LETTERS: Comet August 22

THE letters in the Comet on Thursday, August 22


SIR - An expansion of Luton Airport of the magnitude proposed by Messrs Weston Williamson would make the airport as large or larger than Heathrow. If it does not form part of the Government’s overall strategy for airport development in the London region, the Government should say so now and squash this nonsense dead in its tracks. If it prevaricates to ‘keep its options open’, residents in north and mid-Herts must assume that such a development is likely. The proposers must have reasonable grounds for spending time, effort and money on the plan. It would certainly alleviate the problem for the Government in expanding Heathrow. Perhaps Taylor-Wimpey’s abandonment of its plan to build several thousand houses west of the A1(M) for Stevenage may be connected. Houses under the flight-path of a major airport in their proximity will be difficult or impossible to sell. If Luton Airport does expand it will show that the democratic process is dead in England. We have not been offered the opportunity to vote on the matter although it will affect us grievously. The villages affected will not be ‘moved’ as the disingenuous report by the proposers states, (along with ‘less environmental disturbance than an airport at Thames Gateway’. As if...)


Oak House

Little Wymondley


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SIR - I read some of the annual monitoring report 2010 into Luton Airport and noticed a few things:-Page 38, 5.1 states ‘it is standard practice that only departures are reported by LLAOL & ICAO. We live in the Chells area of Stevenage and we suffer noise mainly from arrivals and not departures. Also, the location of complaints on page 65 which shows a cluster of 15 complaints in the Chells area is approximately 8.5 miles from Luton Airport runway. It is curious that this could be an altitude issue. We do live on a hill. I am at a loss to understand why just departures are taken into account as when a plane lands it has to use a reverse thrust which I would have thought creates (I do not know how they do this) just as much noise as take-off.





SIR - In the Comet on August 15 the report headed ‘It’s full steam ahead for the town hall project’ failed to even mention my speech to full council at that meeting on August 8.It seems that the original plans were set in stone with museum storage taking up far too much space in the town hall. This will leave Hitchin Town Hall with less than 50% of the stage area and only one small ‘unisex’ dressing room. The architectural integrity will be destroyed by building a wall across the stage to provide museum storage behind without four dressing rooms with their own washing and toilet facilities the valuable entertainment license will not be obtained. Our children deserve to have the opportunity to perform in the town hall. The loss of the once popular gallery seating area before it was closed off is an issue in terms of future financial viability with 88 seats. The floor is to be flattened for a display area. Mr Brent Smith, an architect, and a director of Hitchin Town Hall Ltd has said that he can provide far better museum storage elsewhere yet NHDC have not investigated it. Why not? We should get a first class district museum and with the community arranging and contributing to the purchase and demolition of 14 and 15 Brand Street, a far better entrance. We had expected this to allow the important changes to the plans but not so.Hitchin Forum and Keep Hitchin Special have also raised concerns. Other organisations and individuals could write to Mr Tony Hunter, NHDC portfolio holder for community engagement, Council Offices, Gernon Road, Letchworth, SG6 3JF or email tonyhunter@hertscc.gov.uk


Arts Council for North Herts





SIR - Once again the charm of our bus drivers on the SB1 route has struck. My son waited for a bus near the Squirrel pub for over half an hour, in that time four buses went up Chells Way but none came down. When a bus eventually arrived he said ‘I thought you were never going to turn up.’ He did not shout or swear. The bus driver’s reply was ‘Get a taxi or learn to drive.’ Well for his information he can drive but due to having a very low paid job he cannot afford to run one. Lovely attitude of our bus drivers. Having witnessed their rude and aggressive manner on a few occasions, this does not surprise me. I understand they have to deal with difficult people and situations but customer service is a big fat zero to them. Is it just the SB1 route that makes the drivers miserable and abusive or is it on all routes?





SIR- Yesterday (August 19), I had the misfortune to be driving eastbound along Broadhall Way in Stevenage at around 5pm. I would very much like to know which numbskull decided that the road was fit for traffic following the ‘repairs’ that has apparently just been made. I deeply dislike chippings at the best of times (they are, in my opinion, a cheap, vehicle- damaging alternative to proper road repairs), but this is far worst than I could have imagined. When I got home, I found the tyres, particularly those on the near side of the vehicle I was driving, were covered in a layer of tar and chippings. So bad this was that I had to remove the wheels from the vehicle, scrape off the chippings and remove the tar with white spirit. This was a revolting, filthy job that tool well over two hours to complete. How many other people, I wonder, had a similar mess to clear up when they got home and who will pay for all the time it took?


