LETTERS: Potential near miss over Stevenage skies and solar farm objection

An example of what the solar farms could look like

An example of what the solar farms could look like - Credit: Archant

A potential near miss over the skies of Stevenage and an objection to a plan to build a solar farm near Hitchin have featured on this week’s letters pages.

Reasons for rejecting solar panels farm

SIR – Proposed solar panels at St Ippolyts (Comet, June 19).

I strongly oppose this ‘development’ for several reasons. (Interestingly, one cannot register an objection on the NHDC site although the plans are there).

1) Present generation of solar cells are not particularly efficient and will take a long time before the CO2 burden of their manufacture is equalised by their production of clean electricity.

2) They will not operate continuously. Only when the sun shines and certainly not when it is overcast. Which is most of the time here...

3) They will take up valuable agricultural land presently needed to grow food for an ever-increasing population. Not that this argument seems to have much sway in regard to the massive developments planned in this area. Any agricultural land taken up by development should be ‘replaced’ elsewhere by the developer, with land not presently in cultivation.

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4) They are an eyesore in a rural area which is attractive. Again, not an argument of much use against major developments here...

5) Solar panels, if appropriate, which is doubtful (see #1) should only be fitted on the roofs of buildings (as is the one on our roof) where they are not so visible and more importantly, do not take up agricultural land.

It is not the public who will benefit from this ‘green’ electricity, it is the owner of the land. A fine crop of solar panels, working or not, is more profitable than the beans, oilseed rape or barley, which are normally grown on those fields. And of course the installation and operating company gets a nice fat subsidy from a misguided government in pursuit of EU-generated CO2 reduction targets.

CO2 in Britain may be reduced slightly by these monstrosities (and inland wind turbines) but plenty is emitted in the countries where they are made, probably in China.

Robert Sunderland

Little Wymondley


Warning over flower thefts

SIR – I am writing in the hope that you can highlight to all Stevenage gardeners that there are people stealing hanging baskets.

My mother and several other residents of Ross Court have had their hanging baskets stolen from outside their homes.

It’s bad enough that they have spent their money on the many plants, they have stood with aching limbs putting their baskets together, waited patiently until the baskets have been strong enough to be put up on display and watched as the blooms have started to blossom.

Imagine the shock when they have gone to water and found someone has gone on to their property under cover of darkness and brazenly stolen and walked off with their hard work.

My mother and the family are disgusted that anyone could do such a thing, to creep in to a cul-de-sac away from the road with the intent on stealing and not just once but to return again for what they had left behind.

Fortunately I had secured the second basket with a padlock and chain which defeated the thief on this occasion and a camera will be the next step. How sad is this?

So if anyone has been sold a basket or received one as a present be aware it may not have purchased from an authentic source. My mother only hopes whoever has her prize hanging basket remembers to water it regularly as these people or person cannot possibly be gardeners as they would not have done such a a thing.

Jacqueline Ougham

by email


Was this a near miss?

SIR – Did we experience a near miss in the skies above Stevenage?

At about 12.35pm on Saturday, June 21, we suddenly heard a roaring of aircraft engines directly above on the flight path into Luton Airport, over Archer Road/Lonsdale Road near the Shell petrol station.

An incoming flight obviously had to put on emergency power and climb to avoid another aircraft in the area.

Having been alerted by the noise I looked up and saw the incoming plane in the distance far higher than it would normally have been for its approach. It later returned having made a turn to make a further approach. I also saw another aircraft which appeared to be like a glider with large wingspan although could not have been as it was under engine power travelling from west to north-east on about the same level as jets approaching Luton.

With the proposed expansion of Luton Airport this sort of incident becomes more concerning especially with the extra traffic that will come with these proposals. I just hope the powers that be have taken into consideration the safety issue.

Graham East

Archer Road



A right to a peaceful night

SIR – In reply to the resident who lives near Peartree Park, (‘New GP Surgery will be improvement’ – Letters, June 26) I live in Gonville Crescent and for this person’s information we did NOT complain about the proposed new surgery. In fact we are very pleased we are getting such a nice new surgery!

The actual FACTS of the matter are that the council wrote to all residents whose houses back on to Ridlins End asking for any ‘comments’ about the proposed surgery site.

Over the six years since we have lived in Gonville Crescent, we have been plagued by children and youths either running across the top of our garages and shouting abuse if one asks them to stop, setting fire to cars outside the garages, or groups of them gathering very late at night, just where the surgery is to be built.

