Herts Ad Comment: Meadow battle victory and the cost of street lighting changes

This week's editor's comment...

This week's editor's comment... - Credit: Archant

We are far too used to seeing affluent development companies throwing money at planning applications until enough of it sticks to see them win approval.

When it comes to fighting legal battles over whether a scheme is given the green light, corporations seem confident that if they hire the most expensive lawyers and spend the largest amount of cash, they’ll eventually get their own way, either through a process of attrition or simply because they can afford to take matters all the way to the top.

So it must be hugely frustrating for Banner Homes that the situation with regards to Bedmond Meadow doesn’t seem to be going according to type.

After challenging a decision by the district council to list the land as an Asset of Community Value (ACV), they have now lost their latest appeal following previous defeats over the use of the site.

It seemed likely that the company was hoping to develop the land for housing by first applying to graze horses on the meadow, but what initially appeared to be a simple process has left them frustrated by the efforts of Verulam Residents Association (VRA).

It just goes to show that the old David vs Goliath adage can hold true today regardless of the efforts of big business to prove otherwise.

Several years down the line, people have got used to the idea that their roads will be plunged into darkness overnight and have long since given up thoughts that they can do anything about it.

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But that does not make it any easier for parents of young people who worry even more about their offspring nowadays as they make their way home in the pitch black or older people returning from a late night out and unable to see a step in front of them.

So you might think that as the county council is about to introduce LED street lighting which can be dimmed or turned up by a central control room, there might be a case for looking at it again. Some light has to be better than no light.

But no, there is nothing doing on that front and to add insult to injury the county council spent £4.5 million across Herts installing part night lighting to give us the dubious pleasure of wandering around in total darkness and is now upgrading many of those same lighting columns to LED lighting. What a waste of our money.

Of course it is all being done in the name of reducing the county’s carbon footprint - as well as saving money of course. And that would be all well and good if so many commercial buildings weren’t still lit up like a Christmas tree all night. No-one, other than eagle-eyed Herts Advertiser readers who point it out from time to time, seems at all bothered by that.

It’s all very well setting an example but if all you succeed in doing is spending millions of pounds on conversions and upgrades, not alleviating people’s fears when you have the means to do so and ignoring the fact that so many businesses couldn’t care less about the carbon footprint, what is the point?