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The letters that you have recently published about local hospitals have highlighted a complex and perhaps intractable mixture of proposals and problems.

The West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust proposes to re-develop Watford General Hospital, St. Albans City Hospital, and Hemel Hempstead Hospital, giving each a specific function; for example, A&E and acute services at Watford, planned surgery at St. Albans, and urgent but non life-threatening care at Hemel.

The Trust has proposed that three-site plan because it believes that it will deliver benefits to patients sooner, at less cost and with a far simpler and quicker planning process than would a large new general hospital on a greenfield site somewhere in West Herts.

It is easy to find fault with the actual site and location of Watford General, but it is on bus routes, not so very far from a mainline railway station and a Metropolitan line station, and does - of course - have road access for car drivers and pedestrians.

A new general hospital on a greenfield site is a very attractive proposition; it conjures up images of gleaming buildings and pristine wards, but I suspect that it would be easy to pick holes in virtually any such location.

Where on the M1, M25 or the A41 is there a site which is approximately the same distance from Watford, St Albans and Hemel, has bus, rail and underground connections with them, and is not plagued by rush hour congestion on the roads?

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There is another problem. If a new general hospital were to be built on a greenfield site it might provide all the services that are now provided at St Albans City Hospital and which the Trust intends to continue to provide there, in re-developed buildings designed for additional services.

Do we want to risk losing planned day surgery, a minor injuries unit, ante-natal and community midwifery, outpatient and diagnostics, and clinical support including X-ray, ultra-sound, mammography and blood and specimen collection, not to mention the possibility that St. Albans might be developed as a centre for cancer care? I urge every patient and every citizen in St Albans, Harpenden and district to think carefully about these proposals and problems.


Chair St Albans and Harpenden Patient Group

Well we got away with the weather but what a very commercial exercise the food festival was on Sunday.

Row after row of takeaway food and drink with an influx of traders from outside the area competing directly with our local food producers. Even a stall selling tea towels -never tried eating one myself.

The food festival used to be educational with local food producers and local suppliers but this year seems to have gone all out to make the council as much money as possible.

Even to the extent of not having any supplementary toilet facilities on site. I am sure the St Albans shop owners were delighted to be inundated with people looking to use their facilities but not buying anything from them.

A little more thought could make this event so much more, although I am not sure how much thought is required to bring in a loo or two with the Old Town Hall still under construction.


Robert Hill as usual totally misses the point and prefers to make frivolous and unnecessary comments about myself rather than addressing the pertinent issues (September 28).

I address these issues again;

1) Are he or any of his STAQS friends hypocritical enough to travel by air whilst complaining about aircraft noise?

2) If they do not want planes above their backyards (NIMBY) whose backyards do they want designated as the alternative flightpath?

Addressing his totally irrelevant UKIP statement. Standing for UKIP in St Albans in 2010 and Harpenden in 2015, I, together with other national UKIP candidates, increased the awareness of the UK population to enable them to make an historic referendum result in 2016.


Nomansland, Wheathampstead

Dear dog walkers on Kinsbourne Common, my dad walks me regularly on the common and I love it. I sniff and run and play and even occasionally roll in some wonderful smelling stuff (For some reason, my dad is not too keen on the latter and gets a bit grumpy.).

We meet lots of other dogs and owners and everyone is friendly and happy and waggy - well the hoomans aren’t so waggy.

More and more frequently, we come across poo left by other doggies. In fact, we see this almost every day now. This is interesting for me to sniff. However, my dad gets really cross. He always carries a poo bag and when I leave a little gift, he picks it up and carries it to the bin.

When he spots (or steps in) the poo, he says things like “inconsiderate idiots”, “disgusting fools”, “unhygienic numpties” and some other words that I don’t understand.

He says if he catches the aforementioned hoomans in the act, apart from giving them a piece of his mind and forcing them to pick it up in their bare hands, he is also going to photograph them (smile, other pooches). He says he will send the photos to the police, the dog warden, council and the local newspaper.

He also says he’ll print several of them and stick them up on local lamp posts and fences so that all the other pooches and hoomans can see what these disgusting inconsiderate lawbreaking hoomans look like.

