LETTERS: Comet May 9
THE letters in the Comet on Thursday, May 9.
SIR - We now have a police commissioner appointed to oversee the police. He thinks he now ‘needs’ an assistant to deal with public relations, presumably to be supported by an office suite with secretary and all of its ancillary equipment in order to assist him to carry out his ‘part time job’ as commissioner.
How much is this additional level of bureaucracy going to cost in order to justify his appointment as commissioner whilst the rest of us are being exhorted to become more economically aware, reduce costs and improve efficiency in order to enable our councils to maintain our services? On the basis of proposed salary alone this would equate to the employment of six full time people at the national average wage, or 10 people if employed at the minimum wage.
May I suggest that the ‘commissioner’ tackles what was originally presumed to be a full time job and makes a more determined contribution to the service he was appointed to do without depriving the funds and time of our councils and police who need to provide the services that are in process of being reduced or even cut.
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- 3 Woman trapped in car after colliding with tree on A602
- 4 Cancelled school trip to red list Peru sees some students losing £2,250
- 5 Hitchin Boys' teacher honoured with national award
- 6 'COVID can't stop us!' - Zimbabwe school fees raised with garden party after Stevenage Day cancelled
- 7 H-Town Almost Unlocked to celebrate 'eclectic mix' of Hitchin retailers
- 8 A602 remains partially shut in Stevenage after crash
- 9 Stevenage schoolboy wins national chef award
- 10 Special needs school's urgent appeal for swim helpers
SIR - Councillor Parker’s comments on “school staff changes” continues to puzzle and amaze.
Of course he has a right as a county councillor to comment on education issues but, in his default “whinge” setting he then proceeds to take umbrage that it was none so grand as he, but (county) councillor Sharon Taylor, leader of the Labour Group at Stevenage and Hertfordshire County Councils, who was consulted and quoted instead. Even were we to take his comments at face value and follow what he preached I presume therefore his fellow Liberal Democrat councillors at County Hall who are not district councillors will therefore refrain on campaigning or commenting on district council issues? Is the Comet expected to activate the hotline to Stevenage Lib Dem HQ every time an issue arises that might affect Chells or Chells residents? Might it not be an altogether more reasonable proposition that, if county councillor Parker felt so strongly about local education issues, that he involves himself on the governing bodies of one or either of these schools, or the appropriate overview and scrutiny committtee.
I also wonder when Parker says “some of us have been concerned for many years about the fact that exam attainment in Stevenage schools is generally significantly lower than in the rest of the county” - comparing Stevenage to leafy Harpenden or Berkhamstead is hardly fair, is it? But that said - Stevenage secondary school performance for 5 A* to C GCSEs in Stevenage has improved by 7.7 per cent over the last four years since 2009. The countywide figure? 6.5 per cent. Indeed, the national improvement figure is 8.1 per cent, so Stevenage are a touch below that. Hardly the picture Parker paints.
While Robin is free to believe that the key to raising educational attainment in Stevenage is “aspiration”, it might also have something to do with other issues, such as a lack of resources, ever greater pressures on teachers, and constant political interference in the curriculum, education structures and local school governance. If councillor Parker wants to make sure the “right new heads are chosen”, can I suggest he now involves himself in the local education community so we all benefit from his considerable experience in the area? Or is, as is more likely, he is likely to lose interest in this area and go off to find something to complain about?
SIR - Yet again Herts County Council (HCC) have surpassed themselves with their stupidity and lack of forward thinking. We received a letter regarding putting double yellow lines on St Michaels Road in Hitchin. We, like many residents returned the form stating we agree double yellow lines should be put down as a safety issue. At present cars are parking either side and of the road and an accident is very likely.
The council have gone ahead and put the lines down but only about 50 metres up from the roundabout - guess what all the vehicle owners are doing now when they want to park up and go to the railway station?
The lines should of be marked down for the whole of St Michaels Road. Instead of resolving this dangerous situation the council have made it worse as the road narrows further up the road where there are no markings. I have been in touch with the council regarding this but am still awaiting a reply - I won’t hold my breath.
Instead of employing people with degrees I wish they would employ someone with a qualification in common sense.
SIR - Anyone who has cause to drive along Basils Road and/or Stanmore Road will know what a frustrating buisiness it can be, both roads have ‘blind bends’ and both roads are frequently very congested with parked cars on both sides of the road, this means that very often two cars end up approaching each other from opposite ends of these roads with no vacant place for one of the vehicles to pull in to allow the other to pass, I often find I have to reverse until I can find a place to pull in.
I wouldn’t dream of suggesting that parking should be restricted in any way on either of these roads, residents need to be able to park. What I am suggesting is that both these roads be made ‘one way’ with traffic flowing from West to East, ie from Church Lane to Letchmore Road. This would allow a reasonable traffic flow without the problem of another vehicle heading towards you.
