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Keep the Harpenden economy alive! Do people realise how the local economy in Harpenden and villages is dependent on the city of London doing well?

Like it or not, a lot of people living in and around Harpenden work in the city. Harpenden’s local economy does well as a result.

Builders, painters, decorators, gardeners, hairdressers, nail technicians, bars and restaurants, private swimming teachers, cleaners… all paid for by money coming up the Thameslink. If it runs, of course.

Already, there is some anecdotal evidence to suggest that the local economy (building trade) is slowing down, as local people are worried about the future, and do not want to make big financial decisions.

That will only get worse if people lose jobs to the continent. Possibly resulting in more people needing the food banks.

Theresa May is quoted regularly as saying that the negotiations on leaving the EU are the most “challenging” in her lifetime.

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Why then, does the Tory propaganda machine continue repeat that “every vote for Theresa May strengthens her hand”? (I see this appear a few times daily on my Facebook account, any other social media users get this?) Should we not vote for an opposition, and for a final say of what she comes back home with instead? We should be the boss!

The Lib Dems are pledging a final say over the deal, by way of a second referendum. That makes a lot of sense.

It seems a gamble too far to put all your family’s livelihood, and the future of this lovely area, in one basket. Time to vote for a credible opposition – Lib Dems.



We all love Marshalswick Wick for the peace and relaxation it gives us every day.

We moved to Sandpit Lane 11 years ago with our three children. Although we could only afford a house with a tiny garden, we chose it because The Wick was up the road and was effectively our big garden.

We immediately bought a golden retriever puppy and our family became six now as well as my grandparents who came to stay have loved every minute of the wonderful natural wood.

One minute we are on bear hunts, the next playing hide and seek and then kicking my footballs and throwing frisbee. Squeals of laughter resound around this ancient forest.

My parents are keen gardeners and loved watching the wonderful changes in the colours, chatting to people and making friends whilst taking a breather sitting in the sun on the benches with locals who they had never met before.

They is such a feeling of joy and peace, such happy memories of an extended family growing up together.

That was 11 years ago. My mum is now 76 and every time she visits us now (with my children 14,17 and 19 now, and our beloved dog still going strong at 11 years old), she says ‘Can we go for a walk in The Wick and do you remember how much dad loved playing football and frisbee with the kids?

Dad is no longer with us, but I fear any change to our ancient wood now could be the thin edge of the wedge. A path today, a road tomorrow, where will it end?

Humans like my dad and all of us sadly have pass on, let’s make sure The Wick never does.

Let’s keep it for our grandchildren and their children. It holds special memories for every generation. Let’s keep it that way in the natural way.

The wildlife in The Wick should be left undisturbed. If you take down trees and add wide paths you are affecting the numbers of birds and their habitats.

The Wick is essentially owned by the local people and the people should decide. No through road. No felling of trees. Leave it alone.

It’s our own special secret garden please don’t change it we love the natural feel just as it is.


When are Countryside Management going to get the message that their plans to sanitise, brutalise and vandalise The Wick are not welcome ?

Back in 2011 the CM launched their action plan for 2011-2016. In it the ‘ride’ they proposed through the centre of The Wick was to be 10-15 metres wide!

I quote: “Trees on either side of the ride are to be removed to create an open width of 10-15 metres...”

This is not a ‘ride’. It’s a full blown two-way road wider than Marshal’s Drive. Are we to be thankful that their ‘path’ is now a cool 3.5 metres wide? That’s as wide as a country lane.

Call it whatever you want - path, vehicle access, ride, drive - it is technically a road. It is a properly excavated and metalled road suitable for vehicles.

The plans in 2011 were abandoned due to pressure. The message was as clear then as it is now. No road through The Wick. It is an absurd idea.

My second point pertains to the poor sacrificial trees ear-marked for destruction for whatever reason the CM can find - they are not native, they are colonising, they are invasive...

The Woodland Trust in 2008 released a document and I would like to quote from it in defence of the sycamore in the hope that no more of these glorious trees are sacrificed for being invasive. They have not, as CM would have us believe, taken over The Wick.

They have not invaded to the detriment of other species and, no, The Wick is not about to consist of only sycamore .

I quote: “Evidence suggests that sycamore does not colonise undisturbed woodland, even where woodland is surrounded with old established trees that have been producing seed for many years.

“Once thought as having little conservation value, evidence suggests that sycamore can provide important wildlife habitat and has been shown to support a number of red data book species . The base rich bark of sycamore is valuable for epiphites, including communities of Lobarion lichens.

“Sycamore’s reputation as an invasive non-native tree of limited conservation value seems ill-founded...

“Based on the available evidence sycamore should not be regarded as a threat to undisturbed woodland and may provide an important resource for nature conservation.”

