Luton Airport expansion fears, rubbish complaints and a mystery rumble have been the subject of some of our letters published today (Thursday).

Airport fear

SIR – I was dismayed to learn that the Government has given the go-ahead to massively expand Luton Airport. The Green Party has stood firmly against expansion from the start.

These plans will see several thousand extra cars pass along the already congested A505 and through the centre of Hitchin every day.

Not only will this congestion damage our local economy, but it will add to the impact of the expansion upon local air pollution.

Figures published by Public Health England show that one in 18 deaths in North Hertfordshire can be attributed to air pollution. How can it be anything but an act of gross negligence for the Government to approve plans that will inevitably increase this shocking statistic?

We call upon North Herts District Council and the Government to implement immediate action to reduce air pollution. We need clean public transport options, plus a huge increase in the numbers of people cycling and walking.

Gavin Nicholson

North Hertfordshire and Stevenage Green Party


Why we should rethink plan for bistro

SIR - I am writing regarding the proposed opening of a ‘bistro’ restaurant in a listed building on the Bowling Green in Old Town Stevenage. Has Stevenage Borough Council really thought this through?

Deliveries to this premises on an already fast stretch of road will cause dangerous traffic congestion and lives could be lost. We must not forget that we have already a lot of traffic build up during term times from the nearby Thomas Alleyne Academy.

Regarding the building - the ancient archway near to the proposed bistro is quite narrow and not meant for large delivery vehicles passing through it and in time the attractive gates will be damaged.

The small garden in front of the property will be demolished to make way for tables and chairs on the pavement. This no doubt will encourage more revellers to join them.

With fully lit signage attached to the building, kitchen odours, eating and drinking going on to the early hours, noise and litter build up, this attractive property will be ruined both externally and internally by all the changes.

Parking in the Old Town is always a problem, and I am sure that customers of the bistro will mistakenly believe that there is parking to the rear of the premises. This is not the case as this area has private gardens which are part of the properties adjacent to and to the rear of the proposed restaurant. This will cause utter chaos for the residents living there, completely ruining their quiet lifestyle.

A further problem has arisen for the developers with the recent discovery of bats roosting in the building, and as they are protected species, may require a survey.

The Bowling Green area in the Old Town is our heritage and the most attractive part of the whole of Stevenage.

What next, are we going to remove the war memorial to make way for another car park.

I hope that Stevenage Borough Council’s planning office will see sense and reject the planning application and we can save this beautiful Grade II listed residential building for our future generations.

Name and address supplied


Poor plan

SIR - May I correct a factual error in David Bundy’s letter (May 1 2014)? Under the ‘normal legislative procedure’, laws must be approved by the Parliament and the Council of Ministers. The latter is the meeting of the appropriate ministers from the member states and they are, of course, elected in their own countries.

It is true that the European Commission proposes and drafts European legislation, but it does not pass into law without approval, and possibly amendment, by these two democratic bodies. The Parliament can also suggest to the commission that they draft legislation on a particular issue and European law is increasingly made in this way.

So, the elections on May 22 are, in fact, for those who will make laws on your behalf that may directly affect you.

Mr Bundy has noticed the reports which appear as paid-for advertisements from our UKIP MEP. However, if you enter ‘MEP’ in the search engine on the Comet website, the only news stories that appear about our representatives in the Parliament concern Richard Howitt, the Labour MEP, with pictures of him in Stevenage and in Baldock. Without a doubt, he is the most active of our seven MEPs in promoting the interests of our region.

Incidentally, UKIP’s policy is to withdraw from the union with our European neighbours. Ironically, this is one of the matters on which the European Parliament cannot legislate. So, voting for them in this election is pointless.

David Bell

Parliamentary spokesperson

North East Herts Labour Party


Real power

SIR - Your reader, Mr Bundy asserts that MEPs have no powers. Sadly this is untrue. MEPs have the power to amend or change EU laws. As a British MEP representing the East of England I have been active with my red pen in altering or deleting large parts of over 150 different EU proposals. All to help British interests, British jobs and British people. The UKIP MEP for our region has done this only once. This information on MEPs activities is available on VoteWatch.

Vicky Ford MEP

Conservative MEP for the East of England


Wrong turn

SIR - In reference to the letter about people turning right into Trinity Road, Stevenage, even though there are plenty of signs instructing no turn, sadly this is a common sight at this junction. It’s about time cameras were installed at this location.

The times I have seen motorists turn down the slip road onto the cycle track by the Esso garage in Lytton Way and have to reverse back after ignoring the large sign painted on the ground (this was before they changed the layout). This is a sign of the times and down to poor driving standards these days. And don’t use the junction of Chequers Bridge and Fairview Road during rush hour as you’re liable to get hit by people cutting the corner (pedestrians beware this happens by the Esso garage in Lytton Way too).

Name and address supplied

Grass farce

SIR - It’s now the end of April and it seems that this urban area of Letchworth GC is being ignored, when it comes to grass cutting.

Letchworth Gate (road) has its grass cut on a regular basis, but the area near the housing of Creamery Court and the houses that face on the North Herts District Council verge, which looks like an overgrown meadow, despite this being an urban area of Letchworth.

