Glass balls which are on display in a Letchworth GC fountain as part of an art exhibition has caused much debate in our letters published today (Thursday).

Are the watery balls art or an eyesore?

SIR - In reply to the letter “Glass balls” April 12, 2014.

If the letter writer had bothered to do a bit of research she would have found out that these beautiful glass balls are an art instillation by Mario Ercol Borza and sadly they will eventually be removed.

This and many other artworks can be seen around Letchworth until the end of April as part of the Letchworth A Vision of Utopia exhibition, and there are walking tours being run from the town hall on Saturdays which will hopefully open the eyes and minds of the people dismissing them as “ridiculous”.

I took part in one of these walks, led by a local artist Kimberly Bevan, and left with the idea of how fantastic it is that we have the chance to view these amazing artworks for free.

They may not be to everyone’s taste but look at them all and you might enjoy. Comparing them to a fairground attraction, as the letter writer did, is probably right. In my mind fairground attractions are thrilling, exciting and over too soon, exactly how I feel about these.

Name and address supplied


SIR - On behalf of those planning their wedding photos in Broadway Gardens... we are trying to find out who has ruined the perfect backdrop, and made the insane decision, without consultation, to place the most ridiculous traffic lights in our fountain.

The iconic fountain in the centre of Letchworth has been reduced to a tacky eyesore after a recent addition which has cheapened the entire area. Whoever made the ridiculous decision to waste money and ruin the fountain, please listen to the residents and remove them.

Name and address supplied


SIR - I am in complete agreement with Adrianne Smyth re the cheap looking glass balls placed on the top of our lovely fountain.

Who thought of such a tatty looking gesture and what are they supposed to represent? - Can the Comet enlighten us?

Hoping they are removed as quickly as possible.

Name and address supplied


Flat parking

SIR - I have just read in the Comet of plans to build flats in Letchworth town centre. It appears that after a consultation day a number of people commented on the lack of parking spaces for residents.

This feedback was taken on board and the plans have been amended to include residential car parking.

I am amazed plans can apparently be tabled that do not include such a necessary amenity. Where did planners expect residents to keep their cars? Far too many cars are kept on the roads and this is what clogs them up. There should be a lot more off-street parking available so that roads can be used for driving along without the necessity of weaving between parked cars.

John Farman

Address supplied


Short hours

SIR - In the Telegraph on April 10, page 21 tells us that: ‘six hour working day put to the test in Sweden’.

So what’s new? ‘The day war broke out’ to quote Rob Wilton, comedian, 1881-1954, I was age five and at boarding school in Deal, Kent. (Repeat, aged five!)

As the result of the declaration of war, I was whisked back to Hertford, and spent much of World War II sharing a school with a bombed-out school from Peckham.

We enjoyed morning classes, while the resident school had the afternoons – i.e. 20 hours each.

At 11 I passed for Hertford Grammar School so no harm done there then. In the early 70s I was employed at ICI in Welwyn Garden City. The ‘three day week’ was announced. Surprise, surprise, at the end of the three day week, ICI recorded no loss in output. Come on, Mr Cameron, let’s have full employment and everybody happy with a four day weekend.

B. J. Smith

Whitehill Road



Good deed

SIR - I wonder if you can print my thanks to the mysterious person who found my purse and handed it into the police this week?

My purse must have fallen out of my pocket on Monday afternoon - it could have fallen anywhere on my walk from Westmill into Hitchin town centre and back again.

I called the police on Monday evening to see if it had been handed in, but it hadn’t. Then on Thursday morning it was posted back through my letter box (my neighbour said the police delivered it).

I am so very very thankful to whoever found it and handed it in with all it’s contents to the police. I’m also quite curious as to where I dropped it and who found it...


Address supplied


Election fever?

SIR - I believe there is supposed to be an election in about three weeks time.

You’d never know it though. Where are the election leaflets, canvassers and candidates? How the parties expect voters to make an informed choice is quite beyond me. There has been much written and said after recent elections about voter apathy, but the only apathy I can see is coming from the politicians.

Name and address supplied


Road works

SIR - I have received a number of complaints about two major road schemes.

First, the closure of the junction of Fairlands Way/Mobbbsury Way, the purpose of which is to widen Mobbsbury Way at the junction, thereby allowing two lanes of vehicles to exit onto Fairlands Way.

I have been campaigning for a mini roundabout at this junction since 1989, when it became clear that increased traffic due to the development of Chells Manor was a problem for traffic exiting Mobbsbury Way. After all, most of the other similar junctions on Fairlands Way do have a mini roundabout. However, neither Stevenage Borough Council (SBC), who had responsibility for highways until 2002, or Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) who have had it since then, would do this, despite repeated requests.

A few years ago, HCC had a plan to make the junction left turn only out of Mobbsbury Way, but this idea was dropped in favour of getting the developer of Nobel School to sort out the junction as ‘planning gain’. The developer would only widen the junction. The work was supposed to have been done before Nobel’s new buildings were occupied (nearly 2 years ago) – but despite regular reminders from myself, neither the developer nor HCC made progress until recently.

