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I am writing to publically say a thank you to all those considerate patient and safe drivers in and around St Albnas. Thank you to those drivers of cars, vans, buses and lorries who drive with due care and attention, within the speed limit (and it is a LIMIT after all and not a TARGET).
Those who bother to signal when they are turning, changing lanes or overtaking. Thank you to those who acknowledge you with a ‘thank you’ when you give way to them or let them in. Thank you to those drivers who allow enough space between themselves and the car in front and do not aggressively tailgate. Thank you to the motorists who manage to drive without a mobile clapped to their ear!
Sadly such drivers are becoming rarer than hens’ teeth and St Albans is becoming an aggressive and nasty place in which to drive.
As an example of what happens practically on every journey, I outline the following. At around 6.45pm on Thursday May 3, I was driving along Beech Road in St Albans towards the junction with the Harpenden Road.
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A male driver in a black Volkswagen, driving behind me, was exceeding 30mph in a residential area and was dangerously close to me. There was no way he could stop if I had to suddenly brake for a hazard. I could not pull to my left to allow this person to pass as there were parked cars there and oncoming traffic to my right.
There are potholes and a mid-traffic crossing so one is forced to drive in and out of these features to get to the junction with Harpenden Road. He could not wait and sweved past me at speed regardless. The Volkswagen driver gained nothing for all his aggression, speed, foul language and obscene hand gestures because he had to stop at the red traffic light before turning left towards St Albans.
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I would sincerely encourage him and others like him to seek out a good anger management course before he seriously maims or kills somebody. He is not doing his own health any good either, as extreme anger such as this will raise his blood pressure and he is at risk of a stroke or heart attack.
Sadly I do not think drivers such as these will change their behaviour unless there are stricter penalties. The rest of us who endeavour to drivewiht observation and due regard to the conditions and potential hazards will continue to be bullied by drivers like this.
To these angry drivers: calm down, be considerate, think ahead of your own bonnet, arrive safe, dare to be a better person, you will live longer!
NAME & ADDRESS SUPPLIED
I am in complete agreement with Stephen Webster (no relation) in his comments (May 3) on the proposal that the annual commemoration service for those who died in action at Gallipoli should come to an end.
Surely, the purpose of a memorial is that it is for perpetuity which is why at the national services the last post is sounded followed by the prayer “we will remember them”.
I was privileged to be in Westminster Abbey for the national and international service on Gallipoli day and a series of prayers were read by schoolchildren from Australia and New Zealand; at the end of each prayer the congregation responded “Lest we forget”.
I hope the organisers will have a re-think and that a grateful nation will continue to spare a few minutes to honour those who gave their lives in the Gallipoli campaign and help to ensure that in St Albans, at least, they are not forgotten
Whilst writing may I add that I am very sorry that the estimable Don Dell has retired from his voluntary role as organiser of the annual Poppy Day Appeal for the Royal British Legion.
During his time as organiser he has built up a team of dozens of helpers and overseen the collection in St Albans of several hundred thousand pounds.
He deserves the grateful thanks of his organisation and the hundreds of ex- service personnel who have benefited from his enormous work load. I wish him a long and happy retirement and share his hope that someone (or more) may step up as his successor.
Townsend Drive, St Albans
I read with heavy disappointment but no great surprise your article ‘Food vans to be kept in loop over station redevelopment’ (Herts Advertiser May 10).
This contained Govia Thameslink’s (GTR) response to the raft of objections to its redevelopment of the Ridgmont Road station entrance and the lack of accommodation for Charlie’s Coffee and Company and The Pudding Stop vans.
Over one 150 local people, the majority being commuters, have raised legitimate objections to the plans and many have offerered practical suggestions as to how they may be improved.
Commuters and the local community don’t want or need a new sit-down café and retail space at this entrance, resulting in a reduction in spaces for car, motorbike and cycle parking, a loss of scarce green space and the loss of popular well-established vendors.