Address supplied



SIR - I must firstly 100% agree with the writer of the letter that Fairlands

Valley Park is a huge asset to the residents of Stevenage.I grew up living opposite the entrance to the park in Bedwell Crescent, my mother always said it was built for my two brothers and I and now with my own daughter and a dog, I am still a regular user of the park. But I thought the writer of the letter might like to know that the Centrebus No10 (Cllr Sharon Taylor has just secured this bus route for another two years) actually stops in Bedwell Crescent right by the entrance to the park. It is a two to three minute walk from the bus stop and brings you out into the park by

the children’s play area. The only thing that did surprise me was that having lived in Stevenage for 57 years they have only visited the park twice? When I think of all the different things that I’ve attended in the park over the years, namely every November 5 for their fantastic firework display, maybe with the information about the bus route they might find themselves able to use the park more often.






SIR - I’d like to thank the person who submitted the ‘Great Venue’ letter in last week’s Comet. It is great to see people enjoying the much loved and well used facilities at Fairlands Valley Park. This year was the fifth consecutive year that Fairlands Valley Park was honoured with a Green Flag, and the third time for the Town Centre Gardens. The accolade gives national recognition for public and community parks and green spaces and we’re honoured to have two Green Flag areas within our town. It is through the hard work of our ground staff and that of our partners plus the dedication of many volunteers that Stevenage’s green spaces continue to win awards and provide much needed open space for families and residents to enjoy. I hope that many more people will be able to experience and benefit from these wonderful areas throughout the seasons and for many years to come.


Executive member for environment and regeneration

Stevenage Borough council



S IR - The Conservative candidate standing in the Hitchin North by-election stated in his newsletter to residents that Simons’ proposals for the Churchgate development were inappropriate. It took several years, over half a million pounds of taxpayers’ money, with public opposition the like of which Hitchin hasn’t seen before, for some (not all) Conservative councillors to reach that conclusion. The Conservative led council continues to promote development on the Green Belt land despite public opposition. It seems they are not listening to us. The current Government believes the best way to boost the economy is to ignore companies employing workers on ‘zero hours contracts’, keeping wages as low as possible and doing nothing to ease high unemployment. How can we trust them to work on our behalf? We’re still waiting for the current Government to crack down on corporate tax dodgers and off-shore tax havens. Labour didn’t deal with this either when they were elected. Can we really trust the current Government with our money? Interest rates are at an almost all time low and savings will continue to be eroded by inflation for the foreseeable future. Perhaps, worst of all, when will politicians take responsibility for their actions? To be able to hold their hands up and say ‘we got it wrong’ before (and not after) they start losing votes, there is only one sensible solution: to have a real change in politics by giving the Green Party a chance. In my view, they’re the only honest and honourable political party.


Address Supplied



SIR - If any neighbours long for the days when their roads were illuminated, just come to Station Place in Letchworth, where Herts County Council leaves the street-lamps on all day.


Address Supplied



SIR - A significant lack of skilled workers is hampering the UK’s fight against cyber-crime.A stark reminder of this was provided by this week’s BBC Horizon documentary “Defeating the Hackers”. We are facing a current and future cyber security skills gap, with “the current pipeline of graduates and practitioners” unable to meet demand.The UK has been proclaimed as the ‘most internet-based major economy’. This obviously provides a rich and fertile basis for industry, and small businesses in particular, to expand and grow. However, there continues to be real and growing threats to our interests in cyberspace and these have increased with the growth of the ‘internet economy’. UK industry needs to take action across the design, implementation and maintenance of systems to protect its commercial operations as well as safeguard the public interest. This issue is made worse by a lack of suitable professionals able to combat the issues associated with cyber security. This situation will be exacerbated if we do not take urgent action now to fill the skills gap.We at the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) are working with Government, industry and academia to ensure a better mix of skills for the future. One of the ways we are doing this is to encourage the awarding of bursaries, so that more students undertake postgraduate studies in cyber security, as well as working to bridge the gap between industry and higher education. With a bigger pool of suitably qualified graduates we can improve cyber security by making software more secure, dependable and reliable.


Director of Policy

Institution of engineering and





SIR - I would like to thank North Herts District Council for the wonderful smell that comes from the bins since the new system has been in place. There is an abundance of flies and wasps and maggots. The smell is disgusting. This is surely a health issue? We have had to move the bins further from the house because of the smell and the flies. These bins are in my opinion a waste of time and money. As the rubbish from flats is not recycled in this way, so are we to think that someone goes through all their rubbish putting that into the correct coloured / type of bag then send it away with ours? Put it back to the way it was with two bins and the use of bin bags regardless of colour?