Why bistro will bring us bother

Further to your coverage of plans for a new bistro in Stevenage Old Town (Comet, July 10) I went to the Stevenage Borough Council planning meeting at which the scheme was granted permission.

Many of the objections related to the historic nature of the building and the presence of bats, points which were covered in great detail by the officer’s report.

What was lacking in the report was sensible information regarding the disturbance which will be inflicted upon the adjoining neighbour, his small garden and the other dwellings beyond the archway between number 9 and number 11 High Street.

The committee chairman did not follow up on a councillor’s request for a site visit – as there was no Old Town ward councillor on the committee, and one cannot expect councillors to have in-depth knowledge of all areas of the town, it surely would have been eminently sensible to arrange such a visit to enable councillors to come to a well informed decision.

The officer’s report made poor reading with regard to disturbances being caused by noise and problems relating to parking.

It is proposed that the bistro will be open to the public for seven days a week from 11.30am until 10.pm at night, so the kitchen will be in operation before and after those hours. Deliveries will be permitted before 9.30 a.m. and after 3.30 p.m.

How does this not equate to creating a disturbance to residents in the adjoining building?

There is also a question relating to safety of pedestrians, some of whom will be pupils going to and from Alleynes Academy, and the congestion caused by delivery vehicles. Access under the archway between 9 and 11 High Street is private.

Whilst Mrs Clinton is to be applauded for realising that there is a possible niche for the type of cuisine she is intending to provide, I do feel that she would have a much larger customer catchment area, therefore more certainty of success with her business if her bistro was in the developed retail area of the High Street.

Name and address supplied

l I do believe Stevenage Old Town needs a bistro.

For too many years now planners have allowed premises to be converted into Asian restaurants, and fast food establishments – how many pizza joints do we need?

This has set a precedent, and councillors have failed to consider the impact on the local area, in which they they probably do not lice.

I do not think the issue here is about whether an historic building be converted sympathetically and thrive in the community, but more about what will stop the appearance in time of Pizza On The Green and The Bowling Green Balti.

D. Butt address supplied

Panel power works for me

In response to Robert Sunderland’s letter last week I am sorry Robert Sunderland’s solar panels are not working properly (Letters, July 3) – if they were he would know that they do still generate electricity through cloud, albeit less than in when there is full sunlight.

If that were not the case we would be plunged in darkness every time the sun goes in!

I do have some sympathy with his view that it is better to use rooftops for panels than ‘farm’ sites.

I was pleased to see the sloped roof on the new North Herts College building in Hitchin, until I realised it was facing north.

Incidentally I understand it is possible to combine solar panels with other uses, such as grazing sheep.

Solar generation is a wonderful future source of power especially in light of recent discoveries as to the cheaper chemicals that can be used.

I am in favour of embracing it, and the solar panels on my own roof have been worth every penny.

Wendy Pitcairn, address supplied

High cost of refuse review

The letter from Councillor Terry Doulis (Comet, July 10) concerning Herts County Council’s consultation on the future of our recycling centres is notable in its omissions rather than its content.

Like the consultation document on the internet, Councillor Douris is giving a very one-sided argument by highlighting what he sees as the benefits of the proposal while completely ignoring the pitfalls.

It is reasonable to assume that following the closure of the Elstree and Hoddesdon sites residents wishing to visit a recycling centre will, on average, face an additional journey length of double the distance to the next nearest site, which comes to an additional 2,445,376 miles per year.

It can be calculated that, assuming an average fuel consumption of 30mpg, then using the government figure of 14.3kg CO2 per gallon (including production and delivery), some 1165 tonnes of additional CO2 emissions will be made a year.

The cost of the additional fuel will be around £500,000 a year assuming an average price of £1.35 per litre (£6.13 per gallon for 81,513 miles).

The proposed weekday closures at all sites will lead to some residents being unable to visit their nearest site, and they will be forced to travel a greater distance to an alternative open site producing even more CO2 emissions and incurring even greater fuel costs.

Some material that could be recycled will now end up in residents landfill bins because they cannot get to a recycling site due to the weekday closures thereby increasing the costs in the form of both collection and landfill tax for district councils.

These proposals don’t save anything at all, they merely shift the cost away from County Hall to district councils, residents and the environment.

I call on Herts County Council to come clean and give us the full facts, and not just those that they want us to see. The consultation document must be revised to properly reflect both benefits and disbenefits and until this has been done the consultation must remain open and no decision should be made.

