LETTERS: Comet May 24

THE letters published in the Comet on Thursday, May 24.

NEW FOOTBALL GROUND

SIR - Edmund Burke once wisely warned: “It is a general popular error to imagine the loudest complainers for the public good to be those most anxious for its welfare.”

Bearing that sage advice in mind, what are we to make of the strange alliance between property developer Richard Daniels and the secretive Cow Common Trust and their joint plan to evict Hitchin Town Football Club from Top Field in Hitchin next year?

They loudly tell us that they wish to move the club to a greenfield site in St Ippolyts, covering some 12 acres on land worth about �150,000.


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But they both remain strangely silent on what will replace the club at Top Field on land worth at least �6 million for residential development, even more to a supermarket giant like Tesco.

For there is no doubt that Tesco, the destroyer of High Streets up and down the land, is the elephant in the room in a deal which has nothing to do with philanthropy and is all about making huge profits.

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Tesco already has a foothold in Hitchin by way of a new express store at the station. Keenly aware of its reputation as the undertaker for local shopping centres, it neatly avoided bad publicity by acquiring that particuar lease through a third party.

Are Daniels and the Cow Common Trust now quietly acting as a joint third party for Tesco to open a giant superstore in the heart of Hitchin? How the Commoners would justify getting into bed with Tesco would be interesting given that it is a charity which is meant to run Cow Common “for the benefit of the community”. Tesco insist it has “no imminent plans” to come to Hitchin. But, as Mandy Rice Davies famously said: “They would say that, wouldn’t they?”.

Tom Condon

West Hill

Hitchin

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SIR - The proposal for the new Hitchin football ground is totally unsuitable for such a development. It is in the Green Belt and would be difficult to justify on this Government’s much-loved ‘sustainability’ criteria.

It will be sited alongside a very busy road and the traffic it will attract will only add to the congestion which is endemic at the site. Being opposite Kingshott School will only add to traffic problems there. I would have thought that Herts County Highways and possibly the Dept. for Transport might have a say. The proposal lies smack on the only possible route for a ‘proper’ bypass for Hitchin (as opposed to the cheap and not very cheerful Priory bypass built as an expedient 30 plus years ago to relieve Tilehouse Street).

The route will be essential to link the Wymondley and Offley bypasses if, as seems very likely, Luton Airport does expand its traffic considerably.

The A1(M) and M1 do need linking properly in this area in any case.Is ‘New Road Developments, Clifton’ the same company which had, or possibly still has, a plan to build 300-500 houses on Green Belt land between the bypass and Little Wymondley?

We need not look to NHDC being of much assistance in opposing the Top Field re-development proposal (a new supermarket which Hitchin does not need?) judging by its performance in the Churchgate saga.

Robert Sunderland

Oak House

Little Wymondley

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SIR - I’m surprised Hitchin Football Club needs more ‘granularity’ before kicking the relocation proposal into touch. The scheme would mean the death of the club because it would starve it of supporters. The beauty of Top Field is that people can walk there. Put the ground out of town and you have lost all those who don’t have access to a car or fancy popping along to a game on a whim before kick off. You will also lose the sight of the faithful trudging to and from the match - a minor charm of a small town with football team with deep local roots and history. Accept this nonsense and the club will have scored a fatal own goal.

Toby Shelley

Walsworth Road

Hitchin

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CLOCKING ON

SIR - Having seen my article on the Letchworth Garden City miscreant town hall clocks, I was astonished to find a reply within the text from Andy Cavannagh the NHDC Head of Finance, Performance and Asset Management, (Could we find him a longer title please?).

His inane diatribe regarding the time keeping on the clocks faces is I’m afraid typical of our council’s attitude to most things, in that it doesn’t matter. He obviously has no concern about visitors to Letchworth Garden City, nor in fact to anyone who may look up to the clocks for a time check, maybe to catch a train, bus or simply meet up with a friend.

The clocks, Mr Cavannagh, are a vital component of the town centre, the fact that the clock is very old - we know that.

We also know that all clocks can lose or gain time. You state that your primary responsibility is to keep the building weathertight. Wrong sir, your primary responsibility is to the townsfolk and visitors of Letchworth Garden City.

To that end surely one important factor is to ensure the town’s most public clock is set at correct time.

