LETTERS: Comet August 29
THE letters in the Comet on Thursday, August 29
MINIMISING THE IMPACT OF TRAFFIC
Sir - Now that I am back from holiday and am available to formally write on the subject, may I take this opportunity to make a short response to the front page article regarding the plans for Letchworth Golf Club. What was not mentioned in the comments from Mr and Mrs McKenzie was a number of actions I and others had taken to ensure the involvement of Hitchin residents impacted by the proposals and to help to alleviate some of their concerns. Firstly it was me that arranged for the HCC planning consultation scope to be expanded to include Queenswood Drive and its surrounding roads. It was me that ensured that the consultation period was extended so that those residents could have their say. Next, it was me that insisted to HCC planning officers that no truck stacking should take place on Queenswood Drive and that this would be one of the over 30 planning conditions I was instrumental in getting included in the planning approval. These conditions will ultimately address other concerns, including the timing and seasons of truck movements. It was me that ensured that the school travel plan for the Purwell School was taken into account by HCC planning officers, not just Highfield and Lordship Farm schools. Also, with other local residents, I was involved in a door drop of a flyer detailing information regarding how to participate in the public consultation of the planning application. The drop included Queenswood Drive and its surrounding roads. My contact details were included on this flyer. It was the same flyer that I and other concerned local residents were seen holding up in the Comet photo of a few months ago – not a petition against the application, as Mr and Mrs McKenzie stated.Did I also mention that even though Queenswood Drive in Hitchin is not on my Herts county councillor patch (nor NHDC) I believe I tried and succeeded to alleviate some of the concerns, of which I had been made aware, of some residents in and around Queenswood Drive not just the concerns of my electorate. I could give much much more detail as to what I, with local concerned residents, did to ensure that the golf club planningy on by HCC officers would not be turned down by under current planning legislation, to alleviate or minimise the impact on the local people, environment and infrastructure. Finally, and just in case anyone should imply otherwise, I do not play golf and am not a member of Letchworth or any other golf club. I hope this clarifies the situation.
Herts County Councillor and
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Sir - I feel for the residents of Queenswood Drive whose lives will be blighted during the construction process of the driving range.I objected to this scheme due to the huge amounts of light pollution this driving range will generate. Careful examination of the plans will show that the entire site will be blasted with huge amounts of grandstand style lights so that not only the driving range and practice ground is illuminated but also half of North Hertfordshire. You only have to look at the nearby driving range of Chesfield Downs to see the extent of light pollution this new range will generate for the locals that live in Hitchin, Letchworth GC and Willian.
Sir - I was stunned to read the article in the Comet about the deselection of Cllr Brindley. Tom Brindley has represented Codicote with passion, dedication and honour. He is a valuable member of the local community and highly respected. Surely it is for the people who elected him, the people in Codicote, to decide whether or not he should continue. The people of Codicote hold Tom in very high regard and value his wisdom and constant service to the community.It is difficult to understand how political manoeuvring can be allowed to get in the way of the basic principle of democracy and local representation. Tom Brindley certainly has my support, with or without the Conservative Party. I urge him to stand as an independent candidate next May if the Conservative Party decide not to select him. There is little doubt that he will win the post regardless of the party affiliation because he is the best person to represent Codicote.
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Sir - Re Hitchin Town Hall. Brian Foreman’s letter (CometAugust 22 2013 “Hall concerns”) asserts that the exciting plans to rejuvenate Hitchin Town Hall and create a new museum for North Hertfordshire will have a detrimental effect on the integrity of the building. I would like to reassure your readers that this is absolutely not the case as the detailed plans agreed by North Hertfordshire District Council (NHDC) and Hitchin Town Hall Ltd have received listed building consent and planning permission. Mr Foreman is wrong to state that the council refused to consider alternative proposals put forward for museum storage by Brent Smith – these were considered but proved not to be affordable or practical in view of the significant sums we have already committed to the project. The town hall will, with some imagination, still be capable of staging a variety of productions thereby adding to the excellent facilities already provided at the Queen Mother and Market Theatre in Hitchin.Mr Foreman has made these points on a number of occasions and although we and Hitchin Town Hall Ltd have done our best to accommodate a very wide range of views expressed by a number of individuals and organisations, not all suggestions could be adopted if this truly innovative and ground breaking scheme was to be agreed. I am now pleased to say that, as your readers may have seen, plans to extend the project even further have now been agreed and we expect building work to start on site within the next few months. I am grateful to our partners Hitchin Town Hall Ltd and all those who have worked tirelessly to bring this vision to reality and to deliver a project we can all be proud of.