They drink alchohol (and possibly take drugs), scream and shout and disturb people’s sleep. We have no objection to young people enjoying themselves at night, and an open space like Ridlins End playing fields is obviously attractive to them, especially as it is out of sight of the main road. There are not many other places youths can go at night to be totally honest, but we also have a right not to have our property vandalised and to be able to sleep peacefully at night.

Our “comments” were not “complaints” as this person so erroneously states, we just explained the problems we have experienced and requested that in view of these comments extra security and CCTV were included in the plans for the new surgery. These comments were in line with the requests made by the police concerning the surgery.

However, the council has REFUSED to install CCTV saying it is not needed. They are going to put a fence around the surgery and are adding shrubs! They think this will be enough to deter youths and the police have agreed with them!

There is CCTV at the sports pavilion at the bottom of the playing fields and car parking, and no play park for the children which would have to be lost, but the council rejected this site for the surgery.

We walk in the park every day and there are always people with children using the swings.

Name and address supplied


Composting initiative

SIR – I have found the initiative to provide us with food composting bins very worthwhile.

The bins and bags are quite small and that has made us think about what food we are throwing away and reduce food waste.

We have tried to keep the bags use in sync with the brown bin collection and on the whole have succeeded – we still have a fair number of bags from the original roll.

Clearly some food stuffs such as fish and raw chicken need to go out sooner rather than later.

I notice that Wilkinson do sell compostable bags and we should continue to use the service.

As an aside, I really appreciate the black bin, where I can just dump cardboard, glass, plastic, etc, without further sorting.

Joseph Chismon



Bin was ‘too dirty’ to take

SIR – I noticed that my grey bin had not been emptied last week, with a sticker securing the lid down stating it had not been taken because it was ‘filthy’.

Hello? It’s a bin. I checked inside and there was the usual tins, bottles, plastic containers, etc.

On a call to North Hertfordshire District Council I was told it may have been because I had not washed out the tins. How ridiculous.

In the next breath we are told that it’s okay to place loose food in the brown bins, but we must wash all our refuse before placing in the rubbish in case of ‘cross contamination’?

I do wonder about the world sometimes.

The bin has still not been emptied despite an assurance it would be done on Friday, June 27.

Name and address supplied


Parking priorities

SIR – Last week I went to visit the Chestnut Tree Children’s Centre in Letchworth GC with my twin toddlers.

Unfortunately we had to park a long way away from the centre and school, as the gates were shut and I was told by the centre staff that there is no visitor parking on site.

I noticed there were numerous cars parked on site in the parking spaces, and was told these belong to the Radburn Primary School teachers and staff.

It seems absurd that staff are given priority parking over those who have small babies or toddlers with them. Instead, these young families have to park on the roadside, unload surrounded by traffic and dangerous cars. And it gets really busy. As it is such a narrow road, people are constantly reversing and conducting three-point turns as there is so little space. Surely it is only a matter of time before a young child gets injured.

I would think it would make more sense for young families to be able to park safely on site, where they can unload their belongings and children in a safe, traffic-free environment.

Please could somebody advise why this is not the case?


by email


Town hall concerns

SIR – Further to the ‘£4m vandalism of the town hall could be a criminal offence’ story in the Comet on June 19 which was a sequel to the front page on June 12, our community groups have been deeply concerned about the refurbishment of Hitchin Town Hall as a Grade II-listed building.

As the representative at the stakeholder group meeting of the Arts Council for North Hertfordshire I wrote to Daniel Scholes, chief executive officer of North Herts District Council (NHDC), expressing serious concerns about the project on March 29. The reply was dated May 22 and received in June and the question on the key crimes remain unanswered.

If substantial changes are being made should the matter be referred back to the planning committee? Have the builders a sound track record in renovating a Grade II-listed building? Can you make good the unfortunate work not required and carried out thus destroying the stage?

Whatever the legal wrangle, surely the project NHDC management team have to be held accountable. It also seems that the Theatre Trust has a statutory interest and shall have been notified by NHDC during the project planning stage. English Heritage and Hitchin Town Hall Ltd are being expected to function the changes which are detrimental to the Grade II-listed building.

Brian Foreman




Ladies’ help

SIR – I would like to thank the two lovely ladies who came to my assistance on June 19 outside Portmill Surgery in Hitchin.

I didn’t manage to get your names at the time but please know your kindness and help were very much appreciated.

My daughter was thankfully ok after some care from the great team at the doctors’ surgery.

Many thanks for including this, I didn’t know any other way to get in touch with the people concerned!

Name and address supplied