Review of the year: April
PUBLISHED: 17:14 24 December 2017
A big talking point in April was North Herts District Council’s decision to ditch 180 of its 432 dog waste bins – with dog walkers in Hitchin and Letchworth hanging their pets’ poo in bags on the vacant posts in protest.
The move was to save £29,000 per year, with the roughly 1,300 litter bins across the district’s parks now accepting dog faeces.
The district council said funding structures were being seriously eroded at all levels by central government and cost-cutting decisions like this one were being made by local authorities across the country.
Staying with the animal theme, families in Arlesey were left traumatised by the sudden deaths of at least five cats from suspected antifreeze poisoning.
The RSPCA said it was unclear if the poisonings, thought to involve ethylene glycol antifreeze, were deliberate or accidental but appealed to pet owners to be vigilant.
The month also saw the passing of two well-known community figures.
Long-standing Stevenage councillor and former town mayor Graham Clark died at the age of 76.
Graham, who was mayor of Stevenage in 2008, represented the Woodfield Ward on Stevenage Borough Council after its creation following boundary changes in 1999, and became leader of the Conservative group in 2000.
The borough council’s leader, Sharon Taylor, said following his death that she was “grateful for his significant contribution to Stevenage”.
And former mayor of Arlesey and prominent Letchworth figure Hugh Harper died at the age of 85 following a battle with leukaemia.
Hugh had lived in Arlesey all his life and chaired Arlesey Town Council from 2006 to 2011.
A community-spirited man through and through, he also co-founded and chaired the Arlesey Residents’ Association from 2011.