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I have to say that I was concerned from the start about the possibility of an ulterior motive when HCC proposed, on the immediate exclusion of all other possible and more appropriate sites, a new school on the side of a steep hill in an important Green Belt area which currently forms a buffer zone between Wheathampstead and Harpenden, on which until recently cattle contentedly grazed and which is alongside an already busy road with well documented traffic problems.
When the cows disappeared and a new boundary was established by fencing off an area alongside most of Common Lane and Mackerye End Lane which we understand has been retained by the owners of the land, it certainly raised further concerns that some deal might have been done to allow the owners the opportunity to build houses on their retained strip once the school had been built.
Whether or not this is the case, given the fact that the demand for school places is being revised and that the originally projected figures have been accepted as inaccurate, one wonders what purpose there is in spending millions of pounds of HCC funds on a school that may not be needed and is, in any case, on a particularly inappropriate and expensive site.
In days when social care seems a major priority would not HCC be better reallocating this amount to another budget?
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Of course the school may be designed to cater for the thousands of houses that might be built in North Harpenden by Cooters End Lane, but then it would be in the wrong place, and there are even some of us who suspect that the intention might be to move the pupils from Sir John Lawes to the new school at Batford and realise large sums by redeveloping the Harpenden site as housing.
But then perhaps I am just another troublemaking cynic!
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ADRIAN STEPHENSON Harpenden
Dr Leigh (Letters May 18) hates the EU and hates capitalism, which together have brought us untold peace and prosperity over the past 40 or 50 years, so he misses the real target, the undermining of our welfare system by the Conservatives. Home grown in the UK, nothing to do with the EU.
The Single Market protects our exports to the EU, against those populists who would keep us out, and so protects everyone working in an exporting company. Membership of the Single Market is also vital for everyone who works in London’s financial services, who are not part of the “rich and powerful”.
We do need change, to stand up to the prospect of a hard Brexit, to put more of our taxes into schools and hospitals, and to challenge the Conservative Party, with its fetish for cutting ever more taxes for the rich.
But we do not need change based on the outdated, 1950s slogans of the Labour Party.
GEOFF WALKER Tennyson Road, Harpenden
I note from her election leaflet that Anne Main, the Conservative Party candidate, believes that Theresa May will provide the strong and stable leadership this country needs.
Good for her. I, along with the thousands of adults (and children) who attended December 2015’s excellent pantomime Peter Pan at the Alban Arena, believe in fairies. At least, we all clapped our hands and shouted at the right moment.
Such a fact-free, evidence-free assertion from Mrs Main isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.
Look at Theresa May’s achievements in her time as Home Secretary and Prime Minister. Has she actually achieved anything? Certainly not the reduction in immigration to the tens of thousands she’s repeatedly promised.
Looking at Mrs Main’s record doesn’t fill me with confidence as to the correctness of her beliefs either.
She was wrong on Brexit. She was wrong on same sex marriage. She was wrong in thinking she could spend taxpayers’ money with gay abandon on a second home in St Albans (in 2006-07 she claimed £22,110, the maximum permitted at the time; oddly, since the MPs’ expenses scandal, she’s claimed nothing).
She’s wrong in thinking that dog poo is an issue that MPs should spend time on, when there are so many other serious issues facing the country at this time.
But what really concerns me is the unthinking use of soundbites across the media as a substitute for proper political debate.
Your readers will be aware, not only of “strong and stable leadership” repeated ad nauseam, but also “coalition of chaos”, “best possible trade deal”, “Brexit means Brexit”, “take back control”, and “£350m a week … for the NHS.” All of which are meaningless and promise precisely nothing.
I recall that someone, talking about their personal struggle, once said: “The receptivity of the masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan.”
We need to insist that those who wish to hold political power and exercise it on our behalf demonstrate that they are worthy of that responsibility.
They need to debate the issues, rather than throwing empty slogans around.
The electorate of St Albans is more intelligent and sophisticated than that.
TONY CROOK Fishpool Street, St Albans
This is a ridiculous proposal! I see no benefit to this work except to satisfy laziness once complete and a few months of jobs for workmen, why not use that money/jobs to fix St Albans potholes instead?