Cllr Tony Hunter
Portfolio Holder for Community
Engagement and rural affairs
North Hertfordshire District Council
Sir - I agree with the person in this week’s Comet (August 22) regarding the bins. Last week I noticed a few maggots on the lid of my bin. As per North Herts District Council’s advice we poured six jugs of boiled water and bleach on them but this did not kill the maggots. They climbed out of the bin and there were hundreds of them all outside my front door and garden path.A neighbour gave me a bin cleaner, and the following day I brought fly spray and more bin cleaner. Every time we used our brown bin we would put a bit of everything in. When the bin was emptied it was heaving with maggots and had flies swarming around it and it stunk.I complained and was told to air my bin so the birds would eat the maggots. . In the end we had no choice but to air the bin, jet spray it and use very expensive repellants. Do we get a discount on our council tax for the expensive sprays and powders?We now have no police station, lights are off and now this. My plan now is to use my brown bin and one week use my purple bin (double bag) for food waste. That way we should not suffer as we are doing now. I am sure the stench and flies are a health hazard.
RUBBISH RUBBISH COLLECTION
Sir - I am rendered speechless at our latest experience of rubbish collection.My husband and I live upstairs in an independent sheltered housing maisonette, which has a shared garden area (just two flats) the two bins stand side by side in this area. Out of a pure act of kindness, politeness and neighbourliness on collection days, we drag out and drag in, both my neighbours and our own bins, we do not have assistance for this. Our neighbour is slightly incapacitated and lacks the help of her family. I rang the council to ask if for just one week Saturday August 31 (in line with the bank holiday collections) if the bins could be emptied and replaced back into the garden, better than blocking the pavement for a week, as we would be away on holiday, also pointing out that if they were left, there would be four weeks of rancid food waste sitting around. I was told that this was not possible for us, but it was possible for my neighbour as in our absence, she would not have ‘bin assist’ (us). The crowning end to this story of disbelief is, that on Saturday August 24 (the wrong week, brown bin week) a refuse collector entered the garden and looked into both black bins, he took my neighbour’s, which I think was empty, out to the cart to empty and then replaced it back adjacent to ours. We are not employed as bin assistants, these are the dustmen. Who helps the helpers?
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Sir - Congratulations to all the young people who achieved the grades they needed to achieve their hopes and ambitions. But yet again we hear that grade boundaries have been downgraded this year making it impossible to compare results from one year to the next. The lack of transparency means that schools and universities were unable to adjust their admission requirements in advance causing unnecessary angst and disappointment, not to mention loss of money through eligibility for bursaries. It is a great pity that it is seen fit to play politics with the lives of young people who are under enough stress already. My message to those who did not get the grades they hoped for is to not to take it personally and become too despondent.
CHURCH BELLS ‘TYRANNY OF THE FEW IN THE VILLAGE’
Sir - Once again we have an example of the tyranny of the few and either the ineptitude of the authorities or asinine laws that even permit these complaints to be heard. I am, of course, referring to the complaints made by a few people regarding the church bells in Ashwell. The solution is simple, if you do not like the sound of bells then do not move next to or near to a church. This country may be becoming secular but there are still many who value the experience of church and all that it entails, including the bells. Why should our traditional values be demonised?
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CHURCH BELLS SOLUTIONS
Sir - Following recent coverage and correspondence regarding the church bells at St Mary’s, Ashwell, I would like to clarify North Herts District Council’s position on the matter. We have now received about a dozen complaints regarding the bells, specifically the quarter-hourly chiming throughout the night. These have been received from a wide range of people, some who have lived in the village for many years and some who are newer to the area. If people contact us because noise is causing disturbance to them, the council has a legal obligation to investigate those complaints. Rather than take formal action we have been working closely with the complainants and the parish council, which is responsible for the church bells, to come to an acceptable solution. One of the options discussed is a timing mechanism that would prevent the bells from chiming all night (eg, between 11pm and 7am). It would be for the parish council to implement such a mechanism, and it is our understanding that this would be sufficient to resolve the situation. We remain hopeful that such an agreement can be reached.
