LETTERS: Illegal parking after Stevenage games and Baldock graffiti highlighted

Illegal parking outside Stevenage FC's ground has been highlighted

Illegal parking outside Stevenage FC's ground has been highlighted - Credit: Archant

Illegal parking after Stevenage FC games and graffiti in Baldock which has been there for more than two years are among the topics covered in today’s letters.

Lazy layby

SIR - I would like to thank the seven or so car owners that illegally parked in the bus stop outside Stevenage FC after the Tranmere game to pick up their relatives.

About 30 spectators were waiting for the bus to get back to town only to find that when the bus arrived it went straight past having had nowhere to stop, meaning another 20 minute wait or a choice of walking. Many of the people waiting were elderly so the latter was not an option.There is a huge car park opposite at Fairlands Valley Showground. Perhaps the answer is getting traffic officers at the end of home games to issue fixed penalty notices as these selfish idiots obviously feel they are above the law.

Name and address supplied


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Graffiti mess

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SIR - Many of your readers will be aware of the graffiti in two areas on the wall opposite the graveyard in Baldock. This vandalism took place more than two years ago.

During this time neither North Hertfordshire District Council or Hertfordshire County Council have removed the damage as the walls are in private ownership.

In the interest of the local community, surely they should help and gain written consent from the owners to act? I reckon the work would take an hour. Ridiculous as it sounds, if they don’t, then this public throughway will always be an eyesore.

David Hall

Address supplied

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We should not reduce size of play space

SIR - Regarding your article headed ‘Green light for new homes plan’ – do not the Stevenage councillors think it odd to reduce the size of the play space on Marlborough Road/Cromwell Road?

This serves approximately 250 houses and now there is outline planning permission to build two-four bedroom homes when the developer on the proposed 95 homes on the Longfield site in Hitchin Road is to be charged with installing a children’s play area?

How many houses and residents does it take to leave our play space alone and let the youngsters continue to play here, as was deemed when the estate was built 50 years ago?

Resident of Cromwell Road

Stevenage

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Store flaw

SIR - I am surprised by the naive and negative reaction of a few people to the news that Debenhams is to open a store on the Roaring Meg Retail Park rather than in the town centre.

As someone who lives in a nearby town I welcome the opportunity to visit a Debenhams easily on the park, as you can with the Laura Ashley store.

Stevenage town centre is quite honestly vile. I can’t think of any store that would tempt me to bother to visit it in its run down, dirty state with all the empty units, phone shops, pound shops, charity shops and other lower end retail options.

Nothing in the town at present suggests the residents are likely to shop there either, even Marks and Spencer could not maintain an ordinary store in the town and now only have an outlet presence.

If the store was located in Stevenage town centre I – and I’m sure many others – would simply choose to visit Debenhams in Welwyn Garden City where there is a real Marks and Spencer, a John Lewis, and a range of pleasant independent retailers.

These complainers need to face reality, Stevenage doesn’t, and won’t ever stand a chance against other, better, more attractive and pleasant towns and Debenhams, being a business, cannot be blamed for avoiding such an unviable location.

Name and address supplied

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SIR - I’ve looked at the plans and accompanying detailed report on the propsed Debenhams department store for the Roaring Meg Retail Park (available on Stevenage Borough Councils website) how can they say there is nowhere in the town for it to go?

I can’t understand why they didn’t mention the land around the leisure centre, bingo hall, car parks and Swingate. It’s a big area and was included in the 2010 redevelopment plans?

Also they say it will have little effect on the town centre in trade terms and that it won’t affect any future regeneration and expansion in the town. Well of course it will, people coming in to Stevenage to visit the Roaring Meg and Debenhams will do just that.

Roaring Meg also hope to attract other fashion stores like Next, H&M, River Island and New Look, will these have two stores in Stevenage or move from the town centre? It won’t affect future town centre development they reckon, the stores that a town centre redevelopment would attract are going to be on the Roaring Meg so there’s your answer.

Mary Yates

Address supplied

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SIR - I write concerning the new Debenhams store planned for the Roaring Meg Retail Park in Stevenage.

I can think of one very good reason why Debenhams, (or any other large department store chain), would want to build a big new store at the Roaring Meg; free parking for all their customers.

As a motorist I am sure that I speak for many when I say that I am fed up with being seen as a ‘cash cow’ for local councils when I want to visit town centres. This amounts to nothing more than a ‘poll tax’ on going shopping and using local businesses.

I am reminded of a story a few weeks ago in the Comet about shopkeepers and traders in Knebworth High Street protesting to North Herts District Council (NHDC) over parking charges being introduced at a public car park nearby. Like many councils throughout the UK, NHDC and Stevenage Borough Council completely fail to see the connection between extortionate parking charges and the death of the high street. Introducing parking fees where none existed before will simply drive customers away to out of town retail parks where the parking is free.

We are not charged for parking at purpose-built retail parks, we are not charged for parking at local shopping centres around Stevenage, so why does Stevenage Borough Council want to sting us?

Robert Townsend

Address supplied

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Messy walk

SIR - I live in Sefton Road, Stevenage, and my children attend Martins Wood Primary School.

Every morning we walk to school through the housing area, and dodge the disgusting, increasing amounts of dog mess left on the pavement.

There is only one dog bin on the route, not enough in my opinion. And I do think that bags should be attached to the bins to encourage people to pick up their dog’s mess, as they do in several areas now. Also, the fact Hertfordshire County Council has seen fit to turn off our street lights at night, leads to people walking in the mess, trailing it along the path in even more places for us to avoid the next morning.

