THE letters in the Comet on Thursday, June 20


SIR - Please could everyone stop and consider how negative they sound about the recycling initiative.

I, for one, am pleased that I will no longer have to take my family’s plastics (about two boxes a week) to a plastics recycling bin using up my time, energy and (unless I walk carrying bags of the stuff) costing me the petrol to do it. Often, I find these bins are full anyway, which compounds the problem for individuals, but this just shows how much plastic rubbish we generate and that many people do want to recycle.

I understand the concerns that people have over how it will work, what to put in which bins, where the bins will be stored etc. I appreciate that it will cause some confusion and stress for some people in our community for various valid reasons. However, if we all help anyone we know who requires support with this change and ask for help from NHDC (which they have offered to give) I am sure this change can be accomplished as smoothly as possible. The amount of rubbish we all produce in our various households is not the fault of NHDC. Perhaps more should be done further back in the supply chain so that manufacturers, wherever possible, make and sell products with less “rubbish” containing them in the first place?

In my opinion, NHDC are doing their best to find the simplest and cheapest way to get rid of/recycle the waste we all produce in our homes. The information they have provided has been very thorough and as clear as possible. I knew of this change from details in their magazine which was delivered a while ago. The article explaining all the reasons why we have to have a new bin was informative, concise and very helpful. Maybe some people, who were able to, did not read this article so that is why they are not clear about the changes? We also received more info this week in the form of a flyer attached to our bin when it was emptied this week. I am looking forward to getting my purple bin next week.

It is all too easy for people to moan about change and how difficult it will be and how it is always someone else’s fault. Of course, there will be some confusion and teething problems, this is inevitable when things have to change. All change in life requires effort from people. However, I think most people see recycling as ‘the right thing to do’ and they agree that landfill has to stop.

I see this initiative as a major step forward. Why are local people critical of that?

Romy Gwinnett

Address supplied


SIR - On the latest recycling idea for North Herts, I agree the council have got it right this time, however I’d like to ask where the reduction in council tax is for storing all these bins in my garden? I have nowhere for them so they greet me at the front door every day, I could think of better ornaments.

Name and address



SIR - Whilst I applaud the local council’s attempt to get more folk to recycle and be more conscious towards what they are putting out to landfill, could I ask the council if they could come and remove my nice new shiny purple bin (my garden now is awash with multi coloured rubbish receptacles), melt it down, add some stone chip to the mix and pour it over the rather very bad road surface at the top of the Bedford Road in Letchworth?

The surface at the ‘triple roundabout’ is (being polite as possible) shocking. Shocking enough that it has been left for close to one to a year with a mere token of tar being ‘band aided’ to one, not all, small pot hole.

I see that over the weekend someone has highlighted the fact that the road surface is so poor and spray painted in large yellow text ROAD TAX? Unknown person I applaud you.

Stuart Gregg

Kite Way

Letchworth GC



Sir – Most days I make a point of walking along the delightful little pathway that wanders through the Gaping Lane allotments. I’ve taken photos of it at different times of the seasons to record its beauty. Sadly our councillors, in their wisdom, have decided to send the bulldozers into this magical spot, and it seems that soon it will be just a memory.

I’d advise any of your readers to take a photograph of any little corners of North Herts that mean a lot to them. Our ‘representatives’ seem determined to destroy so much of it.

H. Richards




SIR - We should all welcome the opening of the newly built Marriotts School last week as part of the previous government’s Building Schools for the Future programme. But we should remember that the secretary of state Mr Gove who appeared at short notice to carry out the opening is the same right wing Tory who cancelled over half of this building programme for the majority of the town’s secondary schools.

Indeed this is the same Mr Gove who is spearheading an attack on local authority schools by enforcing schools to convert to locally unaccountable academies sponsored by whose ever arm they can twist and so called free schools. His latest twist is to allow these schools to employ untrained teachers. Now he wishes to break up the GCSE examination system in 2015. MPs have raised strong concerns about education reforms, which set out separate exams systems in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, saying such a move would be “regrettable”.

