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Voices not heard over new store
I read with disappointment that a planning inspector has given the green light to the construction of a Sainsbury’s mini store without holding a public hearing and despite the local council, who know the area, declining the application.
I have canvassed many people in the area of Chiswell Green and nobody had been asked to support a petition against this development. The view of us all is that we do not need this store and its existence will threaten the livelihoods of established retail local shops.
In particular the Post Office and convenience store and the newsagents, both of which have served our community well for decades. These businesses are both family owned with children who have grown up with the training and expectation of taking over their parents in due course. I wonder if those shops prove not to be viable, post-Sainsbury’s. Will the new mini supermarket provide a post office service?
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It is outrageous that the interest and greed of large corporate entity with no long term commitment to our community should we be allowed to threaten people who have served us so well.
The planning inspector was called by Sainsbury’s and the developer after what appears to be a delay by the local council. A decision in favour was taken despite the congestion that wlll be caused in an already over busy Chiswell Green Lane and the mini roundabouts on Watford Road. Did the inspector see the morning rush chaos caused by school traffic and its early evening counter part?
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This is, of course, in addition to the normal rush hour traffic to and from St Albans and the motorways.
Chiswell Green is an area inhabited in the main by young middle managers and their families who are quite capable of using existing supermarkets situated nearby, or online shopping services provided by amongst other Sainsbury’s.
If our voices had been asked for and heard there would be an overwhelming majority to request Sainsbury’s or any other large retailer to leave us alone to enjoy our village in peace and to continue to support our shops which has served us so well over the years.
HUGH DAY Cuckmans Drive, Chiswell Green
Farewell from a local legend
Working in London, recently married, we moved to St Albans in 1978. Then it was a small market town in the countryside. Our daughters were born at City Hospital. Through them we became involved in Aboyne Lodge School, the babysitting circle and Scouts. Now they have children of their own and live in St Albans. Somehow the benefits we had when bringing up our children are not available for theirs here in St Albans. Last year, recovering from throat cancer, we holidayed in my home county Yorkshire. We realised that despite some benefits in St Albans, we would need to move. So we are all on our way. Multi-generational living here we come! I would like to thank all and say cheerio to those organisations we have had fun with and had an opportunity to be part of. They are St Albans Scouts, Cathedral and Abbey Church Firework Display, St Albans District Chamber of Commerce, City Centre Management Board, St Albans District Council, Computer Friendly St Albans, Transition St Albans and St Albans Civic Society to name a few. MELVYN TEARE Octon House, 14 The Green, Hutton Cranswick East Yorkshire YO25 9PD
Look at the big picture NIMBYs
I read with interest Andrew Robley’s letter (June 30) describing potential conflict between communities regarding aircraft noise from flights in and out of Luton.
He should not be surprised, this is classic NIMBY behaviour - as long as I am OK then I wont worry about the rest. I would suggest that all these communities rather than complain actually relish the fact that we have an international airport close at hand enabling us to travel to an increasing number of destinations.
Surely this is preferable than to struggling around the M25 to Heathrow or if travelling at weekends to Gatwick having to change on to the tube to get across London due to ‘work on the line’. We should also be pleased that our neighbouring town of Luton and surrounding area have benefitted economically from the success of the airport following the demise of the Vauxhall car plant.
Continuing to read the paper I then arrived at the article telling me that the request for an artificial football pitch at Roundwood School had been declined by the planning committee. This would have provided much needed facilities for not only the school but also for Harpenden Colts with a membership of 850 all at no cost to the local council.
The usual NIMBY objections were raised - more noise, more traffic, less parking - forget about the benefits to the youth of the town. At the moment the Harpenden children have to go to Luton or Hatfield to use artificial football pitches which of course is fine for our NIMBYs as other towns can deal with the extra traffic, noise etc.
So to all NIMBYs out there please take a ‘half full’ rather than ‘half empty’ approach and accept a few minor disadvantages in favour of an overall benefit to the wider population.
STEVE PRYOR Granby Avenue, Harpenden
EU debate will not go away
As we now start the climb back to our traditional national democracy it is important for us all to remember two things.
Firstly, we are not leaving Europe, only the EU machine; we are now free to have our own voice in world politics and trade and flourish like other non-EU European countries such as Norway and Switzerland. We will find the picture of ‘poor Little Britain out in the cold’ to have been entirely false.
Secondly, however we voted we are all actually on the same side, all wanting the best for Britain. In the debate the two sides were opponents, never enemies. Together we go forward.
