LETTERS: Comet August 16

THE letters published in the Comet on Thursday, August 16.


SIR - The Olympic Games have been an outstanding success and massive credit must go to the origination and everyone who was involved from the helpers at Luton airport to Lord Coe himself, and as a Briton I am very proud of what has been done.

But in life you will always find people who revel in being miserable. People, who like to moan, grizzle, complain and deride the efforts of others. They enjoy criticism as an art form and are never happier than when they are bitching about something or someone. You will generally find these kinds of people are those who do nothing for others and stand back when the requests for volunteers are made.

They contribute nothing to the world and are self-centred takers. So over the next few weeks you will hear their criticism of the games, remember the above and ignore them.

They are sad, mean spirited, unhappy people.

Ron Walker

Most Read



SIR - After the Olympics we have had the media say how the young generation will be inspired to take up sport and that it is a shame that playing fields are being sold off.

I live less than a minuite walk from a very large playing field and yet the local children still insist on using the street to play on.

It’s not just once in a while, it is all the time. In fact the local playing field seems to be mostly used by dog walkers and the Sunday morning adult football league.

If the local council were to announce that part or all of the field was to be sold off there would be outcry.

So providing access to facilities is only the start of the problem there needs to be something more to get children off the street and onto the provided facilites.

Dr Adrian Emery

Address supplied


SIR - First Capital Connect wins London 2012 Booby Prize.

Travelling to London over the past two weeks has been marked by the tremendous good humour engendered by London 2012, despite the efforts of First Capital Connect. Overcrowding, short trains and sullen staff have been the hallmark of its operations.

No attempt at all has been made to lengthen trains to reflect increased passenger demand resulting in a miserable travelling experience from many people from North Herts. First Capital Connect has had previous form in the past few months when they have failed to recognise large public events in London. Surely for the Olympic Games it wasn’t too much to ask to have the maximum rolling stock out on the network rather than sitting idle in Hornsey yard.

Cavalier disregard for passenger comfort seems to be the prevailing ethos within the company.

Derrick Ashley

County Councillor

Hitchin South



SIR - Neil Thurstance is nostalgic for local rail services that have long since been abolished (Letters, 9 August). However, it wasn’t only branch lines that suffered: perhaps the biggest casualty was the Great Central line. So it is ironic that much of what was originally conceived as a through service from Manchester to Paris is being resurrected for HS2 (but not the stop to connect to the West-East route that he mentions).

The Hitchin Rail Users’ Group is more concerned with the future, both safeguarding and building on the current service. To that end, we have submitted a detailed response to the the consultation on a Department for Transport proposal for one enormous franchise, that would unify both the Great Northern and Thameslink arms currently operated by First Capital Connect, and the Southern and parts of the South-Eastern networks.

Among our many suggestions is an upgrade of the Hertford North line to relieve the Welwyn bottleneck, and minimise disruption when used as a diversion route; a regular fast bus service between Hitchin and Luton Parkway/Airport; reinstatement of the connections at Peterborough to/from the fast Edinburgh services, most of which were axed in the Eureka timetable; from 2018, a through Hitchin - Gatwick service, with a connection to Crossrail - and finally an additional service to Arlesey on weekdays between the 22.23 (too early for many) and the 23.23 (too late).

Our next meeting is on 4 September at 8pm in the Hitchin Initiative office; Mr Thurstance would be very welcome to join us.

Roger Smith


Hitchin Rail User Group



SIR - It was so good to see the farmers market in Stevenage High Street on Saturday. With the Olympic flags still fluttering and the sun shining it was one of the scenes of the summer. Now I’m wishing for a traditional Christmas fair in December along the High Street to set the scene of the winter. #proudofourtown

Laura Wenn

Address supplied



SIR - I’m pleased to see in your pages that Hollow Lane has finally solved its parking problem.

However, all that has really happend is that it has exported it up the hill to the already grid locked St John’s Road, a busy rat-run of a street that already has to cope with all the drivers avoiding Hitchin’s tortuous town centre so-called traffic system, the constant comings and goings of fire engines from the fire station in Newton’s Way, the ambulance first response vehicles from the same address, all day overflow parking for the numerous meetings held at Highbury Mixed Infants School and then every morning and mid afternoon the parents’ cars collecting their children from there too.

