Your letters to the Herts Advertiser...

Representatives from local attractions attend the launch of St Albans Heritage Open Days

Representatives from local attractions attend the launch of St Albans Heritage Open Days - Credit: Archant

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It was good to learn from Jenny Swatton of St Albans’ Visitor Partnership (Herts Advertiser December 29) that the city’s visitor economy was worth £188 million in 2015 and that data indicates “record numbers of visitors flocked to St Albans” in 2016.

St Albans district council is already promoting a series of major events for visitors in 2017, in order not only to boost the local economy but also to draw attention to the city’s heritage.

This year the council “has thrown its support behind the Herts Big Weekend” (Herts Advertiser December 22), an annual celebration of the county’s visitor attractions, April 1-2, replacing the Residents Enjoy St Albans, which was previously known as Residents First.

Given the intention of boosting the visitor economy and highlighting St Albans’ heritage, it is disappointing that the council ceased its promotion of Heritage Open Days last year.

Heritage Open Days were established in 1994 as England’s contribution to European Heritage Days and, since then, have grown into the country’s largest heritage celebration.

Last year, in order to ensure the city’s participation in Heritage Open Days, St Albans Civic Society, along with the help of the Herts Advertiser and the support of a wide range of participating institutions, was able to offer over 25 different events and visitor opportunities; for example, the Clock Tower was open, without charge, for a weekend and had over 1,200 visitors.

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This year the Heritage Open Days will be from September 7-10, and not promoting them seems like a missed opportunity, especially when we know that the transfer of the Visitors’ Centre from the Town Hall has resulted in a massive drop in visitor inquiries (Herts Advertiser December 29).

Shouldn’t the council back up its rhetoric about the visitor economy, come on board again with the Heritage Open Days, and partner the Civic Society in promoting St Albans’ wonderful heritage?

PROF TIM BOATSWAIN Chairman of St Albans Civic Society Sopwell Lane, St Albans

People often say that Christmas simply wouldn’t be the same without the sight and sound of a Salvation Army band.

Though small in number, the bandsmen of St Albans Corps enjoyed the privilege of playing Christmas carols at various points around the city and were struck by the overwhelming generosity of so many who willingly contributed towards our work.

Our aim is to continue to offer compassionate support, a listening ear and practical help.

We also appreciated the many gifts of toys which brought a real smile on Christmas Day from vulnerable children across the city.

Our supporters are quite literally, our lifeblood. We do not take your trust lightly and your gifts ensure that we are there for those who need us so desperately.

LT PAUL WILLIAMS St Albans Corps of the Salvation Army

Each local club or branch needs a newsletter as the local voice of its members. Such a club meets each year to decide how it is run. The key officers run the thing between committee meetings, but they rarely keep their own newsletter editor up to date. The role of local club editor is not seen as “the fourth estate”.

The smooth running of local democracy depends on voice: each club’s least important member needs to get a local word in edgeways, whatever the club is there for.

To opine on the battle between a Mosleyite Impress (enforceable by Parliament) on the one hand, and the common sense and sense of humour implicit in an acronym like IPSO – (ipso facto, indeed) on the other, that is beyond my pay grade as a retired local NHS GP.

But the letter by Philip Webster to you last month was spot on.

MICHAEL JAMESON Marlborough Gate, St Albans

This last week, residents in the “Ladder Roads area”, that is the area between Jennings Road and Hatfield Road have received yet again a further consultation on parking.

This ill thought-out and poorly presented consultation by the council and its councillors shows total disregard for those legally parking in this area.

It suggests that a CPZ (Controlled Parking Zone) enables residents to have priority over parking on their street but refers to non-residents parking legally as being “inappropriate” – where else can they park?

Installing a CPZ in the areas suggested by the council will only move commuters further away from the station. Roads such as Churchill Road, Sunderland Avenue, Woodstock Road North and Hamilton Road and maybe even Sandpit Lane, will be filled by commuters wanting to park.

Also have the council considered where the worshippers at the two Mosques in Hatfield Road will park on Fridays – they already have to park over a quarter of a mile from their places of worship? Where will the sixth formers at Verulum School park when they are unable to park in Jennings Road?

It is time the council and its councillors sought to solve the root cause of the parking on these streets by coming up with a proposal with Thameslink to provide adequate and affordable parking facilities near to the station itself instead of pandering to those who complain about cars parking legally on the road.

Why for instance is York Road, the road adjacent to Clarence Park, being considered for a CPZ? It is wide, provides parking for approximately 40 cars without inconveniencing the residents. A case of acute NIMBYism!

What is missing from this document is the cost of setting the whole scheme up and the detrimental effect of even more street furniture being installed, potentially damaging the pavements – are we the residents going to have to pick up the bill for over 100 posts and signage which will be needed, as well as the street marking and maintenance?

Why should we have to pay for the pleasure of stopping outside our own house or the exorbitant charge for parking for visitors to our homes?

Come on councillors you can do better than this – do a bit of lateral thinking.

PETER S NORMAN Brampton Road, St Albans

I spent five days in the De La Mare ward at St Albans Hospital at the beginning of December and would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody for the exceptional care and consideration shown to me.

Very much against my will, I was in great need of help and am conscious of the fact that I was adding to their already overloaded timetable. I shall never forget the staff’s smiling faces - even at 2am!

KATRINA SEMAINE Hemel Hempstead Road, Redbourn

To the person who cowardly responded in an anonymous fashion last week (Herts Ad Jan 5) to my letter in the previous week’s edition:

I would rather be a “do-gooder” as you nastily put it, than a do-nothing as you evidently are. That’s the only response your vile letter deserves.

HELEN CAMPBELL Firwood Avenue, St Albans

A response to the front page article in the Herts Ad on December 29.

The present location of the Tourism Office is totally inappropriate both as to location and services offered.

Visitors to the city, particularly those from other countries, want welcoming face-to-face contact not a redirection to other services or a battery of self-service options.

The former Tourism Office in the Town Hall was well situated and offered a full range of services at a personal level. Is it eventually to be re-located in the refurbished Town Hall or remain where it is now offering a substandard service?

If the latter I think the motives of the district council cabinet (which is heavily weighted towards Harpenden-based councillors) should be scrutinised. Information please!.

MARJORIE BYERS Grange Street, St Albans