What they want is a safer and more efficient exit from Platform 4, more ticket machines and barriers that actually work, retained facilities for parking especially for cycles, a more attractive entrance and site with enhanced green landscaping, improved pedestrian access and our wonderful coffee and pudding vans.
GTR’s statement that they would try to accommodate, with no guarantees, the independent traders during the building process and that they weren’t sure what would happen in the future is scant reassurance.
It appears more to be lip service by Thameslink whilst they carry on doing what they do best - ignore the views of their fare-paying customers.
ANGELA DIXON By email
Did Harpenden Town Council spare a thought for our High Street shops with its latest car park fee increase?
I was dismayed to learn of the colossal hike in charges at Lydekker car park in force from April 3. This was the only car park in town which was reasonably priced, and where you could spend up to five hours in town for £2.60. The same time period now costs £4.40.
There will be inevitable repercussions on businesses due to fewer customers who either can’t find a parking space, or don’t want to pay exorbitant charges. It will also disproportionately impact the staff who travel from out of town to work in our hair salons, cafés and shops, particularly at the north end of the High Street. It will now cost £10.90 per day to park your car all day for work, up from £6.50.
The Town Council manages this car park and should understand the implications of its decision. Our local businesses were not consulted about this increase and are worried about the effect on trade. Harpenden deserves better.
Park Mount, Harpenden
It seems that the Dark Lane Recycling Centre in Harpenden is becoming less and less accessible.
It is already closed on Thursdays and Fridays but not content with that is also closed for half an hour at a time (twice this morning) on other days for “servicing”.
Why can’t the servicing, when the lorries come to change the containers, be done on Thursdays and Fridays? Does the council not want us to recycle?
It seems that the more our council tax goes up the worse the service we receive.
On the subject of the River Ver project St Albans council have decided, without any consultation, to close the waiting list for four out of 10 allotment sites in the district in anticipation of the River Ver project.
These sites now face years of uncertainty, neglect and decline to the detriment of existing, and prospective, plot holders.
The four sites, all in the Sopwell area, are amongst the largest sites in the district so their closure will have serious implications for waiting lists and disadvantage those living in and around the Sopwell area wanting a plot who will now only be offered plots on sites some distance from their homes; resulting in more car journeys for those with their own transport and no allotment for those without.
The council’s decision is premature given these are proposals are still at the consultation stage, uncosted and unfunded. So come on St Albans council do the right thing and reopen the waiting lists and let prospective tenants decide for themselves whether they wish to rent a plot in the knowledge that at some point in the future they may have to relocate.
Or is the council’s strategy one of managed decline so that if the proposals are ever implemented they can argue there is no need to replace the 70 plots lost as a result of the closure of the Cottonmill site because they can accommodate the last remaining plot holders on the now abandoned plots arising as a result of closing the waiting on the other sites?
Cottonmill plot holder
In your April 26 edition I wrote about the Civic Society’s visit to the Kent Coast’s Sandwich and Deal on May 12, and how many of us would be ambassadors and try to plug St Albans.
Well, we did our best. Unfortunately whenever St Albans was mentioned, in most cases the response was “where’s that?” or “never heard of it.” Mind you, the same was said by the clerk at the City station when I bought the group’s ticket to Sandwich! It seems that both here and there need to do more to raise awareness of being a visitor destination.
For the record all our trains were on the dot. We actually arrived back home from Deal via St Pancras in an hour and 54 minutes. So near and yet so far if people don’t know you even exist.
Fishpool Street, St Albans
Thank you for the heart-warming story last week featuring the litter-picking 7th St Albans Brownies .
It is so lovely that youngsters show civil responsibility by helping clear up the mess left by the unenlightened. And a big “thank you” to other public-spirited citizens like the Sopwell Litter Pickers and Cllr Chivers who also work to provide a cleaner environment for us all.
ANDY WELLS Riverside Road, St Albans