LETTERS: Comet, January 2

This year's Stevenage panto has been praised. Cast members Gillian Wright and Rebecca Tyson (front),

This year's Stevenage panto has been praised. Cast members Gillian Wright and Rebecca Tyson (front), with Rebecca Lisewski (centre), Scott Cripps and Paul Laidlaw (back row) - Credit: Archant

The letters in the Comet on January 2.

Foundation has an obligation to residents:

SIR – Your report in the Comet (December 19) that the board of the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation supported the proposed development of land north of the Grange Estate to provide 1,000 homes raises some interesting questions.

As trustees of the Heritage Foundation they have legal responsibilities, defined by an Act of Parliament which established the garden city.

As this land is a substantial part of the Heritage Foundation portfolio, any change will have a profound impact on the residents of the garden city. That is not to say the land should not be developed, either in part or in whole, however, there is an implied requirement placed on the trustees to ensure that the views of the residents are considered.

Reading the report in the Comet, one might come to the conclusion that the recent ‘consultation’ was a cosmetic tick box exercise. If that is so, the way ahead will be strewn with bitterness and argument. It, therefore, may be in the interests of all concerned if the will of the residents were to be established by means of a referendum.

This has the advantage of demonstrating that the residents have been properly consulted, significantly removes the possibility of any legal action, such as a judicial review, and gives the trustees a factual understanding of the wishes of the residents.

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A referendum with a simple question: ‘Should the proposal to build approximately 1,000 new homes north of the Grange Estate be supported by the Heritage Foundation?’ Yes or no, should suffice.

I know not what the residents of Letchworth GC feel about the proposed development but I do know that when they feel strongly about an issue affecting the garden city, they can be stirred sufficiently to come together and ensure their voice is heard. The demise of the town council earlier this year is a good example.

The Heritage Foundation would do well not to ignore the wishes of the residents or the board of trustees could well suffer the same fate as the former town council.

David Switzer

Baldock Road

Letchworth GC


Panto praise:

SIR – I would just like to take this time to say just how fantastic the pantomime in Stevenage is once again.

I visit the panto every year and can’t remember a year when I haven’t. Yet again I was surrounded by the much-loved traditional audience participating in panto, which adults and children alike enjoy.

I was happy to see not just my favourite, but Stevenage’s favourite again this year – Paul Laidlaw as one of the ugly stepsisters. I have to admit the pantomime in Stevenage wouldn’t be the same without him there.

Without fail every year he is there making people laugh with his quick changes, jokes and manner. He has probably been doing pantomimes since before I was even born, but if you look at his legs you wouldn’t think so!

I hope to watch the panto once more this year, and again I congratulate Paul, and the rest of the team at the fantastic job you are doing, as you do every year.

I hope to watch a few more pantos in the next few years. I will be sure to be the loudest member of the audience – my sore throat afterwards from all the shouting is always worth it.

Annaleigh Brown

Ashdown Road


SIR – I would urge anyone who hasn’t been to this year’s pantomime Cinderella at the Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage, to get a ticket before the run finishes.

What a fantastic evening’s entertainment it proved to be and it was worth the ticket money for the magical horse and carriage scene alone.

Once again I feel so lucky to have such a wonderful theatre on my doorstep. Congratulations to all involved.

Mrs L Wenn

By email


MPs’ pay rise:

SIR – I find it sad when I hear Nadine Dorries, MP for Mid Bedfordshire, saying: “I have no choice but to accept the money” she then goes on to say “either that or I give it to a cats home. This is something I do not have the power to influence” is the full quote, not half of the MP’s statement.

However, I feel most strongly that the increase is unnecessary. They earn far too much.

I would like to suggest it is put to the general public: Who should have the proposed increase? Who can we do without – MPs or nurses? Who should this increase go to? Nurses have not had a pay rise for three years, their pay is low and they work long hours caring for the general public.

I hasten to add too that nurses are employed by the Government, so, maybe the IPSA would like to take a closer look at the amount the nurses are paid, compared to the MPs and let the public know their thoughts on the matter.

Should MPs receive a pay increase? No, they should not, and if forced to have it, give it to the nurses in their local hospital, the ones who look after them when they are ill, whether private or NHS!

They might like to be reminded that we elect them to represent their constituents in their area. Therefore more notice should be taken by what the public say.

A disappointed voter...

Name and address supplied


Service cuts:

SIR – I would just like to know something.

I firstly can understand in this climate there are reasons for many cutbacks like bus services, library services, help to the homeless/poor and elderly and switching street lights off at night, then wasting the revenue saved from these to paint the roads.

I have always been told it starts from the top, so I would like someone to tell me why is it that, when the council are making all these cutbacks to services we rely on, they see it necessary to leave their office lights on all night? I have on many occasions walked through Stevenage town centre after 8pm and found their office blocks and stairwells lit up like a concrete Christmas tree.

All I can say is – start the cutbacks yourself before ruining our services.

Name and address supplied


Airport votes:

SIR – So just six councillors can vote through an airport expansion that will blight the lives of thousands in surrounding areas.

Such self centred arrogance has to be challenged and changed by the secretary of state and an end be called to this nonsense once and for all.

David Dee

By email


A flying visit:

SIR – Your recent story about Prince Charles’ visit to Stevenage has left me confused.

I was always led to believe the Prince was a staunch environmentalist; an unashamed eco-warrior with fully paid-up green credentials; a leader who never missed an opportunity to lecture his subjects on the perils of climate change, the dangers of greenhouse gasses and the need to cut our carbon footprint. Yet when he visited Stevenage, a town blessed with excellent road and rail links, he chose to do so by helicopter.

Are there two Princes of Wales, or is this a case of the privileged elite expecting the rest of society to do as they say, but not as they do?

Jim Callaghan

Chestnut Walk



Junction sense:

SIR – Eric Simpson misses the point of ‘Mr Anonymous’ letter (‘Driving Test’, Letters, December 19).

If nobody went in the right hand lanes at Letchworth Gate’s northbound sliproad of the A1(M) to then turn left into Letchworth, you wouldn’t need to stop when in the correct left lane to avoid hitting someone.

‘Irresponsible and selfish drivers’ such as Mr Simpson are the problem.

On the occasions I have to use this junction, I find it possible to see through my side window on approaching the junction to time my entrance then using my mirrors.

Thank goodness I missed out on any extra training which seems to prevent common sense.

Ian Rose

By email


Lister success:

SIR – I would like to thank Mr S Papanastasiou and the plastic and reconstrutive surgery team at the Lister Hospital for the excellent care and results of my recent day surgery visit.

Mr Papanastasiou also operated on my other hand two years ago and the excellent experience of that time was repeated on this visit.

Every success for our East and North Hertfordshire NHS.

John Windebank

St Ippolyts


Food thanks:

SIR – I am writing to express my thanks to the people of Stevenage and Knebworth for their generosity towards supporting others less fortunate than themselves by their donations to the Stevenage Community Food Bank.

We gave out 30 generous hampers that included fresh fruit and vegetables thanks to the Stevenage Scouts Association, as well as festive treats. In addition, we gave more than 100 people Christmas food.

We at the food bank hope 2014 brings good fortune to everyone.

John Mead


Stevenage Community Food Bank

Daneshill House



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