The relevant Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) had errors in it (which I sorted out) and I asked the contractor/HCC to deliver a letter about the works to the affected area. They failed to do this and in fact sent a letter to only about 10 houses near the junction (forgetting to copy it to me!) Also, the bus companies/HCC failed to inform residents by leaflets about the consequent disruption to the bus service and the HCC Intalink website was wrong until I got it corrected. The work is supposed to finish on 9 May.

Second, re-surfacing of The White Way, which I have ordered from my 14/15 Highways Locality Budget (HLB), at a cost of £45,000, in order to extend the life of the road. In 13/14, I did the central section and the two bell mouths, but this year the remaining stretches will be done. There are two phases. Phase 1 was done in about 3 days from 20 March, and involved extensive patching, a necessary preparation for phase 2, which is the surface dressing and which should take less than a day later this year.

However, there were problems with the information provided to residents by the contractor/HCC. The roadside signs did not agree with letters to residents about times of works, until I got the signs corrected. Also, the letters read as if all The White Way would be closed for all 5 days, whereas I had arranged access for residents would be maintained at all times, albeit with slight delays. Nobody told the bus company about the works until I did.

I did my best to inform local residents of the facts about both these jobs at my residents’ meetings, street meets and in leaflets, but the fact is that the contractors/HCC should have provided better quality information to residents (and to me). I will be expecting them to do better when it comes to phase 2 of The White Way works.

Councillor Robin Parker



Easy money

SIR - As a former Herts police officer, I am amazed that the PCC should even contemplate employing an already well paid council official an additional £19,500 for one days work per week.

I fail to see why a PCC is necessary at all. I did not vote for one, believing such an individual would contribute nothing to policing in this country. The police authority could have been given a ‘make over’ for less cost, and continued to represent the paying public with the chief constable and the service in general.

The whole concept of a PCC looking over the shoulder of a chief officer is a stunt dreamed up by the government. However, to return to the point, £19,500 for one day a week, nice work if you can get it.

Name and address supplied


MEP job

SIR - Dave Walton asks who his MEP is and what he does (Letters, 17 April). In the six counties that make up the eastern region, there are in fact 7 MEPs who represent him.

I can’t speak for the other parties, but his UKIP MEP is Stuart Agnew, a Norfolk farmer. As a member of the Agriculture & Rural Development and Fisheries Committees in the European Parliament, Stuart is often a lone voice speaking up for British farmers and fishermen.

He is also a substitute member of the Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs Committee, and between 2009-2014 took part in an impressive 91.1% of plenary votes.

However, he does not neglect his constituency duty, taking up cases of small/medium enterprises caught up in EU red tape, and appearing in committee with Thalidomide survivor, Liz Buckle, to support her campaign for compensation. All of Stuart’s activity is recorded on his website:

As for showing his face, Stuart regularly attends both UKIP branch meetings and social events; he won a debate in the Oxford Union, and is happy to visit any school that cares to invite him.

In the May election, he will be supported by Patrick O’Flynn, who recently stepped down as chief political editor of the Daily Express, Tim Aker, who is head of the UKIP Policy Unit, and Mark Hughes, a local businessman and former Mayor of Royston.

Within Bedfordshire, UKIP MEP candidates have addressed free public meetings in Ampthill, Luton, Bedford and Biggleswade, all of which were well attended and included a lively question and answer session. So if Mr Walton cares to reach out to UKIP, we will more than meet him half way.

Roger Smith

Deputy Chairman

UKIP Bedfordshire


Street clutter

SIR - We are writing in response to Pat Grogan’s email regarding street clutter.

We agree that advertising boards and outdoor seating can be a hindrance to those who are blind or partially sighted. For this very reason, Stevenage Borough Council introduced a policy in 2002 to reduce the amount of street clutter in the town centre.

At the time, the town was over-run with signs and when the policy came in to force, all A-boards in the busier parts of the town centre were banned. They are now only permitted in Park Place, Market Place and Queensway leading down to ASDA under strict guidelines. The boards must not exceed a footprint of 1m and must be placed over the gully directly in front of the premises, keeping the walkways under the canopies clear.

Outdoor seating is permitted because visitors expressed a real desire to be able to sit outside in warm weather. However, the tables and chairs have to be placed in the centre of the pedestrianised area so that the walkways are kept clear.

We believe that these measures have greatly reduced street clutter and that those businesses that use advertising boards or have outdoor seating are doing so in a responsible manner.

Tracey Parry

Town Centre Manager

Stevenage Town Centre Management Co


Car worry

SIR - I am concerned that car drivers are travelling at speed whilst resting only one hand or finger on the steering wheel.

In the event of the front tyres meeting an obstacle on the road the car will change direction before the driver can place both hands on the steering wheel.

The result could be another fatality.

I feel safer pedalling my bicycle than being a passenger in one hand driven vehicles.

John Windebank

St Ippolyts