertiser report headlined: “No chance of a reprieve for Butterfly World as owners refuse to re-open”. However, for the Save Butterfly World campaign and its more than 60,000 supporters, this could be a long-awaited opportunity to engage in constructive discussions with the site owners.
Save Butterfly World has never expected Breheny Construction to reopen Butterfly World exactly as it was before. Our aim is to open a new charity-based all year-round facility. Our charity Butterfly World 2.0 is already registered, and the site already benefits from carefully developed habitats, such as the Miriam Rothschild Meadow and other spaces now loved by British Butterflies.
The spokesperson from Breheny Civil Engineering noted that “people haven’t been knocking on the door offering money for the site” and asked “What happens from here? There are no grand plans”. This surely present us with a real opportunity. We have taken advice and are confident that using the experience in our group, crowdfunding opportunities, our charitable status, and the huge local support we enjoy, we could raise sufficient funds to pay a fair price for the land and cover the running costs for the first two years.
We would like to engage in serious discussions with Breheny to establish a way forward. We hope to build on their vision and commitment in establishing Butterfly World and provide the financial return they are seeking. We hope to reopen this important wildlife habitat with new and expanded facilities for the public.
Our Hertfordshire backs Butterfly World statement says “Huge credit must go to founder, Clive Farrell for his vision, and Breheny Construction for saving the project and improving the habitat” and we meant it. It was a brave thing to do. We are ready to meet with Breheny Civil Engineering and hope they can share our enthusiasm for finding a way forward that all parties can support.
So the work continues. But can I please again take this opportunity to ask if you could do more to help us. We need more members, a larger committee and volunteers to assist with both the admin and at events. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help.
Chair of Save Butterfly World
It was really heartlifting to read about Lisa Dance’s efforts to make sure that the Watford General nurses did not miss out on their Christmas bash. That woman deserves a medal.
But can anybody enlighten me as to how some outfit that organises parties and such like actually go BUST!
What is there involved to go bust- a few balloons, party poppers going off in the box? Michelle in Coronation Street has had all of her parties go west on her and I don’t see her suffering.
Surely all the expense involved - £1,600 worth is to be spent with the venue where the party was to be held - The Noke Hotel, why would they decline to comment I wonder?
Or did the party organiser pay him/herself a whacking great fee straight off the top and then run out of wonga to meet actual costs?
Any ideas out there?
Jennings Road, St Albans
With regard to reversing out of drives, and further to Jon Breen’s letter in the November 24 edition, it is as well to be reminded of the provisions of the Highway Code.
201: Do not reverse from a side road into a main road. When using a driveway, reverse in and drive out if you can.
202: Look carefully before you start reversing. You should use all your mirrors, check the ‘blind spot’ behind you (the part of the road you cannot see easily in the mirrors), check there are no pedestrians (particularly children), cyclists, other road users or obstructions in the road behind you.
Reverse slowly while checking all around, looking mainly through the rear window, being aware that the front of your vehicle will swing out as you turn. Get someone to guide you if you cannot see clearly.
203 - You MUST NOT reverse your vehicle further than necessary.
Whilst, as said, reversing out of a drive is not illegal, it is highly advisable if possible not to do so, as there is no guarantee that prosecution for not exhibiting an adequate degree of care will not follow in failing to reasonably avoid an accident.
Finally, take a moment to imagine the effect on all parties, both victims, perpetrators and their families, of any such event.
Doesn’t bear thinking about, does it?
Park Street Lane, Park Street
This is in response to Jon Breen’s letter in last week’s edition about cars reversing out of their driveway.
I too was knocked down just over two years ago by a car reversing out of the driveway on Hatfield Road. I was injured by having a dislocated and badly broken wrist and had severe bruising and feel that my life has never been the same since.
The person involved stated that it was dangerous to back in, in fact as we know it is far more dangerous to back out.
The police didn’t charge her as they said it wasn’t done maliciously but she was still guilty of driving without due care and attention.
As Jon Breen stated reversing out of a driveway should be made illegal.
Could I just add that in nearly 50 years living on the Hatfield Road we have never backed out onto the road.
PAM RIDDICK Hatfield Road, St Albans
It was interesting to read the comments made by N Hawkins last week about the menace of jaywalkers. This combined with a recent analysis from this paper’s regular contributor Barry ‘Cashin The Attic’ regarding drivers who fail to indicate at junctions got me thinking along similar lines.
My gripe is partly drivers failing to indicate, but also those who, for reasons unknown, do not appear to understand UK road traffic laws when approaching a roundabout.