These measures along with his constant attack on teachers and their unions is aimed at restoring the Tory dream of two stream education in order to reduce to the minimum the opportunity for children of hard working families to go on to university. Should the Tories by misfortune get elected to power in 2015 large sections of our education system may well be handed over to the greedy for profit education companies.

What most of us want for our children is that all our local schools should be good schools democratically accountable to the local authority we elect. So Mr Gove after your quick unheralded visit to Stevenage do us all a favour, restore the Building Schools for the Future Programme for all Stevenage Secondary Schools, then resign. That would be the only two positive actions you would have made as Secretary of State for Education.

John Gardner

Chair Hertfordshire County Labour Party



Sir - Paul Beasley, director and co-founder of biz4biz, writes of the need to raise the level of debate on matters such as taxation and employment legislation.

He advocates an independent point of view, free from political bias or prejudice and then praises Lawson’s 1988 budget that cut the higher rate of tax from 60per cent to 40 per cent. Lawson, the Tory chancellor whose giveaway budget was followed two years later by a crash in GDP to less than one per cent and a doubling in the rate of inflation. Nowadays the so called Lawson boom is widely regarded as a classic example of economic ‘boom and bust.’

Strange to see this being lauded by Mr Beasley especially given his declared commitment to reasoned debate. One can only hope and pray that his logic isn’t representative of the quality of thinking and reasoning in the wider business community.

He next goes on to write that current employment legislation is a barrier to jobs and growth. He knows this because the members of biz4biz have told him so. Okay, that’s one perspective. What about other views like OECD research showing the UK as already having a more flexible labour market than most other OECD countries? Or how about the current Coalition Government’s own research in 2012 which showed that employment legislation is mentioned as a significant barrier by less than 10 per cent of small and medium enterprises. The real barrier to jobs and growth is reported as being the state of the economy or as the well-known quip elegantly puts it ‘it’s the economy, stupid’.

The fact that Mr Beasley advocates raising the level of debate about crucially important issues such as taxation and employment legislation is to be applauded. His advocacy of an independent point of view free from bias and prejudice is similarly welcomed. I do wish him well in developing these competencies.

Chris Hutton

Address supplied



SIR - My wife and I would like to offer our congratulations to The Settlement Players at Letchworth.

The director Cliff Francis, the cast and all contributed to a first rate production of the play Breaking the Code by Hugh Whitemore. It was a most imaginative production and the performances of the cast were outstanding. Ivan Phillips gave a most convincing and sensitive portrayal of a very remarkable man whose loss to the country through bigotry and persecution is so regrettable. We also particularly admired the performances of of Ian Mutton and Jacob Powell aided by the rest of the cast who gave good support. The director’s use of projected images was an inspired touch. Hugh Whitemore’s play and the production itself were both very faithful to Andrew Hodges book The Enigma and to other writing about Alan Turing. Although we have read quite widely about him the Settlement Players performance provided us with new insights into his character as a result of the excellent production. For that and for a most interesting evening we offer the whole company many thanks. This was our first evening at this little theatre and we look forward eagerly to our next visit.

Bert and Val Millington

Address supplied



SIR - Being a father of three young children I was shocked to see a sign next to the A1 recently. It was on a yellow sign, right next to the A1 with large black writing saying ‘sex shop’.

We had taken a trip out with the children and I knew there was a supplier of children’s garden houses next to the A1 so I asked the children to look out for that on the left hand side as we travelled north.

They saw the multi coloured houses but my wife and I were then shocked to see and be quizzed by the Children on the ‘sex shop’ sign.

Being only 12, 10 and seven, as parents, we were obviously very angry that they had been exposed to this in such an obvious way without our consent.

I do not have any objection to their business, but I do object to their location and the way in which they are advertising these facilities on one of the busiest roads in the UK.

A friend of mine informed me that he took a drive further north and counted five sex shops on the A1 and the company behind this apparently now has approximately 22 facilities around the country.

I can’t sit back and watch our country go down this path by allowing sex shops to be set up in such public places.

