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I am pleased that Mr Wigley wishes to engage with those campaigning for a new A&E hospital for West Herts. I know that Mr Wigley has said in the SAPG’s latest newsletter “A brand-new hospital providing all services on a single traffic-free green-field site convenient for everyone in West Herts sounds attractive” so we do agree here!
Back to Mr Wigley’s latest letter to the Herts Advertiser where he says that Mr Scott and I are attacking West Herts Hospital Trust’s plans to redevelop existing hospital sites and are also inclined to rubbish everything it states! - Colourfully put!
Surely we are entitled to our views that we don’t believe the redevelopment of Watford General Hospital, as West Herts A&E Hospital, is the best long-term solution for those living outside of West Watford, that redevelopment will not achieve the same standard of build that a new build hospital would and that the large scale works required to upgrade the Vicarage Road site over the next decade will cause too much disruption and inconvenience for those needing to use the hospital.
We are also NOT campaigning to reduce local hospital services, as some local politicians and Mr Wigley have implied, but only to ensure that our A&E Hospital is in a more accessible location to those outside of West Watford and provides a better long-term solution for our future generations to benefit from.
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New hospital campaigners also want the best solution for West Herts Hospital staff who do such an excellent job in such difficult working environments.
I also find it odd that Mr Wigley says that my letters and Robert Scott’s letter have many things in common - they would do Mr Wigley, we both support the option of a more central, suitable and accessible location for West Herts only A&E Hospital!
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Now in response to Mr Wigley’s questions to Robert Scott and myself:
a) The cost of a new hospital? - Mr Scott did answer this question thoroughly in his letter to the Herts Advertiser a few weeks back but I will add my own thoughts too - the redevelopment of Watford General Hospital and St Albans City Hospital is estimated to cost approximately £600 million. Redevelopment costs are often underestimated for various reasons as there are various estimates built into contracts for the works and the time taken to complete each stage of the redevelopment work. The obvious advantage of building a new hospital from scratch on a greenfield site is that there is limited/no demolition work necessary and no working around hospital buildings that continue to operate and serve the hospital. It is pretty conclusive to me that the full redevelopment of Watford General Hospital would be more costly than starting from scratch and building a new state of the art acute and specialised care Hospital.
b) the source of funding a new hospital? - Public funding through the Treasury which is the same for the redevelopment of Watford General Hospital and St Albans City Hospital -
C) The site of a new hospital? - easy one to answer Mr Wigley, a more central and accessible location than Vicarage Road (A panel of experts identified 17 new hospital sites for an assessment commissioned by the HVCCG so there are these sites and more!)
d) Do I support the continued existence of St Albans City Hospital and WHHT’s plans to redevelop it? - I have written to Mr Wigley on this exact point after he accused me of not being a supporter of St Albans City Hospital and I stated that “ I have never said or written anything to suggest that I do not support the role that St Albans City Hospital currently plays despite it losing its A&E facilities many years ago.”
I support a better solution than merely a makeover of our current inadequate hospital sites. Obviously If a new A&E Hospital was built in or very close to St Albans we probably wouldn’t need the old Waverley Road site but that would be the same situation for the current WGH if a new A&E Hospital was built in North Watford.
As chairman of St Albans and Harpenden patient group, I feel Mr Wigley should not be focusing solely on services provided by St Albans City Hospital - St Albans residents also have to travel to West Watford to attend their A&E Hospital.
If they haven’t got a car, are elderly, sick or disabled this journey is not an easy one to make or return home from. Many also find the climb from the car parks at WGH a real struggle!
I ask your readers to sign the petition if they share my concerns about the redevelopment of Watford General Hospital as West Herts only A&E Hospital!
ANDREW LOVE Warren Road, St Albans
I think we are entitled to know just how the Government arrived at the figure of 15,000 new homes allegedly needing to be built (January 11): somebody must have done the calculation. It’s presumably based on data from some years ago, since when the Office of National Statistics have reduced their UK 2030 population projection by two million and Brexit too may have an effect on population flows.
As to the claimed pressure on infrastructure of ‘densification’ (page 5): I’ve previously argued that there would at least be less additional road traffic where the denser development is within walking distance of the local services, so that there’s less need to drive in.
