LETTERS: Stevenage motorists go potty over potholes

Potholes in Stevenage have been up for discussion

Potholes in Stevenage have been up for discussion - Credit: Archant

Motorists in Stevenage have been hitting out at the state of the roads on our letters page published today (Thursday).

No thought to where cars will be parked

SIR - I was very surprised to read about the council’s consultation over proposed parking permits and restricted parking on Grays Lane and West Hill in Hitchin.

Whilst there is a parking issue, particularly towards the bottom of both roads, there is a more severe problem on the neighbouring street, Oughtonhead Way.

The main entrance to the expanding Samuel Lucas School is on Oughtonhead Way and, as the parking problems get worse, it is becomingly increasingly dangerous for children to cross Oughtonhead Way on their way to school. Cars park on the corners of roads leading from Oughtonhead Way and on chevroned areas which increases the danger to pedestrians. Navigating the road by car is increasingly a challenge. As a result of parked cars, the road is mainly ‘single track’ all the way from the school up to Victoria Road.

This results in drivers having to reverse round corners to find a passing point, or occasionally coming to a complete impasse. If the council goes ahead with these proposals, the parking issue will be moved from West Hill and Grays Lane to the nearest roads. It is vital that the council takes a more holistic approach to parking issues and does not just shift the problem. I would urge the council to take Oughtonhead Way and the roads which lead from it into consideration as part of this consultation.

Delyth Richards

Most Read

Address supplied


SIR - Whilst pre-consultation on parking restrictions in west Hitchin is welcome, the schemes offered show how badly thought-out proposals could do more damage than good.

The professed aim is to assist residents to park close to their homes. Three options would all prevent residents living in the western ends of the roads from all-day parking anywhere in the area affected as they are not offered permits.

When questioned, council officers admitted that no survey had been done, but that they were aware that “lots of houses had adequate off road parking”. In fact about a third do not, which takes only a few minutes drive up and down to check. Pre-consultation limited to those options is therefore largely a waste of time and money. Any sensible scheme has to offer parking permits to the whole area where parking is to be restricted. Residents need to respond robustly by February 7 to the inadequate leaflet. Residents’ views on real options need to be firmly established before the council decides whether or not to renew allocating a third of the Lairage car park for parents at Samuel Lucas School. The current trial runs out in July. If parking is restricted in west Hitchin, all the empty space in the Lairage will be needed for the displaced commuter parking.

Robin Dartington

West Hill



Kind act

SIR - I would much like to sincerely thank Thomas John who found my train season ticket and bank cards recently. He made special efforts to contact me by email and called my work place in order to return my things. Thomas’ honesty and genuine efforts to return my things is so considerate I just wanted people to know that there are clearly good people with a kind heart who have a social conscience.

Thank you Thomas. I wish you well, you deserve it.

Joe Heeney



Club’s battle

SIR - Following a committee meeting of Hitchin Town Bowls Club I have been asked to contact you with regard to the article in the Hitchin Comet newspaper on January 16 2014.

We have been involved in the discussions held with all parties involved with the proposed regeneration of the Bancroft Recreation ground over several years.

We are saddened at the way Hitchin Lawn Tennis Club has been treated in the past and at present.

Over several years facilities in the recreation ground have been allowed to deteriorate ahead of the implementation of the so called regeneration.

Our club has stated from day one of the consultation regarding regeneration, that it is imperative for the survival of our bowls club that provision of parking for visiting teams and members is incorporated in plans. At the meeting on January 16 our representatives were informed that there would not be any provision of parking due to Lottery funding stipulations thus possibly jeopardising the future of our club. Although there is public car parking provision nearby this is not always available to our members and visitors as the car parks are usually full.

As stated in your article we feel, as the tennis club do, that officers behind the project have proven to have little integrity.

Alan Cook

Treasurer Hitchin Town Bowls Club


Bag theft

SIR - Last Saturday my handbag was taken from the disabled toilet along with my pension, glasses, cards, key and bus pass.

The bus pass has my name on it and my address is in the telephone book. Might I ask this person to spend a little of my pension money posting my property to me.

Thank you.

Name and address supplied


Space battle

SIR - I am astounded and shocked that yet more greens here in Stevenage have been land grabbed by our money grabbing council.

With each new development through Great Britain a Section 106 agreement is paid by the developer to the local council, involving colossal amounts of money. This is exclusively why each council is ignoring democracy and citizens’ rights in each community.