My greatest concern with the Sex Shop by Sandy on the A1 is that this is right next to a petrol station. Any parent driving in to buy petrol could potentially leave their children, of any age, looking straight at all the signs they have on the front of the shop.

Additionally, if children are being left in cars next to this facility whilst parents go in to pay for petrol you are running a huge risk by having children sitting open to potential risk from pests and paedophiles who may decide to drop in at the same time. This can’t be allowed to happen.

Once again, I am not knocking the business as they obviously do provide a service for which there is a demand from innocent people wanting to simply buy adult goods and get on their way for their own private use. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that but it’s the risk of undesirables visiting the facility whilst children are also in the same vicinity, potentially left alone, that leads me to write this letter and really concerns me.

I have spoken to local councillors who have tried to block the licensing of these facilities in the past and to date they have been unsuccessful.

If the facility must stay for a legal reason, all signs need to be taken down and the owner should be asked to advertise on the internet only so that no children can see this from the petrol station or from the A1. Additionally the petrol station and sex shop should both ensure appropriate CCTV cover is in place and clearly advertised to anyone who decides to visit the facility so that they know they are being watched and risks to children left in cars are significantly reduced as best can be done, considering the need for the site to be there.

Peter Joyce

Address supplied



Sir - Central government has plans to allow councils to retain half of the business rates they collect. This sounds very promising, until you look around and see that so many shops around our North Herts towns stand empty, or are occupied by charitable organisations, and therefore earn the council half of nothing.

It should at the very least be an incentive for North Herts District Council to promote economic activity in our area, as councils up and down the country are attempting to do.

An economic development officer at NHDC could help negotiate shop rents, identify and approach absentee corporate landlords, promote and support businesses... All things officers do in districts around us.

Here in North Herts since the post became vacant a few years ago, the Tory administration has continued to set aside some budget for the post, but has refused to advertise it because, as they tell my Labour colleagues and me whenever we raise the issue, they don’t see what good it could do.

It is a shame that through a lack of vision we are not in a position to make the most of opportunities that come our way.

Cllr Lorna Kercher

Deputy leader Labour group

North Herts District Council



SIR - I have read your recent article about the failings at Featherstone Wood primary school and I believe that the complaint has been raised far too late.

At Easter this year I would have agreed with what the parent was reporting, but now that the school is showing great improvement it is such a shame that this story was published. The stand-in headteacher has made some real progress in such a short time and as a result the children seem much happier and more settled. The new head has also been working with the children to raise their confidence in their school and in themselves, this can only be damaged by such an article, that had no real substance, being published. The school is improving and parents are constantly being asked to help with this, as are the children with the new school council giving the children a voice and the chance to be involved in the change. I attended a coffee morning with the stand-in headteacher just before the article was published and I came away from the meeting feeling far more positive about the future of the school, as did all the parents I spoke to after the meeting. This is why I am upset for our children that this article has been published now and not three months ago.

J Kirton

Address supplied



SIR - I Would like to say a huge congratulations to Gabz on her performances. She may not have won BGT but she has great talent. I can’t stop singing the song (The One) I hope it gets released well done Gabz another great talent, legend from Stevenage

S Searle

Address supplied



SIR - Spring Clean Letchworth’s fourth annual litter pick took place around the garden city in May. A total of 17 teams of local community groups which included guides, scouts and cub packs took part. We are delighted to report that 206 volunteers collected 121 bags of litter of which more than half was recycled. St Christopher School plans to litter pick early next month.

Residents have commented that the town, especially the residential and communal areas, are noticeably cleaner. Broken glass is proving a problem in the Pixmore area said one resident, who has had several punctures to her mobility scooter tyres.

Our thanks go to the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation for financing the event and NHDC and ‘The Big Tidy Up’ for providing support and equipment. We are most grateful to all the volunteers for their magnificent efforts.

Enda, Heather,


Meher and Sheryl

The Spring Clean Letchworth committee



Sir - It was interesting to read your article on page 19 last week “From our Files”.

My husband, Kenn Ellis, cut the tape to open Littlewoods as he was chairman of Stevenage Council in 1963.


Address supplied