A&E debate continued

If Lister Hospital A&E is closed, as a wheelchair bound person it would almost be impossible for me to get to QEII. More people would just ring for an ambulance which will overload them. This government is planning to build thousands of houses north of St

SIR - I feel that I must reply to the good lady of Bursland who asks in last week's Comet what does the council do.

Firstly a little history. A petition was raised in favour of a town council and signatures of 20 per cent of the electorate were obtained, double that required. The district council who seemed worried by the course of events held a referendum (do we want a town council) at a cost of £19,000 of ratepayers money.

I heard no squeals of protest at this waste and when the result was an overwhelming 'yes' a councillor was heard to say if we cannot stop it we must get voted onto it.

However, 24 local people stood for election on a platform of complete independence from any political part and in an event which must be uprecedented in elections the whole 24 were elected. These councillors were elected to be the eyes and ears of the community and within a week of election were approached by a concerned citizen over the removal of sand from the kiddies sandpit at the paddling pool and its replacement with bark chippings. This concern was passed on to the district council and - lo and behold - a few weeks later the sand was replaced.

Since then the council has been approached by Grange estate residents over their worries about a district council regeneration scheme. LGCC intervention has resulted in a district council rethink and a donation has been made towards the new layout.

Further good works carried out by the Garden City Council have been to back the Pasture Road residents in their efforts to prevent overbuilding on their estate and currently backing the Hawksley bungalow residents in their fight to prevent demolition of their homes.

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As regards the financial aspect of the council, all 24 councillors give their services free, the only paid members are their staff, the Clerk and his assistant who keep the council ticking over efficiently on a day to day basis.

It may not be generally known but members of the public are welcome at any of their meetings and can in the daytime bring any of their concerns to the Clerk at the Elim Church in Icknield Way. I just wish that people would spend less time in attacking the Garden City Council and take a look at what is happening in the town.

It might not be long before Garden is removed from the name of Letchworth, anyone who doubts this should take a walk past Letchworth's first school in Norton Road. Maybe if the LGCC was in being in 2003 there might have been a different story.

It is not generally known but the Bishop of St Albans wanted this site as a church school but was denied this by the county authorities.

I hope that the above answers Ms Arnold's queries and might I suggest that she visit the office or meetings to obtain a fuller explanation of council activities.

Derek Hodgson

LGCC Councillor

Norton Road

Letchworth GC

Give kids an

off-road outlet

SIR - I write in response to recent reports regarding the Langford residents' protests at the proposed youth off-road motorcycle facility.

I think it is important that the perspective of the children involved in this sport is also offered. I and many other people who enjoy this activity are angry at the treatment and heavy handedness shown and supported by authorities. Many media and council reports depict all off-road riders as misery-causing thugs whose sole intention is to cause upset to all, this is totally unfounded.

Firstly, I totally agree with removing from the roads, streets and public areas, the illegal motorcycles and helmetless riders causing antisocial and dangerous behaviour. This is no different from illegal car users and should be dealt with accordingly. But the police are now being forced to target anyone with an off road motorcycle no matter whom or where they are, dare I mention the cost of the police helicopter chasing 13-year-olds? With the reduced resources the police suffer is it any surprise that they cannot respond to 'real crimes' any more?

All sports cause disruption and noise in one way or another. How many football matches do you know that don't have crowd noise or fill the streets with cars? It would be unthinkable to call all football supporters loud anti-social hooligans yet all off-roaders are being branded with the same brush. Every other sport imaginable has council run operations, golfers have golf courses, footballers have pitches, tennis, cricket, swimmers, walkers, bowlers, and the list is endless, all with 'given' facilities. Motocross is a well supported sport and growing.

All these people are asking for seems to be a few acres where the sport can be practised safely and legally (which they have found and are willing to pay for). Not all are able to travel the 25-plus miles to find a privately run commercial track. When the novice doesn't get to these tracks and pays the expensive entrance fee they frequently find the tracks far too advanced and intimidating for children new to the sport.

Cracking down on the riders is all well and good as long as alternatives are offered. It's not good enough to shout the 'not on my doorstep' chant in one breath then attack the police for doing nothing to stop youth related crime in the next.

This project's approach is proven to be an effective means of reducing youth crime and disorder; it also provides an exciting positive alternative to drugs and alcohol. I urge the council leaders to take the rational approach when considering this group's fine proposal.

If there is 'genuine and irresolvable' reason why this location should be refused there must be council operated or influenced land that could be converted into a track or facilities for this sport.

Sean McGrath

Address supplied

Plain English please

SIR - I have just read a report delivered to all customers (ie tenants and leaseholders etc) of the new arms-length management organisation (ALMO) which is now Stevenage Homes Ltd.

The title of this report is 'Consultation on Vision and Strategic Objectives'.

The author of this report is Cathy Deplessis, chief executive of Stevenage Homes Ltd.

Has no-one informed Mrs /Miss/Ms Deplessis that SBC won a crystal monk award, approved by the Plain English Campaign.

The report talks of FOSTA/ hierarchy of objectives/ big picture issues/ SMART/ but not defining it in smart terms/ diversity/ strategy/ innovation/ balanced score card/ part of the day job/ tenant compact! Paragraph 3.5 states 'Objectives should be easy to understand and communicable to a wide range of audiences!'

I have lived in Stevenage for 40 years, nearly 20 of them for SBC housing department (now retired) and have never read a document containing so much gobbledegook and spin. I fear Cathy Deplessis is in the wrong job. She should be in 10 Downing Street!

The vast majority of tenants will drop this report straight into the bin (sorry, recycling box) without reading it.

Nancy Kelly

Address supplied

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