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It is simply not true to say that families suffering from domestic violence will be evicted from the St Albans refuge (see Herts Advertiser July 13) when the lease with St Albans and Hertsmere Women's Refuge (SAHWR) ends.

This is a distressing and uncertain time for the individuals, families and staff at the refuge and I would like to take this opportunity to reassure them that Hightown is not turning its back.

Over 80 per cent of our staff work in dedicated care and supported housing helping vulnerable people across our region and we understand just how valuable a resource the women's refuge is in St Albans.

The new housing provider, appointed by the county council, has agreed to provide 78 units for families suffering from domestic violence by October 1 2017 so families from the St Albans refuge will be able to move to those places.

Accommodation at the refuge is short stay, emergency housing so over the course of the summer, it should be straightforward for Hertfordshire County Council and the new service provider to manage a smooth transition.

Hightown has provided support to the SAHWR for over 20 years and naturally we are disappointed that Hertfordshire County Council has appointed another housing provider. However, we remain wholly committed to the welfare of the women and children during this transition period.

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In the unlikely event that there are any families remaining in the refuge after October 4 we will not let them down.

Hightown will, of course, support them until suitable housing is available.

The accommodation will then be used to provide housing for another group of people with a priority need.


Hightown Housing Association


I refer to the recent letter on the state of our hedges and the lack of council action.

In January the council through your paper promised to do something about the flooding on the A405 near junction with Noke Lane (you may remember the photos sent in) To date nothing has been done

Hedges all over St Albans are all overgrown, walk along Watford Road from Ragged Hall to Midway and you have to walk in the road What do we pay the council for?

Can we call them to account for the lack of action, it's the same with our roads.

Can we vote them out and get someone in that will do the job?

I have no confidence in the road fault reporting system.The mapping system is incorrect - put in Stanmount Road which is in Chiswell Green and it thinks it's in Bricket Wood. Perhaps this is the reason works are not getting done as they send the teams to the wrong location.


St Albans


I wholeheartedly agree with Carol Chalkley's letter (Sorry state of hedges July 13). They are so overgrown that the pavement cannot be used in certain areas and it would be dangerous for anyone with small children who might be forced onto the busy road.

I've noticed this whilst out running and cannot understand why it has not been dealt with. I would also like to note the extremely poor condition of the pavements on Marshalswick Lane.

Running along this route is incredibly difficult with broken pavements and tree roots making it like an assault course

It becomes even more challenging in winter, as it is so poorly lit. Is it too much to ask to have flat pavements with well kept hedges allowing everyone to use them without risk of injury?


Culver Road, St Albans


I wonder how many people are aware that it is an offence to trim hedges between March 1 and July 31. This ruling is to try and help nesting birds and their fledglings. There are exceptions: if the hedges are overhanging paths and preventing access they can be cut.

For any other hedge situations you have to apply to the local council for permission.

For guidance the RSPB and the NFU have details on their websites.


West Common, Harpenden


I drive along London Road daily and it saddens me to see the Gabriel Square development.

I'm all for tasteful modern buildings, but the mass of cream marble walls just looks terrible.

The massive mirrored wall art looks naff and windows at the front are already resulting in streaked marks.

Around the country, there are many new buildings that combine glass, wood and greenery to look natural.

Huge blocky cream marble walls could not be further from fitting in with St Albans.

I fear now that various brownfield sites and green belt patches will have bland new build houses crammed in.

Please - if the Green Belt has to be built on, can we not use more of it and create leafy garden villages?

We could have developments that look like woodland when you drive by and are calm and natural to live in.

Green Belt land only really gains value when it gets permission for development. Many would perhaps rather twice as much Green Belt land is used to create leafy living spaces, versus smaller plots of brick, render and tarmac jungles.

The new flats and food court in Marshalswick is another example of an ugly, bland building.

Is there any more that the Herts Ad can do to help generate interest in keeping St Albans from ruined in this way?

Name and Address Supplied By email


As a fellow councillor once said never waste a crisis for an opportunity.

The Judicial Review is against SADC's Strategic Local Plan. The complaint from neighbouring local authorities yet again seems to centre on who pays for the necessary infrastructure. Civil engineers deliver much of this infrastructure and it needs monies.

I propose a local authority (LVAT) Land Added Value Tax at planning permission. A simple tax on gain of value.

A great advantage of a land tax is that it is difficult for it to go offshore. The unit price of building the same house in or outside towns is similar. With nationally known local land values this tax can be applied to all types of developments.

I would call for a simple 40 per cent tax on potentially high gains. So if St Albans district council needs 300 houses a year on Green Belt land this equates to 30 acres going from £10,000/acre agricultural value to £1,010,000/acre residential value.

That equates to £12m a year tax though speculators may have cashed in some land value.

Hemel Hempstead could reap £28m LVAT from the 70 acre SADC SLP sites adjoining them, which could alleviate many infrastructure issues. We must insist 50 per cent of LVAT goes towards local infrastructure built by the developer.

Localism can decide on the use of the remainder be it more local infrastructure or affordable housing.


District councillor and civil engineer,

Oakfield Road, Harpenden


Willmott Dixon are doing a lot of building work on the New Greens estate, including Carnegie Road, Partridge Road, Blundell Close and Arundel Close, erecting houses, flats and bungalows.

On Friday July 7 local residents were all invited to afternoon tea at Blundell Green.

When we arrived there were tables and chairs out on the green, sandwiches, cakes, tea and coffee.

We met Neil the site manager, and other staff members, who told us about the work that was going on and what was to come. They said if there were any problems to go round to the office and see any member of staff.

We had a very good afternoon, so thank you Willmott Dixon, and all the staff who made our afternoon so enjoyable.

MRS V ELBOURN Carnegie Road, St Albans