Cllr Bernard Lovewell
Portfolio Holder for Housing and
North Herts District Council
Sir- I must congratulate you on your excellent article in last week’s Comet with the great headline ‘When Vincent was king of the roads’. I thought David Jones’ story regarding his fascinating 2,000 miles journey across Australia from Melbourne to Perth and also touring France and Austria with his wife Vincent Rapide motorbike was amazing.The information and photographs were a pleasure to read and see. The only disappointment – there was no mention of speed records held by George Brown, who was a test rider for Vincent Motorcycles. Perhaps a future article could cover this. Stevenage town residents should be proud of the achievements that
Vincent Motorcycles made on British Motorcycles industry. In the early 1950s their machines were the Rolls Royce of all British motorcycles, nothing but the best! When you consider what local recognition Stevenage has of Vincent Motorcycles, I think it rather sad. An empty trading estate and a block of flats is all that has the Vincent name. May I suggest a Vincent motorcycle monument is erected, possibly in the
High Street opposite the Cromwell Hotel to remind residents and visitors to the Old Town what a wonderful engineering industry Stevenage had in the 1950s. Lastly, may I also suggest, especially to local primary school teachers, take a visit to the Stevenage Museum that has an excellent display of a magnificent Vincent motorcycle and the full history of the Vincent Company, something that Stevenage town can be proud of.
Sir - The proposed expansion of Luton Airport defies belief.The geography of the site makes it unsuitable as an airport in the first instance. It doesn’t have the road infrastructure, direct rail link or the land for extra car parks let alone the land for more runways. If there is a real need for this level of extra capacity then the planning authority should look at the under-utilised Cranfield Airport. Using Google Earth you will see the existing three runways are already larger than those at Luton Airport. Cranfield airport is just a few minutes from the M1 and A421 and the geography would allow a direct rail link if required. Cranfield was extensively used as an overspill airport during last year’s Olympic Games.Let’s use what we already have before concreting over more of the Green Belt and blighting tens of thousands of homes.
POOR PLAN FOR LUTON AIPORT
Sir - Luton was recently voted the worst airport in the country. And these people want to expand to four runways? Just whose idea was this expansion and to what purpose? Heathrow only has two runways. The whole idea must be shelved immediately or else the communities that will be affected must fight the proposal vigorously.
Sir - I was reading the details in letters and comment pages of the
Comet (August 22) regarding the noise levels from Luton Airport. I found this to be very informative as we live off the top end of Mobbsbury Way which is one of the highest points in Stevenage. Having lived here since 1986 I have seen the changes and now we cannot sit out in the garden and have a conversation because of the noise of the aircraft going over. My partner works nights and has to sleep with all the windows closed during the day etc. One of the 15 complaints received by Luton Airport will have been from us.As you can see the airport has made no reference that it is only the planes taking off that they monitor the noise levels on. It is the planes coming into land that we have the issues with.There needs to be a change in the regulations so that take off and landing noise levels are monitored. There is one plane which goes over at around 3am every night and most nights will wake me up as it is so loud. I cannot understand how the airport has been allowed to increase the noise levels so much over the last few years. We need to have the regulations amended so that all aircraft noise is monitored. Maybe then we can all enjoy the peace and quiet of our gardens once again.
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Sir - Regarding the letter from Nick Bedford in this week’s copy of the Comet about damage to cars from roadworks, I agree with everything he said but to get anyone to pay is impossible. When I first moved to Stevenage a few years ago we had potholes in my road and one morning I hit one and damaged my car costing me nearly £200.
I sent Herts County Council the pictures and dates and times and guess what? The council would not pay or help towards the cost. They have a standard letter with some law they send you to get out of paying. I am so glad I pay road tax, for what?
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