Geoff Moore, The Aspens, Hitchin

Bizarre claim as cuts bite

I do object to Councillor Terry Douris claiming Herts County Council has protected frontline services (Letters, July 10) when making cuts, and it is somewhat bizarre he should make such a claim when it is clear County Hall will soon be cutting the civic amenity service.

Since the coalition government’s cuts to council grants the county have been chipping away at services across the board whether it is increasing and introducing charges, reducing eligibility for social services, cutting back on highways maintenance, turning off street lights (forgetting to mention the £4.3million it cost), squeezing school budgets, and degrading the terms and conditions of its staff.

These new cuts will create more costs for district councils, lead to increased fly-tipping and inconvenience householders.

If the consultation does not produce the ‘right’ answer it will be ignored.

As with most councils Hertfordshire has been subject to significant government cuts. It does not help residents that we have a executive member pretending they have had no effects on services.

Patrick Newman, Chancellors Road, Stevenage

Let down by lottery snub

As a Hitchin councillor I was hugely disappointed to hear that the North Herts District Council has not been successful in its bid for lottery funding for the redevelopment of Bancroft Recreation Ground.

At the Picnic in the Park event last year, a large number of people from many age groups took part in the consultation about shaping the park’s future. The vast majority were fully supportive of the council’s plans.

It would be a real shame if this decision now means that the plans can’t go ahead and I feel that children in Hitchin in particular will be losing out on what could be a fantastic refurbishment of this important town centre park.

I would like to thank all who came out to support the consultation process, along with the council officers and Groundwork for their hard work getting the project to this stage.

If plans do come back on the table in the future, I do hope that Hitchin residents will support them, so that we have a park that is fit for our future generations to enjoy.

Councillor Joan Kirby, Hitchin Oughton ward

Let’s identify a real issue

While browsing through the Comet’s property pages I was quite irritated to see a property in Chells Manor marked ‘Investors Only’.

On the next page we were told that the letting market is booming and rents are up, elsewhere other propetries were labelled ‘Attention Investors’ and ‘Ideal Buy To Let.’ A two bedroom flat in Stevenage was advertised at £725 a month plus fees, with the tagline ‘Huge Demand For Flats’.

Depending on the area and the property, rent on a flat could go up to £900 a month. The pattern continues through all of the property pages.

This is why genuine first time buyers who have struggled to get a deposit for their first home are continually pushed out.

Investors often go after properties that have little or nothing to do to them, and the minute the sale is complete they have tenants in the property.

Those tenants are almost always the people who have little or no choice because they can’t raise a deposit to buy and they stand no chance of getting a council house, so they are left paying extortionate rents.

When the time comes for my own property to be sold, I will specify that investors must be excluded from viewings as it will not be sold to them.

Name and address supplied.

Tapping into water waste

Who is responsible for the wastage of water at Stevenage Leisure Centre’s gym?

Over the last three weeks, I have been seven times, and even though I have reported it the leaking tap in the men’s shower room has still not been fixed.

When I asked what was being done about it, I was assured that they had sent several emails and the man in question assured them that the job was on his list.

The man whose list it is on should be warned: Deal with it now – or lose your job.

Rumy Kapadia, address supplied

Town events: Turn it down

I wonder why the Hitchin town centre managerment team seems to believe that no event held in Market Place is complete without over-amplified pop music blaring out from loudspeakers?

The last two Saturdays have seen me hurrying past possibly interesting stalls, whilst wincing at the distorted sounds being blasted at me. It’s rather a shame.

Nigel Eaton, address supplied

Delivering a kindly act

I would just like thank the considerate person who picked up an envelope containing my birthday card in Stevenage Old Town and forwarded it to my address in Weston Road.

My daughter-in-law believes that she dropped it in the High Street. Whoever found the envelope not only looked up and added my postcode to the address but put on a first class stamp to ensure I received it the next day.

Name and address

Mural point was spot on

I entirely agree with your correspondent (Letters, July 10)who asked why pupils from a fee-paying school for the over privileged in a completely different town were asked to decorate Stevenage’s railway station?

How ridiculous – did those who commissioned the work not know that there are many schools in Stevenage who would have been far more appropriate for this project? Personally, I think the murals should be removed and replaced by the work of schoolchildren!

C. Williams, Stevenage