I think there should be a campaign to highlight this issue, it’s unhygienic, detrimental to the environment and our children’s enjoyment of the outdoors. In this day and age when we are trying to encourage people be more environmentally friendly, use the car less, get outdoors more.

It makes you not want to walk to school, or anywhere, just because some dog owners are so irresponsible and have such little care or consideration for others.

Amy Elliott

Address supplied

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Shop plan

SIR - There has been a planning application for a restaurant to replace a residential home facing on to the Bowling Green at the north end of Stevenage Old Town. This part of the Old Town has a lot of heritage and has so far remained relatively commercial free.

It would be such a shame for Stevenage Borough Council to grant planning permission, as this would just encourage other potential businesses to encroach on this historic area. It would also mean the loss of a home which we are desperately short of.

Even though the proposal is for a ‘high class bistro’, once the change has been made from residential to Class A3 (restaurants and cafes), any nationwide chain could move in. So, for the residents who don’t mind the idea of a ‘high class bistro’, I urge you to think again at the possibilities of a future with yet another Costa Coffee, pizza takeaway or McDonalds.

Sharon Jarrett

High Street

Stevenage

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Food waste

SIR - I read with interest several letters from your readers last week regarding the issue of how food waste in North Hertfordshire should be placed in the brown bin.

Firstly I should confirm that unfortunately due to strict EU composting regulations, our waste collection contract with Hertfordshire County Council does not allow us to accept newspaper, cardboard or brown paper bags in the brown bin.

Instead, cardboard and brown paper should be placed in the grey mixed recycling bin, and newspapers in the blue paper box.

One of your readers correctly points out that from April 1, the council will no longer be providing free compostable liners to residents for their food waste.

Unfortunately the liners are expensive and were not deemed to be providing value for money for council taxpayers. As one option, residents can continue to use their green caddy to collect their loose food waste in, which can then be emptied directly into the brown bin. I do however accept that some people may not wish to do this if they have particular concerns about smells for example.

A further option is that residents can purchase their own compostable liners for use with their caddy, as the composting farm at Cumberlow Green will now accept any compostable bag as long as they display the Seedling logo. This logo is a guarantee that the bags will compost quickly. These compostable bags can be found in major supermarkets and other stores, and a list of some stockists can be found on our website.

I hope this will put some of your readers minds at rest regarding how they can continue their excellent food waste recycling efforts.

Cllr Peter Burt, NHDC Portfolio Holder for Waste and Recycling

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Buy a bag

SIR - I’m amazed at the controversy generated by the withdrawal of biodegradable food bags.

Bought online, two bags per week costs about 13p – a fraction of the cost of the food happily being wasted in the bag.

And the number of bags is directly related to the amount you waste. Food for thought maybe?

Jim Bassett

Ickleford

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Tongue tie

SIR - In regard to the ‘Mums speak out over tongue tie in babies’ article last week I was disappointed to read that mums in Hertfordshire are still being let down by a general lack of awareness within the NHS of tongue tie and its impact.

I say still because my son was born with the condition four and a half years ago at the Lister. I had pain breastfeeding him from the start and knew something wasn’t right, he was my second child and I knew breastfeeding should not cause pain.

He and I were seen by a number of midwives postpartum and a couple of health visitors and I would argue that no one with experience of tongue tie, checked him as it was not diagnosed until he was nine-week-old when I went to a Breastfeeding Network Drop-in (BfN) in Letchworth GC. There one of the supporters quickly realised it was likely to be tongue tie causing our feeding issues and referred him to have it released. Unfortunately there was no service at the Lister for this and we had to travel to Bedford where immediately post release I was able to breastfeed him pain free.

I believe at present the system is even worse than it was. The same BfN supporter can no longer refer a baby directly to have a release. Supporters have to fill in a form which the mum has to take to her GP. Mums and babies are then at the mercy of their GP.

Many GPs do not realise what an impact something as seemingly small as tongue tie can have on a baby’s ability to breastfeed and in the longer term to manipulate food in the mouth and even to speak clearly.

Many do not refer for a release and when a referral does happen a mum can wait up to six weeks for funding. Six weeks is a very long time when each feed is painful and many mums may reluctantly give up breastfeeding before they are ready.

Christine Bell says that there are two examinations carried out on a baby in the hours and days after it is born. This may be the case, but how many of the staff carrying out the examinations are trained to spot a posterior tie versus an obvious one at the tip of the tongue? Also she does not address what happens when a tongue tie is diagnosed. Diagnosis is only half the story. There needs to be training across NHS Hertfordshire to increase awareness of tongue tie.

Emma Faulkner

Coleridge Close

Hitchin

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Parking spot

SIR - I note with interest the new permit parking restrictions at long last put into place around Baldock Railway Station, and in particular throughout Icknield Way.

I am sure the affected residents are delighted now being able to park outside their own properties. However without a car park being constructed in the area the result has been to move the daily rail passengers’ vehicles outward from the railway station and just outside the permit parking area.

It seems that the problem has just been moved and not eradicated.

Why can’t the district council look at the Arlesey Railway Station solution? A purpose-built car park with affordable parking fees. There is plenty of room on the south side of the Great North Road, to the side of the Kingfisher Walk where a large car park could have been situated prior to the permit parking coming into operation.

UK PLC is built upon the use of the car.

Indeed our whole lives operate around the use of the car, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Why in that case are there so many people in local government whose whole purpose in life is to demonise the motor car? We must embrace it and continue to use it to the betterment of our society.

Roland Talbot

Kristiansand Way

Letchworth GC

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