LETTERS: More debate over A1(M) Letchworth Gate junction

The filter lane at Letchworth Gate, which has caused more discussion on our letters page this week

The filter lane at Letchworth Gate, which has caused more discussion on our letters page this week - Credit: Daniel Wilson

Double yellow lines and a continued debate about the A1(M) Letchworth Gate junction feature in our letters published today (Thursday).

On the wrong lines to paint double yellow:

SIR - I saw some weeks ago an article in the Comet letters concerning parking in West Reach about no parking on verges and lack of spaces.

This has recently come into effect in my area of Shephall specifically along the Paddocks at the end of Hyde Green North.

I understand that the council want to protect the verges, that’s fair enough,but I have come home this evening (January 9) to find double yellow lines painted just opposite the Paddocks near the junction with Hyde Green North approximately the length of four or five car spaces.


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Firstly, there has been no consultation on these double yellow lines, nothing was put through my letterbox concerning a consultation or a meeting discussing these parking restrictions, I am sure my neighbours would agree on this.

Secondly, parking along the Paddocks is almost always at a premium now due to most houses being at least one or two car families.

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It has been getting harder than usual just lately to find a space outside my house as it is, but with this mysterious double yellow line that has appeared from nowhere today, this will make it more or less impossible to find a space now as my neighbours who used to park where the lines are now find themselves with nowhere to park and have no choice but to park outside my house instead, leaving me and my wife with nowhere to park.

We work shifts and when we both come home, parking will now be virtually impossible.

I can see no reason for this double yellow line to be there at all, there are no dropped kerbs evident so no driveways to block access to, we are certainly not close to a tube or railway station, the nearest station being a few miles away,

so if somebody from either the council or the highways department could tell me why this line has had to painted on, I would be grateful.

Rob Murray

Address supplied

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Code read:

SIR - I refer to the ‘Right Road’ article in last week’s Comet and previous articles concerning the dreaded Letchworth turn from the A1(M) junction 9.

It is still causing concern and dangerous situations as both Chris Jones and previously Eric Simpson have pointed out and it is something I also experience regularly.

The relatively new lane guidance information adds clarity to the situation but is still often ignored. All would, I think, agree that the problem is as yet not solved. Now that there is more information with the advanced lane guidance - which Chris Jones points out adds a little clarity to the situation in the case of incident - why not make it absolutely clear by erecting a ‘No left turn’ sign affecting the central lane, with also painted instructions on the central lane to emphasise the restriction.

This might seem like a hammer to crack a nut - but persons using this junction regularly are frequently reminded that there are plenty of nuts out there.

Though perhaps in the ‘nuts’ defence I would have to agree with Eric Simpson and plenty of others that it is the basically flawed initial design of the junction that has made drivers take what they consider to be ‘the safest route’.

But of course the accident potential is as much theirs as for the others.

So now we have to make the best of a bad job by perhaps overstating the obvious. This would also be much cheaper overall and relatively simple to prevent potentially costly incidents and danger to life.

Peter Barritt

Stevenage

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SIR - I’m afraid that your correspondent Chris Jones has shot himself in the foot by quoting the Highway Code advice which, in this instance will not help anybody.

Your accompanying photo clearly shows the presence of a ‘Give Way’ sign on the slip road. Anyone who emerges from that slip road and collides with another vehicle has clearly failed to comply with the traffic sign and would no doubt also be prosecuted for ‘driving without due care and attention.’

The direction from which the vehicle they hit came from is completely irrelevent. All this just goes to show what an absolute pig’s ear the planners made of this junction.

Eric Simpson

Whitegale Close

Hitchin

SIR - A simple solution for drivers who have difficulty using the badly designed Letchworth slip road is simply to go all the way around the roundabout.

It isn’t far, doesn’t take long, and breaks no rules.

Simple.

John Woolford

Letchworth GC

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Cuts and crime:

SIR - I would like to pass comment on the article in the Comet dated January 9.

The Police and Crime Commissioner is trying to justify his hike in council tax due to cuts etc, but he refuses to comment on how much he has spent on relocation to his home town and also increasing his staff levels. Surely by leaving things as they were he would save at least £500,000 or more.

Are we paying to feel safe or once again line the pockets of so-called officials who are in it for themselves and not the taxpayer?

Name and address supplied

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Lion support

SIR - The Letchworth and Baldock Lions Club would like to thank everyone for the support given to Santa during their Christmas appeal.

The response allowed us to create and deliver food parcels and provide dinners during the holiday period.

The Lions thank you again and wish you a happy new year.

Lion Harry Lote

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Frame shame:

SIR - Countryfile exposed last week that 49% of councils have not yet prepared a Local Development Framework (LDF) against which planning applications can be judged.

