Council on the road to gaining credibility

IF Letchworth Garden City Council continues in its current vein, it could win the support of some of the thousands of residents who voted for the abolition of the council earlier this year. Since its inception, the council has come in for criticism for se

IF Letchworth Garden City Council continues in its current vein, it could win the support of some of the thousands of residents who voted for the abolition of the council earlier this year.

Since its inception, the council has come in for criticism for seemingly focussing on its spats with Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation instead of on its own remit. But in recent weeks it has taken assertive action which I think is of particular value to the community, and reflects the potential worth of a town council.

Town councillors recently took to the streets with a petition which raises concerns about the safety of the filter lane connecting junction 9 of the A1(M) with Letchworth Gate.

In a short time almost 3,500 signatures were collected, calling on Herts Highways to take action.


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Since the filter lane was created in 2006, as part of a roadworks scheme that cost an estimated £1m, drivers have complained that the junction is dangerous because the angle of entry prevents a clear view of oncoming traffic from the busy roundabout.

The strength of feeling from drivers is evident, but Herts Highways has so far appeared reluctant to do anything to really make a difference.

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To date, it has carried out a safety audit and applied red anti-skid paint to the road's surface in a bid to direct vehicles to approach the junction at a more acute angle.

What is really needed is a complete overhaul of the junction, but that of course would be costly and would force those responsible for the planning debacle to hang their heads in shame and admit they were wrong.

While Herts Highways insists there have been few accidents since the filter lane was established, and that it has helped to reduce a build-up of traffic on the slip road, the fact remains that drivers do not feel safe and they do not feel confident using the junction. Some even choose to avoid the junction altogether.

Letchworth Garden City Council, unlike Herts Highways, has listened to the town's residents and decided to take action on their behalf - presenting the petition to Cllr Stuart Pile, Herts County Council's portfolio holder for resources and environment, last week.

This is what a town council should be doing - representing residents on issues which concern them and taking appropriate action.

Letchworth Garden City Council has also given a £15,000 grant to Dial-a-Ride in Letchworth GC, allowing the lifeline to continue running for those residents in the town who rely on it.

These two instances give me hope that the council is headed in the right direction.

Their sole focus should be the community, not squabbling with the Heritage Foundation and North Herts District Council.

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