LETTERS: Comet August 15
THE letters in the Comet on Thursday, August 15
SUPPORTING ANOTHER MUSIC FESTIVAL
Sir - I feel compelled to respond to the persons who complained about the level of noise at the recent Eastern Electrics Festival at Knebworth Park. I live in Broadwater so quite close to the venue and although I agree you could hear the music, it was nothing more than a distant sound and certainly not enough to keep anyone awake. Events such as this are few and far between for a few nights only and put our town on the map. If your ears are that sensitive, may I suggest ear plugs.
Mr S.J Bennett
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Sir - Oh my, what a fuss. Did I hear boom boom all weekend? Yes, but did it bother me? No, even though I live in Letchmore Road, Stevenage, so not too far. Did the young adults that went have a good time? Yes, my daughter came down from London and went with a bunch of friends; they all had a great weekend. If everything was cancelled because of a few grumps the world would be a boring place. So get over yourselves, it wasn’t that loud. I have heard worse and I don’t even like the music they played! Let the party continue. It brings money to the area and people who have never been here get to visit a great place and maybe even come back. Rock on for next year. If you can’t beat them join them, that’s what I say or go away for the weekend. Life round here without Knebworth Park would be pretty dull.
Sir - I completely agree with Mr George Howe when he calls for plastic shopping bags to be banned (letters, August 8). However, he has little hope of seeing his wish fulfilled under this Government. The Government has vetoed an EU proposal to restrict plastic bag use and asked the European Commission to prevent Italy from acting unilaterally. Our MEP, Richard Howitt, has said that this calls into question the legality of local schemes, such as the one in Royston. He added: “This two-faced Government complains about so-called European interference in Britain, but has happily used EU law to tell Italy what to do.”
North east Herts labour Party
USAGE OF BAGS
Sir - I have had a very good holiday in Wales and all the shops charge for plastic bags, even charity shops where you put a donation in their collecting tins. I think this would be a good system for shops in England as well as it would cut down on the use of bags.
NO DOGS PLEASE
Sir - Re the letter in last week’s Comet titled ‘Dog request’. I’m afraid that Cllr Weeks is overly optimistic if he believes that the “irresponsible few” dog owners are going to prevent their animals from abusing the splash and play park in Avenue Park, Baldock. Here in Letchworth GC we have a very popular, similar, facility in Howard Park which is abused regularly by some dog owners. I recently watched one of these irresponsible dog owners throwing a ball into the water for his animal to retrieve (in front of council staff I might add), the same week my wife and granddaughter took our great-grandsons to the play area to find two piles of dog faeces among the equipment. The answer is quite simple Cllr Weeks and North Herts District Council, it’s called a fence. After all, there used to be one around the old play area in the park and it worked. No dogs and more security for our children.
Paul Ross (dog owner)
Sir - I read with interest your article concerning John Stowell’s improvement from stroke. I too had a major stroke in 2011, which caused left sided paralysis. Around seven months ago, I discovered the marvellous help that the MS Centre in Letchworth provided through their physiotherapy programme. With their help, I am now able to walk substantial distances and perform tasks with more ease. Like John, my goal is to climb stairs and maybe take a cup of tea to my wife in the morning. Once again, I offer my thanks to the wonderful crew at the MS centre (mostly volunteers), my team of carers, and my wife who are all helping me to regain life after stroke.
Sir- Can I ask Comet Readers are you a former Eastern Gas Board Employer and either lived or worked locally? If so, then would you like to meet up with former colleagues? The local Letchworth & District REA (Retired Employees Association) have a coffee morning on the first Monday of the month at The Letchworth Arts Centre at 2 The Arcade, Letchworth at 11am. The next meeting is on Monday, September 2. Please just turn up for a “gas” or for further information contact our current chairman John Mitchell. Telephone number is 01438 717428.
Sir- On Friday August 9 I required emergency treatment by Lister Hospital for a heart problem. The story began with a call to my doctors’ surgery, who after hearing my symptoms, the doctor through his receptionist told me to dial 999. Within 10 minutes of the call an ambulance had arrived and I was in the safe hands of two paramedics. They quickly diagnosed my problem and carefully transported me to A&E at Lister, within minutes I was being treated for the condition, the cardiac team were very efficient and within two hours many tests were done and several treatments given to reverse the condition. Less than three hours after arriving at the hospital I was under observation on Ward 9B. I stayed on that ward until 2.30pm on Saturday when I was found fit to be discharged. I am so grateful for the treatment that I received from all of the team including paramedics, A&E staff, particularly the nurses and the cardiac team of doctors and nurses. We often hear of people complaining I can only say that everything was first class, thank you.
Sir - My five-year-old grandson was with my husband playing with his remote control boat on part of the lake at Fairland’s Valley recently and he managed to get it caught up in some reeds by the opposite bank. My husband was unable to get it out as he has a disability, so a very upset grandson and husband came home. I went back down there with my husband a bit later and tried to find a way to get to the boat, but where it was caught was an island and I could not see a way of getting it. In the meantime a young man on a bike stopped and told my husband that he would get it. He climbed a fence, scrambled through nettles and bushes, attempted to jump the narrow bit of the lake but got wet and he got the boat and then got wet again coming back to us. The boat was unharmed and my grandson over the moon. I cannot thank this kind young man enough. Unfortunately I did not think to get his name, but he was in his 20s and riding a bike around the lake at about 8.15pm. The way that he put himself out to help us and the kindness he showed was amazing. So to this nice, kind young man, many, many, thanks you have made a little boy not to mention his Granddad very happy.