Oh yes and far, far down the list the actual car parking needs of the road’s poor residents, many of whom are elderly. And of course now, hooray, we get to welcome those lucky enough to own often very new vehicles who work in the town centre but don’t wish to pay to park there. If St John’s Road were a person I reckon it should be up for some sort of award, not least for it’s service to the wider motoring community, oh yes, and its patience.

Name and address




Sir -Surely councillor Ray Shakespeare Smith is guilty of double standards over his silence on the plan to sell off Top Field to that well known destroyer of High Streets, Tesco.

The chairman of the Hitchin Area Committee insists he cannot comment on the scheme to exile Hitchin Town FC to St Ippolyts because he may one day be asked to vote on the detailed planning application as a member of NHDC planning committee.

But such a self imposed order did not stop him welcoming the plans to turn the old Post Office in Hermitage Road into a hotel with shops and houses alongside it.

He told your paper that the scheme would help revive Hermitage Road as a shopping area, even though the developers have yet to submit a planning application which he will have to vote on, probably next year.

So he can talk about Hermitage Road development but not Top Field development, double standards, as I said.

Perhaps the real reason for his silence is that he does not want to embarass his fellow Tory councillor, Richard Thake, who has also taken a vow of silence because he also sits on the body which has come up with this outrageous scheme, the self appointed Hitchin Cow Commoners Trust.

Tom Condon

West Hill




SIR - I wanted to write in about the article that you featured online recently.

The article is called How to Survive the School Holidays and I wanted to state that Claire Smith’s views are not a true representation of a mum. I have three children and both me and my husband work full-time. Although the summer holidays can be a challenge juggling work and childcare, we all look forward to them. The children have time to recharge their batteries and we get more quality time as a family together, I would hardly call this torture.

Claire Smith obviously finds her children (if she has any) a challenge but to the parents who do not, we do not need to be given advice like ignore them and sit them in front of the TV, we are intelligent mums who have the ability to keep our children happy, loved and occupied in the summer holidays, so instead of Claire Smith’s views on hellidays I would rename it happy days.

I don’t really do this tongue in cheek writing, this article has got me ruffled.

Lisa Maynard

Address supplied



SIR - As a recently arrived resident to Priestley Road, Stevenage I have been acutely aware of the progress of the building project. I knew what I was letting myself in for when I bought my house here, but I was completely unprepared for the lack of information being provided to those of us intimately affected by the construction process and changes being made to the immediate environment.

In the last two weeks activity has focussed on landscaping with fences being erected and footpaths being closed without any information or consultation with those of us who will have to live with these “improvements”. There have been rumours of newsletters and meetings, but I have never received any information from the contractors. I would like to know what provision is being made to protect my property from stray footballs and cricket balls. I also need to know if I will still be able to walk across the field or the adjacent footpaths to access bus services and Fairlands Valley Park. I think that the contractors’ silence has also engendered a lot of ill feeling and upset among my neighbours as well.

Michael Malkiewicz

Address supplied



SIR - Coincidentally with your recent spate of correspondents questioning the arrangements of the junction at the A1(M) at Letchworth Gate I witnessed another ‘near miss’ there just last week.

I too have written to both your good selves and the highways department in the past all apparently to no avail. Perhaps this latest attempt at publicising what is undoubtedly a dangerous junction may spur the council into doing something about it.

Unfortunately some of your correspondents miss one vital point, which concerns the idea of a ‘No Left Turn’ sign at the junction approach when coming north off the A1(M). Whilst this may reduce the problem to some extent by preventing those driving in that direction from taking that turn into Letchworth, it does not take into consideration travellers from Baldock or the north coming south off the motorway and wishing to turn towards the Garden City.

Co-ordinated traffic lights are of course one solution, but this I believe would entail parliamentary sanction, before anything could be done. The real answer to this problem as most professional drivers have been citing ever since the junction was instigated, is to add an extra traffic lane from the junction along the 200 metres or so to join up with the existing filter into Willian Road. There is little in the way of carrying out such work, grass verges, kerb stones, a few shrubs and signs, but no property of any sort. By laying in a new lane and extending the central kerb a few more yards, all the traffic coming off the motorway can quite safely turn into this lane and filter into the existing lane if travelling on to Letchworth or stay in the lane if wishing to turn left to Willian. Traffic from the north or Baldock can easily filter into the lane quite safely as well.

