LETTERS: Praise and criticism over Letchworth potholes

Potholes in Bedford Road, Letchworth GC, have been discussed in today's letters

Potholes in Bedford Road, Letchworth GC, have been discussed in today's letters - Credit: Archant

Potholes have been on the agenda again on our letters page published today (Thursday), with both praise and criticism levelled at those responsible for filling them in.

Credit to council for prompt road repairs

SIR - We all grumble about the state of our roads in Letchworth GC so, when I heard that Hertfordshire County Council was to repair the road round Broadway Gardens, I was pleasantly surprised.

As a district councillor I am used to receiving complaints about the roads, even though they are not the responsibility of North Hertfordshire District Council.

Then the Hertforshire Highways signs went up announcing that there would be road closures from Thursday, March 27, for up to a week. As our road leads onto the Broadway, we were obviously going to suffer some inconvenience. Walking into town on Friday, I noticed that the road on the far side of Broadway Gardens, in front of the old Boys Grammar School, had been repaired at some time during the night without our noticing.

Returning home that evening, we saw that cones were being placed across the end of our road. Good, I thought, that means we won’t be disturbed by traffic noise tonight. I was wrong. About 10pm, I heard noises outside our house and stepped out to see what was happening. There were huge construction vehicles parked all along the road and more around Broadway Gardens with the whole scene lit by spotlights.

The thought of this being repeated every night for the rest of the week was somewhat daunting. I have grown accustomed to the streetlights going out at midnight and the spotlights were considerably brighter than the street lights. Fortunately, the noise and light was not noticeable at the back of the house and we slept soundly.

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In the morning there was no sign of any construction vehicles and the road works were finished. Even the yellow lines had been painted. Impressive! The whole thing had been accomplished with the precision of a military operation. Congratulations to Hertfordshire Highways.

Cllr John LD Booth

Pixmore Way

Letchworth GC

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SIR - I live in the Wilbury area of Letchworth GC and feel aggrieved by the actions of Hertfordshire County Council’s highways department regarding potholes. Bedford Road and the surrounding area is in an absolute mess regarding the surface of the roads.

Thanks to my local councillor, Gary Grindall, in some places the holes have been roughly filled to calm the situation but how can the relevant authorities justify totally resurfacing and re-lining the road area around the fountain and gardens in Broadway to make it look pretty while ignoring areas like Bedford Road and Eldefield which need urgent work to rectify problems?

Around the gardens area there was only one small area needing attention yet the whole road was resurfaced. Someone should stand up and explain their actions. Motorists are suffering on the main thoroughfares through Letchworth. The usual reply when reporting road problems is ‘the area concerned has been inspected and is acceptable’.

Len Day

Letchworth GC

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Painful cuts

SIR - Could I through your pages take the opportunity to thank Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland and the former mayor of Stevenage Jack Pickergill for taking up my invitation to see the problems many residents of Stevenage are now facing after the Labour-controlled borough council introduced the double yellow lines throughout the residential areas of Stevenage.

The Paddocks is on a bus route and because of the parking congestion (caused by the yellow lines) cars park right up to the junction. This causes the buses to struggle to get round the junction, then as the bus continues along the Paddocks they struggle to get along without having to mount the pavement.

This is a direct result of having reduced the parking along the paddocks. Due to the yellow lines, cars park on one side of the road and car parked on the opposite side and where they meet the “pinch point” becomes very narrow hence any large vehicle like a bus or more seriously a fire engine struggle to get through. I put it to Stevenage Council that your introduction of the yellow lines, is purely to reduce parking spaces and to increase your revenue through parking fines.

Sharon Taylor’s smiling face was at the top of the page announcing many cuts to the services in Stevenage, if your budget is so bad you need to cut services to the needy and vulnerable of Stevenage, then why are you wasting valuable money on painting double yellow lines which a vast majority of Stevenage resident don’t want or need, or could it be the real reason you need to increase revenue, is to pay for the extra four council members who are paid over £100k in 20011-12 from the two in year 2010-2011?

Roy Worden

UKIP Candidate for Shephall

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Spray shock

SIR - I’ve noticed recently when walking my dog on Norton Common in Letchworth that somebody has been spray-painting dog faeces.

I think this is completely pointless. Someone is probably doing it to highlight the issue of irresponsible dog owners not cleaning up after their dog. However it just creates an eyesore, and doesn’t actually deal with the problem.

Surely it would be more useful to pick the faeces up and put it in the bin provided? I have a dog and always clean up after him. I also have two young children so really don’t want them to be playing around with dog faeces. However I would never dream of spray-painting it.

Perhaps whoever is doing this could start picking it up like everybody else does if they don’t like seeing it on a daily basis. I would rather they did this than make me look at red poo every day on my walks. Thanks.

Katryna

Address supplied

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Good town

SIR - I have to agree with Andrew Scuoler wholeheartedly on the issue of Letchworth Garden City town centre.

I really enjoying walking round the high street as there are many independent retailers and people you can actually have a conversation with behind the till.