Barrie C. Woods

Eastern Way

Letchworth Garden City

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LIGHT SHOCK

SIR - I have recently submitted the following complaint to Herts County Council and would be interested if you have had any other complaints from locals?

They say we are always trying to improve the services we provide to the community and do our best to provide quality services to our customers by treating them with care, respect and honesty. If this is this case then can you please explain why the street lights are now switched off at midnight?

I am a serving police officer and work long shifts and have to walk home from the train station at late hours. So, as you can imagine I am not impressed why, after I pay my tax, that I have to now walk home in the pitch black. You state that you are always improving services so why then are you now stepping backwards with this stupid idea. My tax has risen year on year (unlike my wages) and I expect a basic service i.e. lights on when I and everyone else who has a reason for venturing out after midnight is trying to get home. I am sure that you have someone who thought this would be a good idea and even voted on it and agreed it.

I am sure that I do not stand alone and think this is a stupid idea, please switch the lights back on or I am sure that you will be contradicting your own statements of “We are always trying to improve the services we provide to the community and do our best to provide quality services.” How can this be the case when you have removed a basic service? I look forward to your response, and could you please provide me with the name of the person who thought this would be a good idea?

Craig

Address supplied

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GRAVE MESS

SIR - I am writing to you as I, and many other people I have spoken with are angry about the way loved ones’ graves at the cemetery (Wilbury Hills) are being desecrated in the way that rabbits have now started to burrow directly into the earth of the graves themselves.

This follows previous frustration from when rabbits started to eat flowers from the graves and stones, which left a mess of broken and half eaten flowers on the graves. Also previous to this, there was an issue about the actual gravestones being placed at the foot of the grave instead of the head, which as well as myself and family, upset many people as our loved ones could not have the “headstone” at the head of the their graves. NHDC do not seem to take these concerns seriously, and I know of one man who was prepared to take them to court over the matter. I have written to you, as I feel these concerns should be taken seriously and spoken out about.

Iain Dunne

Address supplied

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SIR - I visited the Wilbury Hills cemetery on Friday to put flowers on my father’s grave and was shocked to notice that rabbits have been trying to burrow into the graves. Apart from the rabbits eating the flowers myself and other people are putting down for family the graves have rabbit droppings and holes in them, I find it quite distressing to see. I am sure I’m not the only person upset by this.

Name and address

Supplied

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ROUGH ROAD

SIR - I totally agree with Russell Johnson with regards to the shoddy resurfacing in the Shephall area of Stevenage. The leaflet which the contractor put through our letter boxes explained the procedure which was to put a first layer down which acts as a levelling layer then a top layer.

As far as I’m concerned they only put one layer down and when it rains you can see the puddles in the road which means the ‘levelling’ layer is not doing its job mainly because it was not applied.

Whatever happened to the old way of scraping off the top layer and putting a high quality layer of tarmac down, this would last for many years, the rubbish they have just put down will not last one winter hence a total waste of tax payers money.

Years ago we had council clerks of works who would go round and inspect a contractor’s quality of work and make sure the tax payer were getting value for money.

Do the council still employ these inspectors because any respected works inspector would not pass this shoddy mess.

I would like a response from Hertfordshire County Council Highways as to why the contractor did not complete the procedure as per their brochure, were they instructed to lay only one layer to save money?

R. Worden

Address supplied

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LISTER PARKING

SIR - Has anybody else noticed the totally inadequate and insufficient traffic warden patrols at Lister Hospital?

As a regular patient to the Lister Hospital for treatments I regularly can not park in certain areas where I wish to. Below is a list of examples of why, that I witness on regular occurrence:-

Cars in the car park outside A&E, without either staff permits or a valid parking fee ticket displayed.

Cars parked in disabled parking bays without a disabled badge.

Cars parked in disabled parking bays with a valid disabled badge but without a valid parking fee ticket.

Cars parked on kerbside pavements along exit road to A&E.

Cars parking illegally and in no allocated parking bays behind already parked cars in disabled bays next to the ambulance entrance at A&E either blocking cars in or leaving it very difficult to get cars out.

Orange and red consultant badge holders parking in disabled parking bays.

Orange and red consultant badge holders parking in the 20 minute parking drop off point outside A&E (for hours on end or indeed the whole day).

I have witnessed this on numerous occasions after having treatment for five to six hours.