So please can both sides of the Baldock Lane, from the area currently under grass cutting, in Letchworth Gate (road), until the change in speed limit signage, be cut on a regular basis.

This should stop this urban area of Letchworth, looking less like a meadow, rather than a ‘garden city’.

Please do not think this is something new, the grass verge has been ignored for years. It would have been like this, if the milking creamery was still in use, but this area is now a housing estate, all be it with its own third party grounds (landscape gardening) contractors, who do a wonderful job, on their side of the district council boundary, but are powerless to care for the district council grass.

Neil Rees

Addresss supplied


Mail mess

SIR - I have just spent nine weeks recovering from Royal Mail the £1.19 surcharged they wrongly made against a standard letter I received. I demonstrated the letter fitted through the width gauge and was within the required 100 grams weight yet my local post office, would not refund the surcharge. During this nine week period I could not open the letter, otherwise the evidence that it was below 100 grams would be lost. Effectively Royal Mail was withholding my mail from me.

I had to complain by telephone to the Royal Mail Customer Services Centre, then write two letters to them and a letter to the Escalated Customer Resolution Team before they would sent me a cheque for the surcharge.

I am now complaining to the Postal Review Panel.

Interestingly my wife was in a post office a few days ago when a lady was caught in the same way: being wrongly surcharged for a standard letter and being refused a refund. Royal Mail is happy for the Post Office to take our money but not to refund it promptly when a mistake is made.

My letter is so obviously standard in every way it is hard to understand how Royal Mail can make these mistakes. Many people will simply not have the time to go through the process of recovering this surcharge and Royal Mail advised they refuse to pay the cost of claiming back the surcharge.

I wonder if any other of your readers have had the same experience and how extensive is this Royal Mail surcharging.

Denys M Preedy

Address supplied


Bin blame

SIR - What, I ask is this nation coming to?

On April 25 I received notification from Stevenage Borough Council that the brown wheelie bins at the site where my allotment is situated in Almonds Lane will not be emptied by the refuse collectors.

Why you may ask? Are they full of toxic waste, are they housing wild man-eating animals? No, they are full of green waste from the allotments on the site, what a surprise at this time of year.

The reason given by the council is that they are too heavy for the poor little darlings employed by the council to wheel to the refuse cart. I remember the days when our refuse men had to carry heavy metal bins full of ashes to the back of the cart and tip them in by hand. Not for them the luxury of wheeled bins and hydraulic hoists. How do I know this? I was one of this band of hard working public employees. No doubt the minions at the local authority will wheel out, (pardon the pun), that the reason for the non collection is down to ‘health and safety’ regulations. In all truth what do they expect a brown wheelie bin at an allotment site to be full of and do they really expect the mainly elderly allotment holders to empty a third of each bin so that the mainly fit younger men employed by the local authority will be able to gently tilt them back onto their wheels and roll them downhill to the back of the refuse cart to empty them, after all we wouldn’t want them to break a nail.

Norman Pipe

Warwick Road



SIR - Why do our refuse collectors refuse to take our waste if we have one extra black sack that won’t fit inside the bin? Isn’t it bad enough they collect fortnightly now?

I remember when refuse collectors were respected, not any more, they are lazy and if it’s not on two wheels, they are not interested. Grow a backbone and do your job like you used to.

Cliff Cummings

Address supplied


Odd noise

SIR - When we first moved to Stevenage in 1963, there was much talk about the ‘Stevenage Rumble’ – a low humming noise that could be heard all over Stevenage.

We lived in Albert Street at the time that I first heard about this, which some put down to jet engines and weapons being tested at British Aircraft Corporation (BAC). However, my neighbours in Stevenage Old Town said that the noise had been heard many years before BAC was built, and there were stories about it coming from an underground river at Roaring Meg, hence the name.

I am sure there were stories about it in the Comet, but, as far as I can recall, the mystery (and that’s what it was) was never solved or proven. We still hear a mysterious rumble from our house in The Hyde area to this day, but, as the traffic has increased somewhat over the years, not many people notice it any more. Can any of your readers shed light on this?

Pete Perry

Elm Walk


Town hope

SIR - The potential resurrection of the town centre redevelopment plan is good news indeed. However, I despair of ever seeing this come to fruition whilst Mr McPartland and Mrs Taylor continue to name call. It is no wonder the electorate have lost interest in politics when such public point scoring seem more important than obtaining results. However, with the general election only a year away it would be naive to expect the two main Stevenage candidates to work together. I believe it is wrong for Mrs Taylor to use the leadership of the borough council as a platform for her general election campaign. This is no longer simply a question of principle. Town centre regeneration is a huge project that will require all our local representatives to work together for the benefit of the community. Mrs Taylor should put that community first and stand aside in favour of a council leader who does not have her conflict of interests.

Paul Beasley

Managing Director

Richmond House Group


Good visit

SIR - Having had the need to be taken to the resus department of the Lister Hospital in the early hours of the morning, it was with trepidation and worry.

However, I had no need to worry at all, as the efficient, professional way I was treated was second to none. I felt I had to write, as so many negative opinions have been apparent. I had every test required within a short period of time and the nurses and doctors were amazing. The unit is fabulous and a credit to the Lister.

Debbie Wallis

Address supplied