Having only moved here two years ago it was refreshing to be able to get to know people in local retailers pretty quickly. It seems such a shame that the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation has to charge such ridiculous rates to these shop owners who are doing their best to make ends meet against a tide of pound and charity shops. I spoke to one shop owner recently and he said that his business was actually doing pretty well in the town, but he was worried about rates going up. If they want more people to visit, and the town to thrive, they need to listen to people and put the rates down. Utter madness!

Cecilia Palao

Address supplied

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Burger blow

SIR - Regarding the article in your paper about the burger trader situated outside Lister Hospital in Stevenage.

It did make me laugh when it was stated the van’s food “doesn’t send out a very good public health message”.

Myself and my three children are regular users of the hospital. Appointments usually take several hours and I have learned to pack healthy snacks with us as the shop situated inside the hospital has nothing to offer other than chocolate, sweets and crisps.

I can’t even buy an apple. I am not suggesting that the burger van should stay or go, just that it is absurd that its presence should be deemed as inappropriate when the hospital does not lead by example by providing healthier options.

Name and address supplied

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Doors open

SIR - Your front page article in this week’s edition refers to the “now closed Christ the King church in Filey Close”.

This is far from the case. While the Roman Catholic congregation no longer worships there, the church is alive and well!

There are Anglican services twice a week, the Immanuel Evangelical church has a service on Sunday afternoons, and finally the church is home to several very active community groups. Please don’t write us off just yet!

Janice Apthorpe

Torquay Crescent

Stevenage

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Liner row

SIR - In response to councillor Peter Burt’s letter regarding compostable bags, when the new waste collection bins were introduced we were told to use these bags which the council would supply.

Now they are saying that they are not cost effective and will no longer be provided, so we can either buy them ourselves or put food waste straight into the bin.

If we choose to do the latter we will then have rotting food sitting in the bin for two weeks which will mean that there will be an infestation of maggots and flies. In the summer it will stink.

I believe that this decision could also pose a major health hazard, further to this we will need to wash the bin regularly and the foul water will then end up going down the drains.

This again is another example of somebody in their ivory tower not thinking through what the implications could be. Do we really want to go back to the times when all you could smell was rotting waste?

A further point is that we pay for waste collection in our council tax and I believe the council also receives money from the recycling, so come on people provide the service for which you are being paid.

Name and address supplied

SIR - I am writing in response to the letter published in last week’s Comet from David Walton entitled ‘Draw a liner’.

Issuing free caddy liners is expensive and so unfortunately the council decided, after much consideration, that this was not providing value for money for council tax payers. Other options were considered including alternative distribution methods such as collection from local community facilities, however there would still be significant costs and administrative resource involved with these options.

We want to encourage residents to carry on recycling their food waste and so continue to help reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill. They can either do so by using their green caddy to collect their loose food waste in and then emptying the contents into the brown bin, or by buying their own compostable liners. The latter has become easier to do as the composting farm at Cumberlow Green will now accept any compostable liners which display the seedling logo.

These liners can be found in most supermarkets and other stores at a reasonable price and details of many stockists can be found on the council’s waste and recycling FAQ page on the website www.north-herts.gov.uk

We do not expect there to be a large surplus of stock, however our waste team will be distributing free rolls of liners at events and roadshows throughout the summer.

Thank you again to all residents for their continued recycling efforts.

Cllr Peter Burt, NHDC Portfolio Holder for Waste and Recycling

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Sorry sign

SIR - In January 2013 a grant application for new village signs in Charlton was received by North Herts District Council and a sum of £1500 approved in principle by the Hitchin Committee. The application purported to come from ‘The Charlton Society’, the local residents association, but was in fact from an individual as it had never been proposed to or approved by the Charlton Society Committee.

I challenged both the Council action and the decision of the Hitchin Committee and was assured in January 2014 by Councillors that, before any money was made available, the proposal would have to come back to the Hitchin Committee for final approval. I was therefore astonished to learn from the Chairman of the Hitchin Committee, this month, that the decision to approve the money would no-longer come back to the Hitchin Committee but be decided by just two district councillors.

If tax-payers money is assigned by this means then I think the public have a right to ask ‘where is the accountability?’

The council appear to have processed a grant application that did not meet their own conditions and by way of removing the final decision from the Hitchin Committee, essentially now behind closed doors, there is no-longer an opportunity for the public to influence the decision.

The situation is further compounded by the knowledge that the residents of Charlton have never been consulted as to whether they want to spend money on new village signs. I suspect there are higher priorities within the community.

Short of continuing to express my disappointment with what I consider to be very poor behaviours from NHDC officers and some Hitchin Committee Councillors I see no way of holding these two groups accountable. Perhaps readers of the Comet, with more experience in these matters than myself, might offer some suggestions.

John Pearce

Charlton Resident

Name and Address supplied

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Lights out

SIR - The traffic boards tell us to expect delays on the A602/A505 in Stevenage.

But the opposite is true. Thankfully the traffic lights outside Sainsbury’s are not working which means that the traffic is free flowing. Long may it last as the great engineer Eric Claxton designed Stevenage to be. Hopefully they will not return and eventually the traffic lights at the junction of the A1(M) will be disconnected through the day to encouraged free flowing traffic once more instead of the inevitable queues that traffic lights create.

David Bundy

Shaftesbury Court

Stevenage

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