If this suggestion meets with favour with the appropiate local authority perhaps other residents on these roads could be asked for their opinions?
Mr Colin Carter
SIR - A long, hard winter has been hitting our hard-pressed A&E departments and putting real pressure on the nursing, medical and support staff who are struggling to deliver care and meet the targets.
A&E services always attract big headlines partly because they are by far and away the most visible part of our NHS. They tend to be well resourced with fantastic staff who are committed to looking after the sickest of patients.
The real question is what is going on well before a patient ends up in a hospital A&E? Are our other hospital and community services as well organised and resourced as they need to be, are our out-of-hour services as robust as they need to be?
In order to understand the pressures faced by A&Es, all parts of the newly-reorganised NHS, and social care, need to have a thorough understanding of the health needs of our growing population of older people.
Solving the “crisis” in A&E is not the beginning or the end of the problem. Those solutions lie across social care, across NHS hospital and community services, and out-of-hour services.
We hope the new GP commissioners and all the care providers in the NHS and social care system can work together to understand the problems, share the responsibilities and deliver the solutions.
Royal College of Nursing
SIR - A very big thank you to all of the schools and businesses in and around Hitchin which supported the recent Marie Curie Great Daffodil Appeal by taking a box of daffodils and to everyone who kindly donated money for the daffodils. We have raised the marvellous sum of £1,015.20 which will pay for over 50 hours of care for people with terminal illness by Marie Curie nurses in the comfort of their own homes. Marie Curie are very grateful for your support.
Marie Curie Cancer Care
Hitchin and District
SIR - I hope I can use your letters pages to thank all those who voted for all candidates in Hitchin North on May 2 2013, together with the officers who cheerfully ran the election and those residents who campaigned with us.
I am very pleased to be elected again to serve all residents in Hitchin North as a Labour county councillor. I am writing to assure all residents that however you voted, or if you didn’t, I will be doing my best to respond to your needs.
Cllr David Billing
Sir - I would like to thank the electors of Hitchin South for returning me once again to be their representative at County Hall.
Rest assured I will continue to work for all residents to ensure the interests of this area are heard loud and clear at Hertford.
Please do get in touch at Derrick.ashley@hertfordshire .gov.uk
SIR - May I through your letters page thank all those who voted in the county council election on 2nd May 2013, the officers who ran the elections and everyone who helped me during the campaign. I am very pleased to be elected and will serve all residents of Wilbury and Grange, and I will do my very best to help in anyway I can.
SIR - I would like to thank sincerely all the residents of Chells, Stevenage, who voted for me. I would especially like to thank those who normally support another party, but voted for me this time.
The other candidates in Chells also have my appreciation and thanks for conducting a fair fight and giving the voters a choice.
I will of course represent all residents of Chells to the best of my ability, whoever they voted for or, indeed, if they voted for no one.
As always, we ran a very local campaign in Chells, about local Chells concerns – which is of course what any local election should be about, rather than national issues.
I was first elected to a council seat in Chells in 1982 and my intention is to continue to look after Chells in council related matters, to continue to stay in touch with residents and listen to them, even when there isn’t an election, and to continue to take up council related casework problems.
My Liberal Democrat team try our best to work really hard for Chells all year round and I must also express my thanks to them for all their support at all times.
Cllr Robin Parker
SIR - I should like, through your columns, to thank all those who voted for me in the recent county council elections. Because of their support and the weight of the UKIIP vote throughout the country the Government has now been forced to begin re-evaluating its policies.
I should also like to thank the returning officer and his officials who conducted this election in such a fair and efficient manner, enabling North Herts to declare an impressively early result.
UKIP candidate Hitchin South
SIR - I would like to thank the residents of Bedwell and Pin Green for re-electing me to serve as their county councillor for the next four years at the county council elections on Thursday.
I truly appreciate the trust and confidence of those voters and now look forward to working with all the residents and community groups on the issues that concern them and to making sure that the voice of Stevenage people is heard at county Hall.
I will be holding regular surgeries with the local councillors for both Bedwell and Pin Green, attending residents groups and can be contacted by email or phone so I look forward to hearing from local people, County Councillors also have specific budgets to spend in their areas of £10,000 for community use and £90,000 for highways improvements so if residents have ideas for how these can be used to make a real difference in Bedwell and Pin Green, please let me know.
Lastly may I say thank you to all those involved in the election, especially the election staff and the police. I really believe in local government and our election team and police ensure we all have confidence in the democratic process. Thank you to party activists who have worked so hard, often in horrible weather this year. I am also grateful to our local media, newspapers, radio and television who keep us all informed during elections.
Thank you again, it will be an honour and a huge privilege to serve you.