Fairmead Avenue, Harpenden
I am writing this to try and bring people’s attention to the fact that construction is one of the least green operations that is currently undertaken by man. And the future consequences are even greater.
Along with all the materials used from the ground upwards, there is the massive damage to the environment and the further use of natural resources and energy.
Building thousands of new homes on our countryside including agricultural land, is fundamentally wrong.
It’s probably more motivated by profit rather than any inkling of common sense.
The local infrastructure cannot withstand this pressure. At this moment in time all the local roads are an absolute broken mess and cannot possibly support the amount of traffic that is intended to fill them. With this in mind even more local pollution comes to mind.
There are already not enough school places for local children or work places for new people to make a living and pay their taxes.
And as automation takes over in industry, robots will not make up the short fall in the loss of supporting local income.
Robots will pay no council tax, or spend any money in local shops. Of course they will not need a doctor’s surgery, pharmaceutical supplies or hospital space but that is already stretched to its known limits due to too many people already making demands on the local facilities.
It’s not difficult to realise this is knowingly going to be an absolute disaster and it does not even reach the bottom line of the holy criteria of being green in any way whatsoever. But this is simply people in charge chancing their luck.
Our local supply of water will be tested to its maximum. As far as I know there has been not one new storage (reservoir) facility built anywhere with one hundreds miles of the Hertfordshire borders.
If we have a hot summer due to ‘global warming’ the consequences will be dire. Waste disposal and lan fill will increase. Along with other problems perhaps all new planned facilities (larger drains) for sewage disposal and subsequent treatment will help, but where will it all go?
And as soon as the new occupants close their front door they will be collectively consuming vast amounts of energy immediately. In many cases more than doubling their previous ‘carbon footprint’.
Can the seemingly ‘all knowing’ local authorities and beyond at least confirm that there will be no more vehicle damaging, huge potholes, no more further over crowding on our roads. No water shortages or rationing and no energy crisis. Jobs for all, school places for all the children a constant supply of teachers. No more rubbish dumping in country lanes. Do I imagine a resounding NO!?
If so the old adage “running around like headless chickens” comes to mind. A clear case of accumulation without an ounce of speculation.
Think about it folks, is this what you really want ?
EDMOND PAUL By email
I’ve been asked to find out if there’d be any interest in a coffee morning for the more mature man to be held at Batford Methodist Church maybe once a month on a Friday?
It was suggested that were perhaps men who would like to chat among themselves (with coffee/tea and biscuits provided).To register your interest please text 07983 948402 leaving your contact details. Thank you.
Though your columns, St Albans Symphony Orchestra (SASO) would like to thank the audience at our successful New Year’s Day concert in the Abbey who generously contributed £896 to a retiring collection. This has been divided between this year’s two featured charities: Kidney Research UK and the 25 percent ME Group.
We are also most grateful to Christmas shoppers in the centre of St Albans who donated £334 to a collection for the Multiple Sclerosis Society organised by carol-playing members of SASO’s brass section and their friends. Our thanks also go to the manager of Costa Coffee in The Maltings for kind permission to use the bandstand.
On behalf of all those who will benefit from our Christmas Appeal I extend my deepest gratitude to the generous people of St Albans who supported our fundraising. It is devoted to local and international charities.
Our Rotary Club raised a record of over £5,000 from our Christmas activities. The first cheque to Crohn’s and Colitis UK has gone out and more will follow. Each charity we support is fully researched and every penny collected is distributed to those with the most need.
President, Rotary Club of St Albans Verulamium
Can I refer you to the “Have your say” brochure about the Local Plan sent to most householders in the district, especially the map on the back page.
Why has the A414 been linked with the A4147 through Leverstock Green when it actually runs parallel to the M1and enters Hemel along Breakspear Road?
The idea of a key transport route passing through the 30mph village is absurd.
Riverside Close, St Albans
Your article in this week’s Herts Advertiser states that London Luton Airport will celebrate its 25th anniversary this year. This is not correct because it did in fact open in 1938 (although flying had commenced in March the previous year) and celebrates its 80th anniversary on July 16.
Ardens Way, St Albans