Your letters to the Herts Ad...
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You will have read in the Herts Advertiser the proposal to build 4,000 -8,000 new houses in Hertsmere close to London Colney. Some will be built on Willows Farm agricultural field and these will be very close to Colney Heath’s parish boundary. While I welcome new houses for our young, key-workers and people wanting to downsize, this is not what all the houses are for.
Beside’s the affect this development will have on our neighbourhood there is a real threat of coalescence between Colney Heath and London Colney. Coursers Road already has over 100 lorries going to and from the gravel site and the digester per day, the road cannot cope with the extra traffic.
I’m against increased housing prior to the infrastructure being provided. We need more schools, shops, health facilities, better bus services and better roads.
Before these are in place we should oppose any new developments in this area and please tell me where all the water supply will be coming from?
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We do not need large developments we need more small sustainable developments well planned and supported. We need an equitable distribution of housing and employment across the county. St Albans district has a unique character of openness and a natural green barrier between us and neighbouring settlements.
We should be proud of our uniqueness and the Green Belt that surrounds us. I will continue to oppose over development in our area; I want planned development that brings benefits to us and not the developer.
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I think we all agree that the new housing development is welcome and replaces sites that may have been derelict, garage sites that are not used, wharehouses that have closed.
I think the design of the houses and the layout must fit into the area.
Colney Heath parish has followed this ethos well by providing small housing developments on brownfield sites that were carefully planned and they funded some improvements to local facilities.
As district councillor for the area I’m aware of the pressure for new housing but it has to be planned, with good infastructure to support it, improvements to the A414, Bell Roundabout and Coursers Road. The majority of new housing must be for local people, rentable, affordable, and partbuy.
The proposed development of 4,000-8,000 houses adjacent to Colney Heath which is part of St Albans district and the threat of further expansion of Welwyn and Hatfield must alarm us all.
These new proposals are only in their early stages and the public will be consulted, please reply to the future public consultations and visit the exhibitions.
If we don’t fight large developments from neighbouring authorites, there will no difference between travelling through Shenley, London Colney, Colney Heath and Hatfield.
CLLR CHRIS BRAZIER Park Lane, Colney Heath
Recently, I walked through that part of Rothamsted Park devoted to plant research and witnessed, in spite of large lettering displayed on notices that dogs should be kept on leads, a considerable number of the aforementioned animals roaming anywhere they pleased.
A few days’ later I noticed how many vehicle owners were ignoring the local restrictions on parking.
Then I saw various bins with the word LITTER on them with piles of cardboard and paper laying on the pavement nearby.
Finally, I went to my gym where there is a notice that members’ bags should not be brought into the main exercise area - and proceeded to trip over one.
These are just a few examples. I am sure your readers can add to this list. The question I asked myself was: Why do people behave like this; they seem to understand everyday English?
Then it suddenly occurred to me - the answer, of course, is a failure in our educational system. This section of our community have never been taught to read!
Anyone coming into Harpenden, in order to get a better education for their children - and tying themselves to a vastly-overpriced house and an unaffordable mortgage - should have another think.
RICHARD WHITE Arden Grove, Harpenden
I was recently making my way down to Westminster Lodge to take part in a yoga class. As I was nearing the bottom of Holywell Hill I slipped. Not on leafs or the slippery black tiles but on the large beige paving stones. It had been drizzling.
Two runners rushed over to help me as it was so slippery I could not get up. But finally I did.
After talking to various other users of the gym many of them told me that would not use Holywell Hill as they thought it dangerous. They all said they took other routes to the gym.
I have informed Hertfordshire County Council and have a reference number. I asked if anyone else had reported the dangers of HH. They said no.
I am one of the many elderly people who walk instead of driving. Also a number of mothers with prams use that hill. I realise that you cannot stop people slipping on pavements but with a few more railing to grab on to it might just cut out some of the danger.
I am not sure if I can change anything but felt I should at least try.
MAGGIE ROWLEY By email
I read with interest your report in last week’s issue the remarks of the Maryland Convent development architect but find I am not in complete agreement.