Obviously some adjustments must now be slowly made, but less than if we had been sucked fully into the euro-zone and anti-democratic EU dictatorship with its ever-increasing mountain of regulations and taxes.
One issue of immediate interest is chancellor Osborne’s threat of higher taxes, and cuts in fundings, to ‘pay’ for the approximately £9 billion per year saved by no longer supporting the EU machine. The inverted arithmetic involved in this puzzled me for quite some time until I realised that Mr Osborne had risen to a higher level of mathematics in using complex numbers. This system, of course, has both ‘real’ and ‘imaginary’ parts; by discarding the real and using only the imaginary, well…
But there is one aspect of the referendum outcome that is of immediate benefit to us all. With the future of our sterling currency now assured we can safely continue in the time-honoured British tradition of occasionally spending a penny, instead of henceforth being forced to euronate. Of such is the stuff of life.
IAN M LARIVIÈRE Park Street, St Albans
Whatever the rights and wrongs of holding a referendum, the country has voted to leave the European Union. Both campaigns were terrible, and truth and reasoned debate, with a few exceptions, was notably absent.
The lack of any plan of action, following a vote to leave, is clear to all. Leading Brexiteers are pulling in different directions and going back on campaign promises, which makes matters worse, leading to a lack of confidence both at home and abroad.
When Pandora’s box was opened, it released war, famine and pestilence upon the world. As now, all that was left was hope. My hope is for a United Kingdom with a Parliament that works in the interest of all of the people of this country and seeks to repair relationships in any arrangements and trade deals that we make with the European Union and other trading nations.
With a divided governing party, it is important that there is a strong and united Opposition Party. So, if Labour MPs decide to initiate a change of leadership, then I want my say in who will hold the Conservatives to account. That is why I have joined the Labour Party.
CLENNELL COLLINGWOOD Former Harpenden Town Mayor and Councillor
I have some sympathy with those of your readers who feel a bit aggrieved that there was a majority in St Albans for Remain which although against the national result makes them feel entitled to call for the resignation of our sitting MP who supported Leave. Unfortunately this is not the way the (democratic) system works and will continue to do so unless the nation decides otherwise which I doubt seems to be a likely prospect in the foreseeable future.
The unfairness of the system can be seen more glaringly in last year’s General Election results where UKIP took 12.6 per cent of the vote and got one seat, the Lib Dems took 7.9 per centand got eight seats, the Green Party took 3.8 per cent for their one seat but the SNP with a mere 4.75 per cent got 56 seats!
I’m sure that is of little comfort to the Remain voters in St Albans but it certainly highlights the need for reform.
PHILIP WEBSTER Townsend Drive, St Albans
Now that 62.7 per cent of the St Albans referendum region have voted to Remain despite the ardent support of our two local MPs for the Leave campaign, it is clear that they have failed to represent their constituents on this crucial decision in any manner that could ever be called “democratic”.
There is only one option now for the majority in this region, who clearly desire to create a modern, cohesive, community, and that is to ensure, at the earliest possible opportunity, we rally around the most credible candidates of whatever party or none who will make a plausible commitment to represent our views and concerns in future dealings with the rest of this troubled nation.
We cannot let a tactic of divide and rule suppress our common interest. Finding a voice in the next difficult years ahead is too important for that.
PAUL DE KORT Station Road, Harpenden
On one side of the Channel, a solemn ceremony to commemorate the bloody sacrifice of the First World War, while on the other side, we initiate our exit of political and economic union whose primary purpose was to prevent any future such carnage.
So successful has Europe been in this respect that even given the rise of national separatism and the far right, and the menace of Russia, a future military conflict is beyond our collective imagination.
Future wars are not the reason for the hesitancy to initiate Article 50. t is the realisation that once initiated, we forfeit our right to the single market, and with that will go many of our service industries which constitute our national prosperity.
Future tax payers who inherit the national debt of £1.56 trillion incurred by their predecessors will be deprived of the means to repay. It is not as bad as the First World War, but what do we gain from this sacrifice?
I asked Anne Main this in March, to which she replied: “Fundamentally for me, this is a matter of sovereignty and democratic control”. But repatriating power from Brussels to Westminster only restores democratic control providing elected politicians truly represent their voters. Given the broad public opinion that Westminster is totally out of touch with the real world [voters], Brexit will only further enable our self serving democratically elected MPs to represent themselves.
