Your letters to the Herts Ad
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Matt Adams (Herts Ad March 26) has rightly castigated St Albans district council (SADC)’s flawed, costly, badly-constructed Strategic Local Plan (SLP) in connection with building 1,130 homes on Green Belt at Symonshyde by Welwyn and Hatfield Council.
His comments chime with those of the Planning Inspector, who, on November 28 last year rejected the SLP because of its failure with regard to the ‘Duty to Cooperate’ with neighbouring councils.
This plan also proposes building on Green Belt elsewhere in the district, including Redbourn and Harpenden.
As regards the latter, St Albans district council proposes building 500 homes on Green Belt land in North West Harpenden at a site adjoining land where Central Bedfordshire is planning to build 900 homes: so 1,400 in total.
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Worryingly, in his ‘preliminary judgement’ the Planning Inspector also raised concerns about other aspects of the plan: its ‘soundness’.
This has to be investigated separately and the procedure has not yet started.
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The inspector has concerns over the provision of the infrastructure required for the housing development.
Yet more unnecessary costs are likely: SADC is challenging the Planning Inspector’s rejection of the SLP, having applied for a Judicial Review in the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division.
The costs of doing this are substantial and it is not yet clear whether the planning policy committee was consulted on the issue.
The flaws in the plan have been highlighted by many bodies and individuals including Redbourn Parish Council, Harpenden Town Council, the Council for the Protection of Rural England not to mention Redbourn Against Greenbelt Erosion, the Harpenden Green Belt Association and others.
Amongst other failures, SADC did not carry out detailed work on traffic issues, a fact confirmed by Hertfordshire County Council.
We should ask our local councillors where they stand on these issues which will seriously affect our future -and our pockets - including the development of Neighbourhood Plans.
PETER THOMAS Harpenden
I live very close to Redbourn Junior School in Long Cut and I am becoming very concerned about child safety due to parking.
Cars park on either side of the road in Long Cut and Snatchup, leaving just enough space for a car to get through.
Recently I witnessed a PPH school bus having to stop for more than five minues as he couldn’t get through the gap. Now that could have been an emergency vehicle. I have seen several near misses in the past few years with children stepping out. Maybe the teachers could take a look at this and the ones who live in Redbourn could walk to school? That would be a start.
The double yellow lines are a waste of time too. I hope something is done before it’s too late.
NAME & ADDRESS SUPPLIED
I run the HarpendenSky.com campaign to alleviate the impact of Luton air traffic over and around the town.
Pete Hutchison is completely incorrect when he stated (Herts Advertiser April 6): “Despite being aware of the current suffering to St Albans residents, Peter Lilley and Harpenden residents groups are now lobbying Luton Airport to alter the problematic revised flight path even further south west to fly nearer to Verulamium Park and over central St Albans”.
HarpendenSky.com is in fact campaigning to increase the height of air traffic as the noise reduction strategy and not to pass the problem onto St Albans residents or elsewhere.
HarpendenSky.com has agreed a number of increased height-based initiatives with Luton Airport flight operations that are currently being planned.
Pete Hutchison would be well advised to check with campaigners including HarpendenSky.com and others before making such inflammatory statements.
NEIL G MACARTHUR
Again I feel that I have to write a letter to the editor to complain about the S1 Cell Barnes bus route. The Uno bus company does not seem to know what it is doing with regards to operating the St Albans S1 Cell Barnes bus route.
This is the third time they have made major changes to the operation of this bus route. The first change was sending the bus via Harpenden, which caused major problems to the timetable. The secondnd change was more recent, when the route changed back, but now via the Abbey flyer station, a stupid idea as the Abbey station is serviced by a number of different bus routes.
This latest change is now going back to its original route of town centre to Cell Barnes and back. The only problems now is that instead of every half hour they are now every 40 minutes, with a two hour break with no S1 buses at all (I understand it is for the drivers dedicated to the route to have their lunch hour break from 11.22 Cell Barnes to 13.22 Cell Barnes etc.).
Also we still have to put up with having no S1 buses running on a Sunday.
As I have stated in a previous letter to the paper, I realise that the 84a bus goes along Cell Barnes lane, unfortunately there is not enough of them and they do not cover the other side of the S1 route ie the Camp area etc.