For starters I’d like him to point out his so-called “landscape belt”. What we have already nearing completion is a massive block of solid brickwork dominating the skyline and more building to follow. The building work is noisy and the constant flow of spoil-laden lorries leaves a road surface of a film of wet mud several yards long. Road markings have been obliterated and even if controlled parking zone rules were enforced any culprits would be able to plead that the markings were not visible.
So we get delivery trucks arriving en masse, queuing to unload, blocking driveways, pavement parking and generally being an infuriating nuisance.
It’s a crying shame that the planning inspector did not take more heed of the warnings of Cllr Roma Mills and her colleagues who represent Batchwood Ward.
Cllr Mills in particular knows the area as well as anyone and not for the first time has an inspector with a far less knowledge of an area overridden local opposition.
Townsend Drive, St Albans
You were kind enough to publish a letter from me in recent weeks about cycling on footpaths and the subject generated, you may recall, an interesting flow of quite thoughtful responses.
The bee in my bonnet now is of a somewhat more truculent nature I`m afraid ! I and my fellow residents here in this part of Bernards Heath have been going through an exercise with the council over the last two years to try to get a residents parking scheme introduced in the grid of streets running off Boundary Road. Now, this rant isn’t concerned with the merits or demerits of residents parking or the inconsiderateness of commuters, that’s an old chestnut and it`s been rehearsed many time before. No, my beef is with the seemingly unaccountable jobsworths at St Albans district council in the environmental compliance team – parking scheme officers to you and me.
Back in November 2016, we were promised the scheme would be in place by January or February this year.
Then delays occurred, so the implementation date segued from “early spring” – conveniently vague I think you`ll agree – to “late spring” - thus covering pretty much half a year which I personally think is a tad over generous as a performance target
Having taken the sfficers concerned to task over this lack of precision at a meeting with line managers and our extremely helpful local councillor, we finally managed to weasel out of them a surprisingly detailed timetable. Surprising, that is, given the barn door estimates they had failed to hit earlier. By this latter timetable, whilst still excruciatingly long winded, we were expecting to see our much needed scheme in place by this last September at the latest.
Having recently had the temerity to require the two officers concerned to get on with it if they wouldn`t mind, we have now been told that there is no longer a timetable at all!
All of sudden, they don`t use them apparently, which, being as charitable as I can, must make work planning and efficient use of time something of a lottery.
Talking of lotteries, I am prepared to bet this, shall we call it, absence of administrative rigour, will also come as a surprise to their line managers at appraisal time.
No, let`s face it, the real reason this spurious argument has been advanced is that they don`t like being taken to task or held accountable, so not having a timetable is really just another way of telling those who pay their salaries to stop complaining or things will grind even more slowly. I have heard it said ( and the person who gave me this little gem shall remain nameless ) that St Albans district council is “the employer of last resort”.
Now we know why.
TREVOR BARTON By email
I saw your article in a recent Herts Advertiser about the person with the light obstruction problem from a neighbour’s recent extension and thought it worth commenting.
When a council decides on whether to grant planning permission for an extension they do consider the light impact on neighbours but only in a cursory way. It turns out there is a very precise set of rules and guidelines around the “right to light” which are not evaluated in a council planning permission process.
Thus it’s quite possible for the planning officer to say “that looks OK so I will approve” but for the extension to result in a violation of the right to light rules. That happened to us when we were looking to extend.
Right to light requires a set of calculations that show whether the planned extension will reduce the light below what is considered acceptable (generally to do with X per cent light coverage at a height of 1m off the room floor, with the level of light set at what is considered suitable for reading etc. This is all very precise and measurable). Typically agreement is reached to limit the extension so right to light is not violated but if there is an infringement its usual to agree financial compensation. It wasn’t clear whether the people affected by this problem in your article were aware of the distinction between planning permission and right to light. My advice to them would be to engage a right to light consultant to evaluate their situation and advise on whether a compensation claim could be made.
MIKE COLLINS By email
As an avid reader of the Herts Ad each week,I have to say how disappointed I am that there has been no letters from Barry Cashin of late. Has he moved from the area or just given up the ghost of writing to the paper these days? On receiving the weekly paper I would first turn to the letter page to see what Barry had to say about some thing or some one that would always be light hearted but very often true, and would always bring a smile to my face.
So if anyone knows the whereabouts of the famous Barry, please enlighten me,as I do miss his letters.
Hughenden Road, St Albans