In the interim, developers can obtain planning consent for unwanted schemes through appeals granted by planning inspectors against the new reduced regulations that presume consent for any ‘sustainable’ development.

Neither North Herts District Council or Stevenage Borough Council have an LDF in place as yet, 10 years after the duty was set out by Parliament.

Consultations on areas where large housing developments could be placed in the future have shown that developers wish to ring many of our major towns and villages with new suburbs.

While the councils potter on at their own convenience, what risk do we all face that developers will jump in and obtain consent for poorly sited schemes?

Of course the new LDFs must be properly prepared, but why have a full 51% of councils managed to complete the work while our local councils seemingly have not done the work?

Robin Dartington

Westhill

Hitchin

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Our England

SIR - As the political parties have started their ‘if we win the election we will...’ promises, I say that this is England 2014, where jobs are being taken by those from abroad and the indigenous population get paid not to work.

This is England, where violence on our streets is becoming the norm and guns are just not carried by the police. This is England, where human beings are smuggled into the country by criminal gangs for slave labour and sex slaves. This is England, where indigenous and foreign criminals have more human rights than their victims. This is England, where our schools and NHS are at breaking point as their budgets get tighter and the population increases. This is England, where household bills increase year after year and crippling debt is commonplace. This is England where people have to rely on foodbanks to line their stomachs. This is England 2014, the world in which our children will grow.

Edward John Selby

Mountjoy

Hitchin

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Hole trouble:

SIR - Some weeks ago I wrote and congratulated Hertfordshire Highways on finally completing the bridge on Six Hills Way, Stevenage, and gently chided them about the use of the electronic traffic boards to patronisingly ask us drivers if our vehicles were ready for winter. Instead I asked if the question could be reversed and directed back at Hertfordshire Highways to enquire if the roads are ready for winter. Well it’s been quite a mild winter so far and already the potholes are appearing, Six Hills Way between the junction with Rockingham Way and Valley Way is getting worse, there is a great big hole in Warwick Road and I expect every driver has their own tale to tell about the roads they use.

So come on Highways, we’ve done our bit, it’s about time you spent our tax money on keeping our roads safe.

Norman Pipe

Address supplied

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Ticket joy

SIR - A few years ago I received a parking ticket for using the coaches’ bay in Fishponds Road, Hitchin. My appeal was rejected.

It became apparent some weeks ago that vehicles were parking there without any enforcement action. This was confirmed to me in the road by a traffic warden.

It took North Herts District Council some weeks to respond to my enquiry but eventually its officer confirmed I had been fined incorrectly. The council’s wheels move slowly but I have finally been repaid the fine with an allowance for interest.

I hope that any other readers who have been wrongly fined will contact the council to claim a refund because it won’t happen the other way around.

J Walden

Address supplied

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Christmas cheer

SIR - May I on behalf of the people of Hitchin thank the Round Table for their Christmas parcels. I am 86 years of age and look forward to them each year like many others do. Thanks again and God bless you all for the hard work you do.

Name and address supplied

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House hope

SIR - There are three basic requirements for a government and society claiming to be both advanced and civilised to provide their people – these are homes, health and education.

To read last week’s Comet from articles, one could be forgiven for thinking there is a sustained campaign against future generations being able to either buy or rent suitable homes in Hertfordshire.

The letter titled ‘Lutonage’ is dressed up as opposing house building but is in fact intentional or not in support of increased homelessness and ever increasing property values. The majority of professional planners and economists agree that a minimum of 250,000 homes need to be built each year over the next 20 years to meet the national requirements that is a million homes every four years.

As a society we live longer, form smaller family units and our population grows. House building rates well below the need over the last three decades coupled with current government social policy forcing low paid families out of London will increase pressure in the south east of England.

Whilst that is a challenge, it is one that good urban planning can meet based on 21st century Garden City principles with sustainable urban extensions and a small number of new towns. Within Herts estimates of individual local planning authorities show a potential shortfall of between 20,000 and 40,000 homes over the 20 year period. The minimum requirement to meet even past predications of demand is a build rate of 5,000 homes per year. Based on household projections this is likely to grow. Contrary to the scaremongering rhetoric of some there is no need to concrete over the Hertfordshire countryside. The current built-up urban development only takes up less than 20% of the county, and less than a 2% reduction of the green belt is needed to build within current urban areas to meet the 100,000 homes we need over the next 20 years. It’s time we realised there is a housing crisis that will only be solved by cooperation and good planning not dictated by local authority boundaries or self-interest.

John Gardner

Deputy Leader

Stevenage Borough Council

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