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Harpenden Food and Drink Festival

Harpenden Food and Drink Festival - Credit: Archant

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Your report on the successful St Albans and Harpenden Food & Drink Festival 2016 (October 6) contained one regrettable inaccuracy. There was no food and drink festival here in Harpenden, other than a few stalls on the common selling an assortment of French goods.

I hear Harpenden Town Council declined to participate in the 2016 Festival because the officers didn’t fancy organising it and councillors complained that the district council didn’t make it worth their while. Read between the lines.

I don’t recall the community - to whom our council claims it is “closer” - being consulted about this. We have lots of specialist foodie and wine shops, newly-refurbished pubs with dining rooms, plenty of space on the common and greens for stalls and parking. What’s not to enjoy?

Harpenden Town Council extracts a huge levy from local residents through the compulsory precept and has sufficient reserves to go ex-budget if the councillors really wanted to do something beneficial and enjoyable for the local community.

Mind you, the councillors probably go into a spasm of inertia whenever anyone talks of the council organising a party on the Common. Although it was nearly seventeen years ago memories of the Millennium Party fiasco - like cream and scum - could soon rise to the surface.


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East Common, Harpenden

At last. After almost a decade of being boarded up, the old Cinta Chinese restaurant at the corner of Christopher Place and Verulum Road is currently being transformed into a brand new Thai restaurant.

Basuba EaThai will be opening its doors on October 31 offering a delicious alternative to the overpriced Thai Square and complacent old nutmeg, Thai Rack, both in George Street.

So too the misplaced anachronism that was the pawn shop next to The Boot is metamorphosing into a trendy Gail’s Bakery; bland chain coffee shops prepare to wake up as the rather excellent offerings of Gail’s both sweet and savoury will show how great food and coffee should be delivered.

There now appears to be a very definite demarcation line between the top and the bottom end of town, from the ghostly leviathan of the empty BHS, Dunkin’ Donuts, £1 shop, the urine smelling alley next to Tesco, up to the tanning shop moving smoothly into Catherine Street and its classy Fishy Delishy and grime encrusted shoplets frequented, it seems, by not very many people.

Compare that to the the lower end of town where the once white elephant of Christopher Place is now a wonderful leisurely place to stroll, have tea and brunch, through to Chequer Street and Bill’s to the High Street and Cote.

Yes, St Albans retail, particularly the dining landscape is very much a tale of two halves which the twice weekly market kind of nicely binds together.

Naturally, snob that I am, I spend my time mostly in the Market Place end of town only daring to venture north when Sensodyne goes on sale in the £1 shop.

How wonderful then that the most historic and pretty part of town is now, after years of stagnation and empty shops, being blessed with a full complement of decent stores and restaurants for us to enjoy.

All we need for ultimate retail perfection is a revamp of Holywell Hill, Jamie’s Italian to turn back into a pub and a few less estate agents in town and the world will be a much better place.

The only improvements I would make in addition to the aforementioned are a couple of mothers and toddlers-only coffee shops where undisciplined children can be let loose to run riot in amongst apathetic parents sipping caramel lattes, a proper artisan food and drink market every Sunday and the sacking of all parking enforcement officers.

These three acts alone would create my very own perfect retail Utopia. How about you? Answers on a postcard to the Editor. I thank you!

BARRY CASHIN Green Lane, St Albans

Further to Maria Harlan’s letter “Giving refugees hope and dignity” (September 22).

Any reader of the Herts Ad who is keen to learn more about the work of the Hertfordshire Welcomes Syrian Families Group can do so by listening to an interview with one of the HWSF team which was broadcast on Radio Verulam’s Local Life earlier this summer and is still available on the local Talking Newspaper website ( at the tab Listen Onlin’ in the archive Interviews.


Chairman & Editor

St Albans & District Talking Newspaper

I was rather amused to read your news article on fly-tipping, although in no way do I condone it. The particular statement made by Cllr Miles “Fly–tipping is a real blight on the environment and unfortunately on the increase in St Albans district”, takes the biscuit. Is he not aware that this increase would be as a direct consequence of curtailing the days recycling centres are open and not even phasing these cuts between centres to minimise the disruption to users. Both Cole Green and St Albans centres are closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays; the Waste Aware Website suggests travelling further to Stevenage or Ware. In addition, stringent new rules have been applied to DIY enthusiast’s disposing of their DIY waste. A boot full every 30 days!

Now add the issues surrounding the non-collection/emptying of “bins”. Both I and my neighbours are experiencing problems of this nature. Despite the Waste Aware WEB site clearly stating food waste can be wrapped in newspaper, brown paper and biodegradable plastic bags, food bins are not being emptied if food is wrapped by these means.

I would suggest the council take a look at some of these money saving issues, against the cost of tidying up fly-tipping. Just a thought!


By email

The thing about The Brickyard is that there was no “intolerable noise”. It was innovative and well run with a pleasant clientele, a welcome addition to the area. I should know, I have lived in the conservation area since 1962 and have run the gauntlet of every bar you could mention.

Who are these self appointed spokespeople from the APPR and the CRCA, and how is it they have such clout with SADC that a business can be hounded in this way? I strongly object to them speaking on my behalf. As a Verulam Road resident I have never been consulted on the matter.

Yes, Michael Weaver, I feel the same, it is a very sad tale for St Albans and a kill joy omen for the future. NAME & ADDRESS SUPPLIED

On behalf of St Leonard’s Church, Sandridge, I would like to thank everyone who helped to make last weekend’s Flower Festival over our Harvest weekend such a success.

Special thanks to all the local groups and individuals who together contributed more than 40 floral arrangements, to the Mayor Cllr Frances Leonard who opened the three-day event and brought her own arrangement, and the children from Sandridge School who sang at the opening.

Thanks too to the hundreds of people who visited the festival, to the creators of the Sandridge knitted village which won much admiration as always, and community choir Village Voices who gave their harvest concert on Saturday evening.

Particular thanks to Christine Nutton who oversaw much of the weekend’s organisation and those who provided refreshments and welcomed visitors.


Curate, St Leonard’s Church

I was delighted to read that we are not to lose our lovely hospital, although I hope they will retain not only day surgery but the elective surgery which they do so well. I am saddened however by the dismissal yet again of any idea of building the new and accessible hospital which we have needed for so very long. I realise that money is difficult in the NHS at present but I do think that the Trust could plan for the future by setting up a group to plan ahead for a site and possible costings for such a project. The University of Hertfordshire already has a Nursing School , and with the government now acknowledging the need to train doctors there could be a better possibility of developing a full medical faculty linked with a teaching hospital on such a new site and for finding some funding or ways of raising it to accomplish this. At the very least shouldn’t we be actively planning for this rather than yet again placing main services in Watford – the very last place you would want to get to in an emergency.


Elm Drive, St.Albans