I could go on but I think the message is clear - leave well alone and people and wildlife will all benefit .

In a few weeks time the fate of The Wick will be discussed around a table by the very people who wrote and agreed the GAP report in the first place - the council, the Countryside Management and the Friends Of The Wick.

Shouldn’t there be a public meeting - a debate - a forum , and a good old show of hands - a vote?

TOM BROOK By email

I would like to make clear to your readers that I was unable to attend the Beaumont School hustings recently because of a prior engagement.

As Chair of Governors at a St Albans secondary school I was chairing the interview panel to appoint a new deputy head teacher.

This explains why, as you pointed out in your article, I was unable to attend and had to reluctantly decline the invitation.

KERRY POLLARD Watling Street, St Albans

Anyone who reads my letters in this wonderful newspaper will know that I have a pathological distaste for supermarkets and how they’ve encroached upon our landscape like a necrosis, eating up acres of space, using millions of tons of fossil fuel with their extra transport demands and colluded together as a cartel to screw the public they serve of every spare penny.

They are the true smiling assassins of the retail world, born in the latter half of the 20th century but now leaner, meaner and poised to wreak havoc in the 21st century with their commercial nouse. They are called the satellite mini supermarket.

Whether in a petrol station (M&S), a pub garden (Sainsbury’s) or in a secondary or primary high street location (Tesco), these repugnant boils impose their retail will on us consumer lemmings in the name of convenience - but what they offer is nothing less than pure, unalloyed inconvenience.

They charge higher prices for the same goods as their larger counterparts, put pressure on honest, hard working independent corner shops who have served their communities so well for the past three decades; people who stay open all hours to provide real convenience and a friendly face.

They cause traffic chaos because people are too lazy to walk to them, clog up service roads (just look at what a hell hole the top of Beech Road has become since Tesco moved in) and offer zero hour contracts to staff who work many hours at short notice for a pittance.

A real annoyance for me is that when situated in petrol stations like the M&S in the BP garage in Folly Lane, they render petrol pumps unusable whilst the owner of the car in front has a ten minutes stroll along the aisles for a packet of cheese and onion crisps and a sarnie whilst your car waits patiently behind theirs in the queue for petrol.

Far from convenient, they are a blight on our retail landscape and should be abolished. When I hear of yet another Sainsburys or Tesco rearing its ugly head in a local neighbourhood, I shudder when I think of the impact this will have on those other businesses struggling to survive, paying punitive rents to a council who bows subserviently and more than willingly to the persuasive and often financially incentivised tactics of the supermarket bosses.

I am sure I am not alone in my thoughts about these smaller satellite supermarkets. To some they may be convenient, but the inconvenient truth is that they come at a price, one in my opinion, which is not worth paying.

BARRY CASHIN Green Lane, St Albans

A Lib Dem county council election leaflet which contains a quote, attributed to this very paper, seemingly in high praise of a certain Cllr “Sandy” Walkington.

Naughty, naughty, Cllr Walkington – when quoting it’s important to be accurate in the transcription otherwise meaning can be altered. As I’m sure you know, square brackets are used to disambiguate pronouns, not to wilfully swap words you don’t like in order to alter the subject of the sentence.

By changing “The party’s strength, both at St Albans council and General Election level locally, has always been the willingness of its candidates to immerse themselves in what is happening” (Herts Ad, August 4 2016) to, “[Sandy’s] strength…has always been the ability to immerse [himself] in what is going on” (recent election leaflet - attributed to the Herts Ad on the August 12) Cllr Walkington has none too subtly made the story all about himself when that was quite clearly never the intention of the author.

The fact that some other words have changed and the date is wrong I will put down to incompetence rather than duplicity.

Why do it? He was bound to get caught and for electioneering purposes it was a perfectly useable quote as it was. It’s only failing seemed to be that it was about the party rather than the individual. Is it just narcissism or does he arrogantly believe he has a stronger recognition than his party?

Also why is he constantly trying to give the impression that he is local to St Albans? Any letters of his to these pages always give his address as Hatfield Road, St Albans (the address of the Lib Dem offices) rather than Welwyn where he actually hails from.

You’ll notice that I have provided my home address in this letter, not my work address. And, from the same election leaflet as the doctored quote, “Sandy Walkington: putting our area first”.

It can’t be “our” area because he’s not one of “us”, he doesn’t live here! I’m not suggesting candidates have to live in the area they represent, but they shouldn’t try and pretend they do when they don’t.

Now that Cllr Walkington is no longer the parliamentary candidate for “our” area one wonders why he insists on wanting to represent us in the county council at all. Isn’t it about time he inflicted himself on the voters of his own town of Welwyn?

NICK CHIVERS Jerome Drive, St Albans