Bypass is a boost

PUBLISHED: 14:02 06 April 2006 | UPDATED: 09:55 06 May 2010

The design of Baldock bypass reveals the true aim was building a further section of a long distance east-west road for the benefit of traffic, not to save the environment of Baldock. Building a flyby instead of a roundabout at the eastern end means that a

The design of Baldock bypass reveals the true aim was building a further section of a long distance east-west road for the benefit of traffic, not to save the environment of Baldock. Building a flyby instead of a roundabout at the eastern end means that all three flows of traffic are kept on the new road. Jams are shifted inevitably to Letchworth Gate while the deserted centre of Baldock faces a sleepy future surrounded by new housing estates.

The long term answer to congestion is not to build more roads (which only increase traffic) but to increase the self-sufficiency of communities so there is less need to travel. That does not suit the vested interests, including NHDC and HCC Highways Dept. So the planning system is roaring ahead with destroying the diversity of activities in our historic towns and increasing the need to travel to work, to shop and to play.

The greatest crime is allowing private housing to take over land historically used for small businesses, workshops and markets, as that shrinks the area available for public uses not only now but effectively for all time, denying future generations the most vital resource for regeneration of town life.

The rapid loss of character and interest in towns like Baldock and Hitchin will continue until town councils are formed whose members are elected for competence and actually know the towns they manage.

ROBIN DARTINGTON, West Hill, Hitchin

* I write in response to the letter in last week's edition 'Was this worth the effort?' (The Comet March 30) from Susan Wakelin concerning the effect of the now open Baldock bypass.

I think there is a misunderstanding here. The delays currently being experienced at Letchworth Gate are the result of the last remaining highways works linked to the Baldock bypass. Slip roads are being constructed to ensure that motorists can access the A1(M) without having to stop at the roundabout. Once the works are complete the queues should disappear and motorists will be able to access the motorway from the bypass even quicker.

The bypass has been incredibly successful in removing the horrendous traffic problems Baldock was experiencing. I, together with my Conservative Baldock councillors, will continue to develop and support the town. We now have a unique opportunity to make our town a vibrant, safe and historic place to live and visit.

MICHAEL MUIR, District Councillor, Baldock Town

* Regarding Baldock bypass, what a crabby lot we British are becoming, what jaundiced views spill out in relation to even the most reasonable developments.

Susan Wakelin's letter is immensely saddening really, because it is so cynical, negative and short-sighted. I do hope her attitude is not entirely typical of feelings locally about the bypass. Seventy years it has been sought for, and any fool with half an eye could see that the town's suffering must worsen if the gradual strangulation of its streets was not dealt with. Susan lives in Letchworth and seems not to have a scrap of empathy with the Baldock people in their hour of deliverance and potential rebirth, or is she envious?

New traffic build-up in her home town is identified but the bypass cannot be the cause, as there is no mystical new source of demand, nor does the road lead anywhere other than to where it went previously. Baldock is on a main road to somewhere important, whereas Letchworth is not - not yet - so of course it does not need a bypass, but it may need alternative or better independent access to the A1(M). Let Susan lend her energy creatively to such a positive quest as did Baldock.

Cannot the lady appreciate what potential benefit can flow to local businesses, present and future, in this cluster of Letchworth, Baldock and Stevenage sub-regional centre, set as we are astride the massively important A1(M), now there is a vastly improved and improving still connection to the Cambridge technology honeypot? We have people, our people need jobs, and advancing technology needs people.

LEONARD A LAMBERT, Chells, Stevenage


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