LETTERS: Comet June 27

THE letters published in the Comet on Thursday, June 27.


SIR- It is nothing short of outrageous for Michael Gove to ascribe credit to Stephen McPartland for “the facilities he

has fought for” (Comet 20 June) as reported in your article about the official opening of Marriotts and Lonsdale


It is Stephen McPartland’s government which scrapped the Building Schools for the Future programme which sought to make proper provision for all the young people of Stevenage. The money then misappropriated was used to fund Academies and Free Schools.

While everyone will welcome the opening of such a splendid facility at Mariotts and Lonsdale School, Mr McPartland would do well to address the staggering inequality of investment and building provision in secondary schools across the town which has resulted in the failure to give all the young people of Stevenage entitlement to such facilities.

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Nobel has benefited on at least three occasions from considerable refurbishment and additional building while money has been spent to allow Barnwell to develop the Collenswood and Heathcote sites successfully at last under the wise stewardship of the recently appointed headteacher. However, in the north of the town the last major investment in Thomas Alleyne School was when Alleynes was amalgamated with the Girls’ School. The Barclay School which despite having been popular and consistently oversubscribed for the last 40 years, has received hardly any significant funding for major buildings since the early 1990s.

Plans were drawn up to enable Barclay to develop its resources but these were never implemented, of course, because of the decision by Mr McPartland’s new buddy, Mr Gove, to scrap the Building Schools for the Future programme.

Richard Wallace

Trent Close



SIR - In last week’s issue, the signature of the writer who submitted the letter ‘Go Gove’ caught my eye – John

Gardner, chairman of Hertfordshire County Labour Party. The same John Gardner is lead councillor for environment at Stevenage

Borough Council. As I am sure Cllr Gardner will view this page to read responses to his letter, may I say: ‘Come

Cllr Gardner, come.’ Come view first hand some serious environmental issues – your remit on Stevenage Borough

Council. I’ve tried the appropriate routes through the council.

We should remember Cllr Gardner not only receives payment and expenses as a county councillor, with extra for chair of the county Labour Party, he also receives payment and expenses as a Stevenage councillor, with extra payment for this area of responsibility, so environment issues that affect Stevenage residents’ welfare and safety will of course be a major concern to him, indeed paramount. With anticipation, I await his call.

Jean Carter

Address supplied



Sir - My family have a small amount of financial ‘reserves’ in a savings account, and in the present economic climate we

just about ‘break even’ at the end of each month from my modest salary.

Yet North Herts Council has put up council tax this year, despite government offers to help freeze the tax. It has done this to ‘increase it’s reserves’, but my families ‘reserves’ go down as a result. This week I read that the council leader has joined many Labour council leaders in writing a letter to complain that the council cannot cope with cuts to

its budget. But this supposed Conservative council has cut my families budget, when most other Conservative councils in the country have managed to protect families by delivering services more efficiently. Maybe the council has a leadership problem.

Matthew Deck

Grove Road




Sir - I am grateful to Cllr Brindley for explaining that it is not within NHDC’s remit to designate sites of importance for

nature conservation. I should like to know what steps are being taken to actively safeguard biodiversity and to promote new wildlife sites within North Herts which, like other regions of the UK, is experiencing a substantial loss of wildlife.

N Mayo

Newlands Lane




SIR - Unlike the rioting citizens of Turkey and Brazil, the 852 citizens of St Ippolyts south ward entitled to vote only

234 marked their X at the parish council election.

Kim Morrice received 114 votes, Robert Moore 69, and Chris Saliba 51. It is reasonable to question why public participation at council meetings is

usually nil, worse than the voter turnout. Congratulations to Kim and possibly she and other councillors will propose, second and vote positively to publically debate Robert Moore’s presentation for affordable homes and units for villagers wishing to downsize and others wishing

to remain in our villages. Details of self build will also be presented. A positive response to this offer could generate public participation.This would better inform we the public of local opportunities. How say councillors?