The Highway Code (Rule 185) clearly states road users should “give priority to traffic approaching from your right, unless directed otherwise by signs, road markings or traffic lights”.
I’ve been driving now for around 20 years and over the years this Rule seems to be diminishing.
On a regular basis I will be circulating a roundabout only for an approaching driver to accelerate, or continue at the same speed onto the roundabout, rather than giving way.
I notice they often look to their right so they can’t complain not seeing me.
The reason for this behaviour is plain, simple laziness. It clearly takes a lot more effort for a driver to steadily apply the breaks (and clutch in a manual transmission vehicle), than it does to simply whack their foot on the accelerator and ‘chance’ it, thereby forcing drivers with the right of way to swerve or brake suddenly.
Likewise drivers who fail to indicate are again just downright lazy. The purpose of indicating is purely for the benefit of other drivers. Therefore many drivers decide not to indicate as it obviously takes great effort to raise their wrist a few inches and knock the indicator lever up or down. Also since the driver in question is gaining no benefit personally from indicating, they selfishly cannot be bothered to assist their fellow motorists. We all have to share the same roadspace, so please, readers, show some consideration. You know who you are!
Colney Heath Lane, St Albans
Can anyone explain why some people think it is acceptable to make enough noise to cover miles?
On Sunday evening I was unable to hear my TV due to a racket being blasted across the area, disturbing my peaceful enjoyment and probably another 400 households in the process.
I have no problems with people having a party and enjoying themselves, but please keep it in your own home and have some consideration for other people.
Bedmond Lane, St Albans
On a weekly basis I can see that the ‘Jakeman’ name crops up in your court reports. Seeing as they’re so popular with the local courts and law enforcement, have they not earned the right to their own column in your paper yet? How come we’ve not locked them up yet and thrown away the key?
NAME & ADDRESS SUPPLIED
Delays in the proposed fourth Harpenden area secondary school featured in last week’s edition as HCC’s heavily promoted school trust seems to have lost six months in securing what should have been automatic EFA funding.
During that delay a ‘last minute’ call for unspecified but doubtless substantial funding (Herts Ad April 21) rushed through HCC Cabinet under emergency procedures without any debate in front of the public. Perhaps that decision was not so urgent after all. Little wonder then at cries of “ineptitude” in the general direction of HCC and County Councillor David Williams (portfolio responsibility for education).
New to the project plan is an Academies Act Section 10 Consultation that allows public consultation. Generally expected before a planning application, this is a requirement before a final EFA decision on any new school.
Perhaps it is no coincidence that residents’ group RSRP drew this requirement to the trust’s attention earlier this year.
In providing this first opportunity for local voices to be heard the trust has rightfully recognised that residents are a necessary part of the process, albeit after over six years of exclusion.
Sadly the same cannot be said of HCC who concealed their project for three years before presenting a ‘done deal’ in 2013, justified on preliminary analysis alone. Further analysis, finally published in February 2015, included a geographical need analysis for our wide school planning area: In Harpenden town where 570 school places already exist, the highest demand forecast is just 500. HCC’s response? A refusal to take questions until a planning application is submitted.
Step forward the (District) Local Plan. Having repeatedly pointed SADC at their (HCC) forecasts, after six years HCC turned up to present their analysis in September - after the SLP went for inspection but in time to a request an as-yet unpurchased site be included in the DLP.
Surprisingly no reference to forecasts or pupil locations was made for this or numerous requested new primary school sites.
Is it any surprise when their latest forecasts show peak demand has fallen nearly 10 per cent in two years and that demand for extra secondary places falls away to effectively nil in a few years? As you rightly note the plan must satisfy long term need but that is not present according to HCC.
Without any justification, evidence of demand location, or consideration of how it will safeguard the interests of pupils in the villages outside Harpenden, the DLP simply identifies a site that HCC has requested.
Those pupils already suffer with their applications and would do again if the trust or HCC were to subsequently reduce secondary capacity (through a closure) in the face of their own forecast of unsustainable excess in (say) 10 years.
DAVID CAIRNS Chair – Right School Right Place
Dismayed as I am in noticing the increasing indifference to the true meaning of the Christmas festival I decided to conduct a survey of the availability of the choice of proper Christmas cards in the four major stores in Harpenden.
The grand total was THREE of which two were available in Waitrose. Thank goodness for the charity shops where many offer a wide choice.
MIKE UPSON Overstone Road, Harpenden