However I fear nothing will be done until there is a fatality at the location, as I believe there are some (probably unwritten) laws within the power that be, that until a certain number of people are killed at a junction or other black spot (I think the going rate is three) nothing will be done.

Barrie C. Woods

Eastern Way

Letchworth Garden City


SIR - The problem regarding Letchworth Gate is that every motorist that uses the junction knows that it is wrongly configured.

Equally, it does not matter how many people complain and write to your newspaper, local councillors, Herts Highways, Herts County Council or even the HMG’s department responsible for transport et al.

Herts Highways know full well that they have got it wrong but they have not got the humility or guts to admit it and take urgent corrective action until someone gets killed.

Name supplied




SIR - I refer to the letter by Sylvie Lawrence re street lighting. It does appear that the answer to “save energy” is to actually switch street lights off at a certain time of night.

This, as Sylvie states, is great for the criminal fraternity that prowl our streets. However there is a far simpler solution. One manufacturer has developed a fantastic piece of kit that dims the lighting as the night draws on leaving any percentage of light you require on in the darkest hours. Not only that but they can control the lights with 15 minute intervals hence following the nights drawing in and out.Therefore in deepest winter the lights can be on 100 per cent at 4.30pm but from 9pm at night they can be dimmed 10 per cent per hour, or more to save energy. No darkness and huge energy savings over a period of one year. The payback time is under 2 years if managed properly.

How many authorities up and down the ccountry are using them? Yes you’ve guessed it a big fat zero. They’d rather put Solar panels on their properties with 10 year pay backs to meet their energy saving targets. It really does get my goat.

Ian Fursland




SIR - I read with interest the article in the Comet about Tesco Baldock applying for an extension to a planning application they made three years ago but now revised. I would like to take this opportunity to ask residents living nearby to write to North Herts District Council and strongly oppose these plans.

If I remember correctly the original plans meant moving the existing loading bay further along nearer the houses in Holroyd Crescent. If this is true, then what do the so called enhanced plans involve. If the origanal plans are upheld surely this will mean more noise pollution and light pollution for the residents. At the moment where I live I can hear constant noise coming from the area where they load their dot.com vans. Large trays being slung into the vans late at night, sometimes loud music coming from within the store. It is not only the the residents that will greatly suffer but Baldock as a whole. Tesco say they want to install a slopping footway down into the town centre and improve the memorial gardens. What they really mean is they want to cut the memorial garden in half with a footpath which in time will mean the disappearance of the garden altogether.

Len Lucas

Holroyd Crescent




SIR - Your article in the Comet of August 9 about our association’s plans to take on management of allotments in Baldock was very informative, especially the quote from councillor Knighton about vacant plots in the district.

However, most people who want a plot would like it near to home, so they do not have to drive to it.

There are currently a few vacant plots at North Road site in Baldock, thanks to our association raising grant funding to bring 27 extra half plots back into use a year ago. There is still more land at North Road, and we aim to bring it back into use if there is demand, and we aim also to expand Clothall Road if we can demonstrate demand.

Anyone wanting a plot can ask for our help. They can contact us on 01462 895665, or phone or text to 07 817 801 616, or email phil@charsley.org.uk

Phil Charsley

General Secretary

Baldock Allotment and Leisure Gardener’s Association



SIR - Town groups do not call for plan to halt development.

Contrary to the title of a piece in last week’s Comet, Hitchin Forum, The Hitchin Society and Hitchin Historical Society are not looking to “halt development”.

The Hitchin community groups met to discuss ‘Neighbourhood Plans’ and to explore whether there may be a way of ensuring that developments in the town are supported by the community. We are keen for appropriate developments to occur – a sensible and sustainable development of the Churchgate shopping centre and the market, a good use of the post office site, a replacement of the Bancroft Hall.

The question is whether neighbourhood plans, as part of the government’s revision of the planning processes, will help Hitchin to achieve such aims. We hope to work with the council’s planning officers to explore that further.

Mike Clarke, Hitchin Forum

Keith Montague, The Hitchin Society

Phil Rowe, Hitchin Historical Society