John Windebank

St Ippolyts



SIR - I recently attended a Hitchin Town Talk meeting where I put my name forward to ask, “Would it be possible to incorporate a feature into the refurbished Church Gate commemorating the value that St Mary’s School, latterly St Andrew’s, brought to the town? Many

Hitchin residents and those from the surrounding villages will remember their

school days there.” Perhaps the distinctive font of the text from the Old Testament could be used? These were bricks set into the exterior wall of the old school and when this was demolished, some found their way into being incorporated in several town centre

buildings. Unfortunately for me there were some very eloquent speakers holding forth on Bancroft Rec, Park, Gardens, and some business that was not appropriate for this meeting, so that my contribution was simply talked out of time. Therefore I was denied the reaction of the councillors present. Perhaps you would like to have your say.

Paul Summers




SIR - I am writing to congratulate Hitchin Boys School and its Librarian, Thomas Pitchford, for winning a battle

for academic standards. I was surprised to read in The Independent’s little sister, The “i”, that Pitchford corrected the

accepted misattribution of a poem to Blake, when it was written by American poet Nancy Willard. The poem’s name, by the way, is “Two Sunflowers Move in the Yellow Room”, published in Willard anthology titled “A visit to William Blake’s Inn”.

Nick Spiro

Address supplied



SIR - I recently decided to go fishing for the day with my five year old son and

our pet dog over at Fairlands Lake, Stevenage. I have fished there on and off for at least 20 years with no problems at all,

however upon our arrival at the lake we were welcomed with around 40 Canadian

geese chasing us. We then saw the horrendous amount of goose poo adorning the lakes banks, and after trying our best to tiptoe our

way through it I realised that this was impossible. I spoke briefly with one angler and we both came to the conclusion that this is surely a health risk to all that walk the path round the lake? I gave up the idea of fishing there for the day and it took me ages to clean all our shoes and paws, and we went somewhere else. I really do think that this issue should be reported in your paper and the council made aware of this.

Mark Grover

Address supplied



SIR - I would like to express our gratitude and thanks to the staff and emergency services staff at lister hospital

stevenage. Last week my father was taken ill with a heart attack which lead to cardiac arrest. If it hadnt been for the swift actions of the paramedic and ambulance crews he wouldn’t still be with us. This first class service continued when he reached lister hospital and he was operated on immediately. All too often we read of negative comments about this hospital but this is not our experience. My father has likened it to being in a 4* hotel, enjoying the food and the company and the excellent care of the nurses and doctors in the cardiac unit and the coronary care ward. Our sincere thanks to all involved and for a job very well done.

Name and address




SIR - Your readers will welcome our MP’s apparent conversion to the view that - as exemplified by the Surgicentre’s problems - it is dangerous to privatise NHS services. Dare we hope that he will now oppose further extensions of privatisation? In particular, Mr McPartland may recall that the Prime Minister said, before the General Election, that he saw no need for further top-down reorganisation of the Service,while Andrew Lansley had already spent six years planning just that!

Peter Metcalfe

Sandown Road



SIR - In response to Cllr Kercher’s letter last week regarding economic development in North Herts, it is important to paint a fuller picture about how the council is seeking to promote and assist businesses across the whole district as well as in our town centres. Firstly, the council has a long and successful experience in promoting and supporting town centre based partnerships. There are four town centre managers who ably work with local businesses undertaking just the type of initiatives that Cllr Kercher feels is missing. We also currently have two highly successful Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) in Royston and Hitchin which are voted for and funded by local businesses - we believe that we are the only local district council to have two BIDs. Letchworth Garden City Town Centre Partnership is also considering establishing its own BID for the town, again to promote business in its town centre. Meanwhile, NHDC continues to works closely with the Local Enterprise Partnership and neighbouring authorities to explore opportunities for supporting business growth, and as part of this commitment we have recently established a scheme in partnership with East Herts Council to specifically assist small businesses in rural areas.