My dad can be quite feisty and I believe he’ll do it too. Our house has a view of the common and so we can see you. I don’t know how to work a camera or that huge round thingy sticking out the front, so I just bark to let him know you’re there.

Yours, a small brown pooch. C/O STUART BALL

Luton Road, Harpenden

Although I was pleased to read in the Herts Ad that our fellow resident and former St Albans parliamentary candidate Daisy was speaking up on our behalf at the Lib Democrat party conference, I was at the same time surprised at her decision in choosing to support the Save St Albans Pubs campaign as I believed that she had become a teetoteller, since her party is well documented as having signed the pledge.

Maybe she was confused to discover that the city’s landlords had formed a coalition and felt obliged to respond in the way that Lib Dems do when they see a chance to join coalitions !

Surely Vince would not do it again, would he?

Bottoms up and cheers!


Ex-Nafhte candidate

Langley Crescent, St Albans

Zoe Jones’ report on a river cruise along the Rhone (September 21) read like it was an advertorial, which could explain why a German-speaking boat was recommended even though there must be a dozen companies offering similar cruises in English.

If Zoe had been on a tour in English she might not have gained the peculiar idea that only 13 bottles of wine annually are produced in Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Thirteen might be a reference to the number of grape varieties allowed in the region, but that was increased to 18 in 2009. PETER MAY

Fontmell Close, St Albans

I’m sorry but I don’t share your enthusiasm (September 28) for the sprawling, 6,000 square foot, single-storey Grand Designs house which has taken up far more land than we can afford if we are to find space (September 21) for “900 new homes a year”. More like a self-indulgent fantasy, even if it is “almost carbon neutral”.

Meanwhile, the district council should be asking Government for a full breakdown of just where their figures come from, with reputable organisations such as CPRE claiming there’s space for over a million new dwellings on brownfield sites in England alone and another million in London, and with the extensive infilling there’s been locally over recent years; and might not Brexit help?


Fairmead Avenue, Harpenden

Can you spare just a few hours a week to help your local children’s hospice?

Keech Hospice Care, which is the children’s hospice for Herts, urgently needs more volunteers to help run its 18 charity shops across the county.

Bev Mackenzie, who volunteers every week in Keech Hospice Care’s charity shop in Harpenden, says she finds volunteering incredibly rewarding and is encouraging others to do the same.

“I need more people to JoinMe and volunteer at their local Keech charity shop so this amazing charity can continue to make sure no-one with a terminal or life-limiting illness has to face it alone,” said Bev.

“If you’re retired, looking for a way to use your skills, lonely at home or just want to make new friends and socialise, sign up to be a volunteer at your local shop today.

“It only takes a few hours a week. Bring your friends along, too - everybody is welcome!”

Each year the charity relies on its community to help raise 70 per cent of the £5.7 million it needs to survive.

The money raised from Keech Hospice Care’s charity shops is crucial to ensuring the hospice can care for seriously ill children and their families in Hertfordshire at a time in their lives when they need it the most.

“When the children were off my hands, I had more time and wanted to give something back. I chose Keech Hospice Care because I knew someone whose baby had a life-limiting condition and who was supported by the charity,” said Bev.

“The shop has such a warm and caring atmosphere. We’ve all become friends and I like the fact that the shop is part of the community.”

To sign up, visit or call 01582 707955. All necessary training is provided. KATHRYN FISK Senior PR Officer, Keech Hospice

Over the years these pages have featured numerous letters about dogs fouling the pavements and parks of the area.

My dog, Piggle, would like to thank whoever thought that letting their offspring defecate in the bushes behind The Inn on the Park in Verulamium Park was a good idea.

She thoroughly enjoyed rolling in your child’s excrement and revelled in the irony of the exchange, made all the more poignant by the proximity of the toilets in the Inn and those by the museum.

Perhaps people with children who can read toilet signs could carry pooh bags like dog owners? Hearing of this local incident, Mrs Main MP will no doubt leap to her feet in Parliament to put more crap on the national agenda. I am off to wash the dog.


St Michaels Street, St Albans