Why is this being allowed to happen? I do occasionally see a car with a ticket attached to the side window that has been issued with a parking fine, but it is very few and far between. It is obvious there needs to be a daily visual presence of traffic warden patrols to deter these inconsiderate people who refuse to abide by the rules and regulations, and so illegally are using and filling up the car parking spaces where us honest folk wish to park and indeed need to park on a regular basis.

Come on Lister parking authorities pull your finger out, give us regular patients some help. Let’s see a visual presence of traffic warden patrols policing the car parks and freeing up valuable car parking spaces.

Name and address supplied

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COUNCIL VOTE

SIR - Letchworth residents have currently got an opportunity by means of a postal survey delivered in early May to state if we want a Town Council or some other form of additional representation for the Town. The survey forms part of a District Council Review involving

our community. I believe that we do not need a Town Council or some other form of Parish based representation for the following reasons:

A. We already have the services we need, provided by Herts County Council, North Herts District Council, who have local representation for residents through their Letchworth Area Committee, and the Letchworth Heritage Foundation.

B. The Town Council added unnecessary complexity and cost to local taxpayers, and can be highly inefficient, as was well demonstrated by the administration which were resoundingly beaten in the 2009 election.

C. Communities, local volunteer and interest groups are numerous in Letchworth and, it seems to me, are usually able to find a voice for themselves.

D. Animosity, tribalism, bullying and often individual interest can ensue, as occurred on numerous occasions, without the normal checks that routinely take place at District and County level.

As for the suggestion by a few that NHDC are considering abolishing the town, what absolute emotional and misleading tosh. Of course the town is not going to be abolished; simple as that. What ever is decided, I hope that it is the culmination of genuine thought and argument by those in Letchworth and NHDC and it is not influenced by propaganda and misrepresentation of the truth.

Ian Lawrie

Aubreys

Letchworth Garden City

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MESSY OWNERS

SIR - I have recently become a dog owner, and it’s not until you start taking a pooch out for walks you realise how disgusting some dog owners are.

I and my wife pride ourselves on making sure any doggy dos our pooch does are picked up and discarded correctly.

Unfortunately there seems to be a large number of dog owners who are incapable of even thinking about doing this, let alone actually doing it.

You should be ashamed of yourselves. It gives a bad name to those who do take care. It begs the question: who is the animal?

And while we are on the subject of rubbish, what is it with people who discard rubbish from their car windows or just throw rubbish on the ground as they walk around? I have witnessed people getting something from a fast food outlet, eating it and then driving away and throwing the rubbish from the window over the car into the bushes.

Be proud of the country you live in. Be proud of where you live.

Name and address supplied

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DRIVING MAD

SIR - Please can driving instructors teaching on Clothall Common estate forbear from teaching three point turns on the main road while Yeomanry Drive is closed. We already have an extra 3/4 mile drive to enter and exit the estate and every time there is someone practising this manoeuvre. It is very frustrating especially at busy times. The whole estate would be grateful.

Name and address

Supplied

Poles apart

SIR - Could someone from Stevenage Council tell me if the coloured poles that have been erected at the Hyde Shopping Centre have any significance? It seems such a shame that the money is not spent on lowering the shop rents and therefore making it more attractive to retailers, thus making it more of a shopping centre than a derelict shopping site with some unusual coloured poles.

Susan Hall

Address supplied

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BEE BATTLE

SIR - As someone brought up to be interested in birdwatching I now regard myself as an environmentalist.

Consequently I was aware of the content in the articles on honeybees in last week’s edition and appreciate your publication of them to raise awareness re the difficulties bees and other insects are facing. Current weather difficulties are relevant but people’s attitudes to insects of any type can also have a negative impact on their numbers. I accept that disease carrying or stinging insects can be problematic but so many people do not seem to appreciate the positive need to have enough insects to pollenate our fruit crops etc.

Another aspect of this attitude which concerns me is the number of catalogues which advertise items which kill all insects indiscriminately. I have no problem with products which deter insects from coming “too close for comfort” but in these cases insects, whilst being a nuisance are something, I believe, we should learn to live with. I hope, therefore, people will carefully consider garden products they purchase in regards to insect control so that insects & humans can co-exist in a better way. This will also mean our garden birds have enough food during the summer.

There is the similar problem with the rapid decline of hedgehogs and song thrushes due to the slug pellets used by gardeners which then poison

the other garden creatures.

KM Tuck

Address supplied

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