Cllr Tom Brindley

NHDC Portfolio Holder

for Planning, Transport and




Sir - Bees in Hertfordshire and all over Britain are in serious trouble, and that spells bad news for our farmers,

our economy and our green and pleasant land. A comprehensive Bee Action Plan is urgently needed to protect all 267 species of bees and the vital role they play in pollinating our food crops, gardens and countryside. Without them, it is estimated that pollinating crops through other methods would cost farmers over £1.8 billion, causing food prices to rise dramatically. A Bee Action Plan is backed by 200 MPs from all parties, businesses from The Co-operative Group, the UK’s biggest farmers, to B&Q and tens of thousands of individuals. The Government says it is listening and is expected to unveil new proposals soon. But we’re concerned the plans will fall far short of what bees need. Readers can help today by phoning their MP. They should ask for a proper Bee Action Plan that tackles all the threats bees face, including pesticides and habitat loss, and is up and running immediately. Let’s not wait another year and for more bee losses. With your help, we can make sure bees keep buzzing.

Andrew Pendleton

Head of Campaigns

Friends of the Earth



SIR – Peter Joyce’s letter - Sex shops beside major roads. Agreed, the Sandy branch sticks out like a sore thumb. But there should be nothing wrong in having such establishments on these roads. These would be a godsend to the lorry driver ‘under the tachograph’, the bus/ coach driver with timetables to stick to (often with unruly or noisy passengers) and the car or van driving travelling salesman with appointments to keep (representing his company – under pressure, under (jobthreatening) strict motoring laws and the sheer volume of traffic on this island’s roads. Providing what they do with such products in the privacy of their homes or accommodation – it’s a way of letting off steam/frustration and is none of anyone’s business. But, as Peter says, the signs are wrong why not say “private shop”, “adult shop” or “adults only”? We all know (as adults) what they are – but to children (as in my day) they could be pubs, betting shops or ‘X’ films, illegal to under 21’s (as we are told).

Name and address




SIR - On Friday July 5, Conservatives will vote to give the people of North East Hertfordshire a say on Europe. This EU Referendum Bill could give

us the first vote on the EU in over 40 years, after a renegotiation for a new deal in the EU. It is historic.

Sadly, Labour and the Liberal Democrats don’t want to give people a say. That’s why today, I am calling for the people of North East Hertfordshire to back the bill and ask Labour and the Liberal Democrats to unite behind it. For the first time, the people of North East Hertfordshire can publicly co-sponsor the bill by visiting www.LetBritainDecide.com. They can be a part of history by putting their name

to this campaign. This isn’t just a Conservative campaign - it is for everyone who believes we need a say.

Cllr Andrew Young

Ashwell Road




SIR – It is very hypocritical of North Herts District Council in Letchworth to provide householders with five containers for sorting and recycling

waste, but their own road sweepers recycle nothing. All the rubbish swept up from the pavements and streets in Letchworth goes straight into landfill. This is a classic case of “don’t do as I do but, do as I say.” Big brother is watching you.


Norton Way South

Letchworth GC



SIR – On Monday morning June 17, our son Tom was knocked off his bike

by a car along Pixmore Way, Letchworth. We would like to say a big thank you to the many kind people who

helped him. In particular, Cordelia, the lovely lady who phoned to let us know what had happened, the kind gentleman who looked after his bike,

the young man who held Tom’s hand and reassured him and the passing lady doctor who stopped to help the paramedics.

Such kindness from strangers is a wonderful thing and much appreciated by Tom and all the family. We would also like to thank the paramedics and the police who did a first class job and were very kind and supportive we are pleased to say that Tom is making steady progress in hospital and we hope to have him home soon. We thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.



Baldock Road




SIR - Let’s praise Herts County

Council for their quick response to

my phone call on June 20 to fill the

pothole in my road and drive. This

was completed just five days later.

Mrs J Reece

Grovelands Avenue