I would also like to ask why the local council is allowing the Uno bus company to badly treat its constituents in such a way without asking Uno to get a grip of this bus route once and for all.
If Uno is unable to operate this route effectively, can it not hand it over to a smaller bus company to operate it, similar to one servicing the Cottonmill area?
NAME & ADDRESS SUPPLIED
To all Home-Start Hertfordshire volunteers. Over the past year we have been through some big changes together. Sometimes that must have felt a bit unsettling. But you have stuck with us and carried on supporting your families through thick and thin.
These last few weeks have seen everyone in the public eye talking openly and candidly about parenting. The Duchess of Cambridge spoke so powerfully about her experiences at the launch of Out of the Blue (obviously named after our perinatal programme!). Rio Ferdinand opened up on BBC1 about how he drew strength from others when he was widowed with three young children.
In both cases, the thing that made the difference was someone being there. For so many families, that difference is YOU.
This week every time I listened to the radio - watched TV or read a paper I was reminded that Home-Start, because of YOU, makes a difference.
At Home-Start we know how wonderful, terrifying, uplifting, heart-breaking, tiring, invigorating and confusing being a parent can be. So from all of us here, in case we haven’t said it recently, thank you!
The staff and trustees of Home-Start in Hertfordshire
”Every Kingdom, divided against itself, will be ruined” (Matthew 12, 25).This seems most appropriate as the UK invokes Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon, to leave the European Union, on the basis of a 52:48 result, based in turn on only 72 per cent of the total electorate (this narrows to a 37.4:35.6 result, based on the total electorate).
If that does not describe our “(United) Kingdom, divided against itself”, then I don’t know what does! Worse still, the outcome might have been decided - after recounts - by a single vote? As this is how MP’s are chosen, it is not surprising that political parties have not questioned the significance of the narrow margin. “The people have spoken”, albeit with forked tongue.
The Referendum was an opportunity to unite the nation but politicians at all levels took up opposing positions - as they do in Parliament.
The main issue appears to have been immigration but no effort was made to discuss what degree of consensus could be agreed.
For instance, could we accept free movement of people within the EC but tighten control over others from elsewhere in the world - what are the relative numbers for the two categories?
EU citizens should eventually return home: those from elsewhere are unlikely to do so. Permission to work and payment of benefits could have been limited specific issues to be negotiated.
On reflection, it seems that our current upheaval is just party political manoeuvring to save the Conservatives - and also Labour - from attack by UKIP.
Unfortunately, due to astute targeting by UKIP, it went wrong and no-one has the guts to admit it! [Regarding Scotland, Westminster looks like the home of hypocrisy, not democracy.]
JIM NAISBITT St Albans
I would like to counter Mr Walker’s recent remarks about some of St Albans’ pubs in his letter entitled ‘Too many pubs?’
St Albans has had a long history of pubs and latterly inns along the main trade routes that run through the city.
The three pubs along Sopwell Lane and the three in the area bordered by Terrace Lane, London Road and Holywell Hill came about to service the trade coming up from London. Sopwell Lane was once the main route into St Albans via the Old London Road from London Colney. That provided an easier approach compared to the steep Holywell Hill.
Their importance was to the tradesman and their horses to provide refreshment and a place to rest before carrying on their journey.
Today the cluster of pubs including the Hare and Hounds, White Lion, Goat, White Hart Tap, Beehive and Garibaldi, all within a few paces of each other, provide a place to meet and socialise. Each has their own character and offerings of a range of ales and food.
The pubs, slightly away from the main city centre, are ideal places for both the local community and visitors from further afield who can enjoy a safe and friendly drinking environment.
Whilst realising that some people prefer to drink at home, we also should celebrate and support our local pubs. The quiet roads and moderate inclines around Sopwell Lane make for an easy walk. Give the pubs a try – you are bound to be pleasantly surprised.
Pubs Preservation Officer, South Hertfordshire Branch, Campaign for Real Ale
The St Albans branch of the Royal National Lifeboat Association would like to thank everybody who supported our most successful quiz and fish and chip supper on Saturday March 4. A profit of more than £1,000 was made.
Please support us again next year when hopefully the event will be staged on March 3 2018.
DAWN WHEELER Secretary, RNLI St Albans