TAXIS IN STEVENAGE
Sir - Licensed taxi drivers in Stevenage have provided a very good service for 50 years but are now struggling to earn a living because when a certain firm in London in the late 60’s saw a loophole in the law, local authorities took advantage and licensed minicabs as private hire which is different. As there was no restriction as to the number of minicabs being issued which is contrary to hackney carriage the numbers increased dramatically thereby diminishing the amount of work available to taxis that are legally allowed plying for hire which private hire are not and have to be telephoned for. This gives them the advantage of charging less at the expense of the hackney carriages which have been legal way of transport since horse and carriage days. We appreciate people trying to save money but taxi drivers are being hit hard when people get in their cabs and then refuse to pay more than the cheap rate, therefore causing problems to the driver and aggravation and in some cases, threats. We ask the public, and especially those people who were regular customers until the cheap rates were introduced by certain companies to think of the regular cab drivers. After all, we all have to eat. Even we understand that even some of the private hire drivers are struggling. Fares are regulated by the council according to fuel prices and insurance etc, and have always been in line with other towns locally. These prices have always been agreed by the hackney carriage drivers with the council as after all they have been doing the job for a long time. We were here first and built up the local trade as Stevenage grew.
Name and address
RECYCLING PLAN BY COUNCIL HAS NOT BEEN THOUGHT THROUGH
Sir - Well done to NHDC for introducing kerbside recycling for plastics and a host of other household materials. Moving to North Herts six years ago, we shrank our landfill waste from one 35L bag a day to one half-full bag a week, thanks largely to the recycling facilities available locally. Hopefully, with the new kerbside recycling, more households will be able to do the same. At the same time, the changes in recycling do worry me. We are no longer required to separate bottle caps from bottles, and now have moved to fully mixed recycling. I would hope that this is due to advances in waste sorting technology (not thinking about the energy these may consume), but then not much recycled plastic seems to re-appear on our supermarket shelves. Even the two new bins issued by NHDC do not have a ‘recycled’ mark on them! I would therefore like to ask NHDC: where is our black bin of ‘recyclable waste’ going? Is this simply being incinerated? Does it travel locally, within the EU or further afield? To what extent is the council responsible whether these recyclables are actually recycled and without adverse health impacts? I also question whether NHDC (and other UK councils) are putting their efforts into one indicator - the percentage of total household waste diverted from landfill - and whether this sends the right message about our environmental impact. Should councils not direct their efforts at encouraging less packaging and more recycled materials at the supplier end, and at the same time, encourage households to consume less, reuse where possible, buy less and buy recycled products and products with recycled packaging where possible? Insight from those who make these decisions deeply appreciated.
Sir - I am interested to see what happens when the recycling banks have been removed. Having watched them empty the banks where everything is sucked into a wagon, including plastic bags along with the solid plastic. At the weekend I took an old plastic water butt to the Letchworth Waste Recycling Centre and was told to put it in general waste. So far there has been a two rule system, one for the council and one for the residents, if we put a plastic bag in with solid plastic then our bin does not get emptied. Once you have put your bin onto the street for collection it cannot be your responsibility if someone puts something into it. My grandson lives near a shop and plastic bags etc get put in his bin without his knowledge causing the council to refuse to empty it.
Sir - Re the article in last week’s Comet regarding the removal of recycling bins by North Herts District Council. This decision hasn’t been thought through by the council as per usual otherwise they would realise that many flats and maisonettes still have only the black wheelie bins due to lack of space and these are still being used for rubbish. We recycle a lot and have to take it to the local supermarket which from this week we won’t be able to do and the council owned tip is too far to take it and there’s always a long wait to enter it anyway so we won’t now recycle due to the short sightedness of our local council.
Name and address
GIVE US JOBS
Sir - What a heartening piece by Adrian Hawkins of Biz 4 Biz in the Comet recently. It should be compulsory reading for politicians of all parties. Maybe then we would see a reduction of the froth and spin that we usually get. The switch off from politics by the vast majority in this country is not good for democracy. For too long in the UK we have geared everything in favour of the service industries such as a banking (and look where that got us) to the detriment of manufacturer. Contrast this with Germany which retains a strong manufacturing base and a growth rate of 3 to 4% per annum. That of the UK? 0.6% per annum. We in this country seem to be obsessed with privatisation and the outcome always seems to result in higher bills for the consumer. In Germany the public transport system is state run. The trains and transport systems are efficient, reasonably priced and run not to the minute but to the second. Similarly with accommodation where apartments and housing is predominantly rented and much larger than modern UK properties. Here affordable housing is anything but with the result that most people (if they can raise the deposit) probably reckon they are better off buying. It is of little use tinkering about with the benefits system. If we were to put as much effort into creating jobs as outlined by Mr Hawkins and paying people a wage/salary decent enough to live on then there would be far less reliance on benefits.
Sir - Safety First? With all the concerns over safety, particularly regarding traffic, I wonder why there is no safe pedestrian route to the old Kennedy Garden area. Where the area often holds venues for small children and big crowds? A bit strange in my view.
Sir - I recently lost my purse in Hitchin. It had some cash and all my cards and emergency medical details etc. Three days later I received a phone call from the ‘Next’ shop telling me that a passer-by had found my purse outside the store and handed it in. All the cards and cash were still present. I would like to say a big and sincere thank you to this very kind and extremely honest person.
Sir - I have spent a morning recently at Fairland’s Valley Park. I have lived in Stevenage for nearly 57 years and it was only my second visit. May I say thank you to all the people of Stevenage for helping to keep such a lovely area in such a good condition, via their council tax. What a shame that more old people cannot enjoy it because it is so far from a bus stop. I watched some children climbing up the walls and some other lucky youngsters learning to sail. For the first time in years, I felt that maybe we are making progress. My school days were never like that. Well done Stevenage.
Name and address