This will be seen as the scar of Marshalswick and probably reduce property value.
Over the years I have seen many different bird species living in this park including ones most people haven’t heard of such as nuthatches and tree creepers!
I have also seen two different types of owls, three types of woodpecker, sparrow hawks, many of the usuals and some more unusual, also roe deer, foxes, not to mention many others I haven’t yet seen. It is also worth bearing in mind countless different insect species which, with their reduction in number would directly affect the survival options for all the above.
This cannot be another victim of mindless unnecessary progression for the sake of satisfying someone’s ambitions of a more efficient city.
It is a communal escape for people of all ages to meet, dogs to interact, cubs and scouts to learn, and children to play in the woods and on the field.
Worst of all, one more generation away with two separate parks on either side of a road, this will be seen as ‘far less valuable’ than it is now.
At that point there will be far less people willing to stand and defend it and as prime real estate there will be many more fat cats ready to make an extra buck. Goodbye The Wick! No thanks!
DAN KRAFT By email
I wonder if it’s possible to trace through your columns descendants of the above, my grandfather, whom I think came from Fleetville and had lived at Carlisle Cottages.
We think he had worked in a greengrocer’s shop there and married the owner’s daughter, my grandmother Amy Beatrice Robinson. Arthur was killed in action in the First World War aged 22 and my mother Amy Beatrice Reynolds of St.Albans and then Watford after marrying my father, was only a few months old then.
My aunt Joyce Richards was two and a half at the time but had no memory of her father. They all lived at 13 Portland Street, St.Albans. Joyce’s daughter, my cousin Jane, and I have researched the family as far as we can and also contacted the Forces War Records and ascertained that Arthur Newland’s grave is at Canada Farm, Belgium. He had served as a gunner in the Royal Horse Artillery, Battalion “Z” Battery.
On my grandmother’s side, we do not know of any other living descendants. It seems she had never talked about Arthur and none of the family knew if she had received his British War Medal.
Of course it was not until much, much later that Jane and I became curious about the grandfather we had never known and to make contact with his family members many generations down the line would be emotionally fulfilling.
We so wish we knew what he looked like and whom in our families resembles him.
In a few weeks’ time Jane and I with our husbands are travelling to Belgium to visit the grave on July 25, the 100th anniversary of his death.
We are hoping to get permission from the War Graves authorities to leave two ceramic red poppies on wires next to the gravestone.
If anyone can help us in our quest, please contact myself Penny Dooley on 016973 42446/07917 261 455 or on email email@example.com.
PENNY DOOLEY By email
I was very surprised to see in a Labour Party election communication leaflet, that Kerry Pollard “pledges to you... a firm commitment that, before any decision is made on Brexit, the British people decide in a further referendum whether to accept or not”.
I’m fully in favour of that, but I’ve never heard that it is Labour Party policy!
So how can this pledge be made? The only party arguing for that are the Liberal Democrats. Clearly Labour in St Albans are scared of the Lib Dems and are trying to tempt away Lib Dem supporters. Making bogus pledges is not the way to do it.
DAVID SILVERMAN By email
Is the Herts Ad a one-party paper? Column inches given to the Lib Dems were greater than any of the other parties, though the Labour and Green Party space posted reasonable comments about the candidate and party.
The Conservatives were given the smallest space and most of what was included was totally negative.
The paper then goes on to denigrate Julian Daly regarding his reasons for resigning as district council leader, hinting at this in the reported article then being less than decent in the Comment on the letters page.
Julian has worked exceptionally hard while being leader and before that.
His financial skills have helped the officers of council, supporting them in ensuring that the budget was at workable levels.
His mode of leadership has been far from the dictatorial that your Comment stated.
He has strived for consensus as much as possible, often accepting amendments from other groups when they were workable and promising to look into matters that might be possible ( something unheard of when the Lib Dems led the council)
During the work on the SLP, meetings would always start with opportunities for questions and answers from public and developers.
When the final draft was presented to the council it had cross party support.
To imply that he has resigned for less than decent reasons is totally unfair!
CLLR GILL CLARK
Tudor Road, Wheathampstead