The other issue is migration. In 2015 net migration to the UK from EU countries was 185,000, net migration from non-EU countries was 188,000 and natural growth (births exceeding deaths) was 171,000. EU migration accounts for only one third of the population growth problem. We have always had sovereign control over non-EU migration and the right to dissuade people from having large families, yet Westminster has never used its powers effectively. Breaking up the fifth largest economy in the world so we can tackle just the EU component on migration is “criminally irresponsible”.
It only takes a few minutes to draft a short letter to the future Prime Minister, or if you still have confidence, Anne Main firstname.lastname@example.org.
IAN VANLINT Antonine Gate, St Albans
I have to say that I found the Referendum vote extremely liberating.
With the country being one big marginal constituency my vote counted whereas in General Elections in the safe seat of Hitchin and Harpenden, unless you are a Tory, it is a waste of time bothering to cast your ballot. Ironically on this occasion I found myself on the same side as Peter Lilley!
As a practising Christian I have been interested to read the comments of our church leaders in the Herts Ad, The Church Times and the national press. There are many in the church who voted to leave the EU who would love to have a national service of thanksgiving in St Paul’s for our deliverance from the evil and corrupt oligarchy in Brussels that governs us and has destroyed the lives of the poorest in our society but I doubt whether we would find a bishop to take it.
On the other hand as a football fan and although England was beaten fair and square in the last 16 of the Euros, I didn’t agree with it and demand that we should be reinstated into the finals immediately!!
MERVYN COX Marford Road, Wheathampstead
In this week’s paper, I have noticed more carpers than at a fisherman’s convention. The people of St Albans may have voted to remain (I chose to leave if that comes as any surprise), but why oh why can the people not accept democracy and get on with life, the vote having been fairly won?
Clarion calls for our MP to resign are pretty pointless and in my view grossly unfair. This was not a vote where sitting MPs had a party, moral or other obligation to vote in the interests or for the wishes of their constituents.
This was clearly announced by the PM as a FREE VOTE. That is why the cabinet were so split and each were allowed to campaign for leave or remain
It had nothing to do with the wishes of the people on their Parliamentary representatives to vote the way they wanted them to, just the wishes of the people, period.
People of St Albans, stop carping on about the fact that you lost and those who chose to leave won. It was a fair ballot, fairly won under scrutiny and democratic rules.
That you cannot accept defeat says perhaps more about you than than the prejudices you perceive the victorious campaign to have just because leave won.
Britain will survive. Yes there will be a hiatus and yes, people will be affected. It’s what change is about.
However, just because England lost to Iceland and we were knocked out the Euros and didn’t like the result, does that mean we should re-run the match or indeed the whole championship again so that we can hopefully get the result we want? No.
So, embrace change, look forward to a future with hope, not fear. We have not left Europe, we have simply expressed a desire to leave a very expensive club with ever more punitive membership fees and a closer political union.
The future is unknown, that much is certain but then again, hasn’t it always been? I thank you!
BARRY CASHIN Green Lane. St Albans
Poor show over Roundwood pitch
Please could someone justify the decision of the council – in particular Stephen Hodgson who was most negative – to deny thousands of children an all-weather pitch at Roundwood for school/Colts players.
As a Colts coach who puts in hours of time to train boys and girls with no support / funding from the council I find the decision to deny planning staggering. This happending at the same time as the council are planning to build on green-belt and are allowing unlimited brown-field house building regardless of stress put on schools and sports clubs.
The request for a single all-weather football pitch in Harpenden is the minimum of boys and girls need. At present hundreds of car journeys are made through Harpenden to take children to training facilities in Luton and Hatfield. This was an opportunity to put an end to these pointless car journeys. Weekend matches are played in Redbourn and Flamstead as we have no purpose built football pitches for five to 15 year olds.
The whole negativity of councillors, voting against ANY kind of football sports facility is tremendously depressing and I – for one – am likely to quit coaching now. There is no support for even the smallest facility for Harpenden Colts. My son had to play football bare footed in the sports hall as pitches were waterlogged at the school. My Colts team had no games at Rothamstead October-February due to there being no playable pitches.
My players are tremendously disappointed and three in tears when they heard the news. We weren’t asking the council for any funding, no need to lift a finger to help out (though you probably expect someone else to coach your kids/grandkids), just an opportunity to build a small facility – not a huge clubhouse or field of pitches – that we can use for training.
Very upset and just another massive failure to accompany the states of our roads, lack of school investment, providing any new facilities at all for children. Protecting the grey vote, trying to keep Harpenden as a ‘little village’ to protect your own jobs.
TIM FIRMIN Park Rise Close, Harpenden