Shamefully Sharon Taylor, the leader of Stevenage Borough Council, is forever going on about the need for more and more houses. There can be only one obvious reason for the council’s insistence with this campaign – firstly the developers’ Section 106 agreement payment and then the expected council tax collected each year from each house built for the next 100 years or more.

What importantly is never ever considered are the local residents’ concerns asking ‘where are the very young children able to meet and play’ now that the greens are gone?

Over the last 30 or so years, the increase in house building here in Stevenage has expanded tremendously throughout the whole of this town. The evidence is plain to see if you visit the library and look back at the maps of the town of Stevenage. You will be amazed about the amount of green that has been snatched for housing, when one considers the fundamental ethos and philosophy of this new town when built years ago was to retain and maintain all the green, open spaces.

Not forgetting our ‘Longmeadow Green’ here in Oakfields Close which was snatched by the council, completely dividing our healthy community who enjoyed this essential open space over many years.

I wish good luck to all in Marlborough Road and Ferrier Road in saving your greens.

Anthony Glanfield



Wind beauty

SIR - I was intrigued by the (anonymous) response to my letter about the beauty of wind turbines. I agree with so much of it.

I, too, would like to see much capturing of energy from wind and wave. I am active, with others, to save energy and use fuel efficiently. However, David Mackay, in his classic Sustainable Energy - without the hot air, available on the web at www.withouthotair.com, essentially concludes that we’ll need to use all the renewables at our disposal to replace the fossil fuels, and will still have to use less energy.

In Letchworth we have a problem with insulating homes, and microgenerating heat and/or electricity with solar panels, because the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation’s design principles restrict what some householders can do. See http://www.letchworth.com/heritage-foundation/designprinciples

Recent extreme weather all around the world tends to confirm what the scientists know; burning fossil fuels is making our planet uninhabitable for homo sapiens and many other species. We need to stop now.

Peter Willcox

Bedford Road

Letchworth GC


Gone to pot

SIR - I wonder how much longer Hertfordshire County Council will continue to ignore the appalling road surface along the entire length of Archer Road in Stevenage from Lonsdale Road to Webb Rise. This has been the case for at least four years and is a very busy bus route.

Many bus drivers I have spoken to confirm the surface is awful. Maybe the council would argue finances are tight yet they found the money to resurface two town centre roads recently, namely the pull-in next to Southgate House and the other side next to the library. These two roads have nowhere near the volume of traffic Archer Road has.

The situation will no doubt deteriorate even further once the regeneration of the King Pin pub and Archer Road shops gets underway with more lorries coming to build the new houses planned and causing extra traffic. I wonder if any of the councillors lived in the area and had to use this road on a regular basis that it would remain unrepaired. I doubt it.

Alan Gant

Archer Road



SIR - I like many residents of Stevenage get very angry and frustrated at the amount of potholes in and around our town. I have reported many and get a reference number and an email saying they are assessing within there guidelines. Instead of assessing just get out there and fill them in.

I like many are still under the belief the road tax (or whatever they call it) is meant to pay for the upkeep of the roads but it is probably syphoned off to pay for other things. I have also had to get a new tyre as this was damaged by a pothole at night when the streetlights were off making it very difficult to try to avoid. It is an expense not needed.

I am sure if you asked for a comment from Hertfordshire County Council they would come out with some politically correct statement, well we as motorists are not interested – just get them fixed. I have taken a couple of photos of potholes not far from my home and I am sure there will be similar all over town.

Name and address withheld


Toilet trouble

SIR - May I add a comment as it is not just the disabled toilets in Hitchin that have a problem, having used the ladies’ toilet some weeks ago, I found that the door opens directly onto the pavement. It was very embarrassing to open the door onto a passer-by who fortunately did not appear to suffer as a result of the collision. The toilets themselves are a great improvement on the previous, but the access needs to be re-assessed.

(Mrs) M. Mahoney


Action call

SIR - It was good to see extensive coverage of local Holocaust Memorial Day events in the Comet last week.

However remembering alone is insufficient to ensure “things like The Holocaust never happen again” as the subsequent genocides in Darfur, Bosnia, Cambodia and Rwanda have shown. In addition, race and hate killings continue all over the world including right here in the UK. We remember The Holocaust to be reminded to keep learning and noticing where any acts of bullying, negative stereotyping, racism, sexism, homophobia or any form of discrimination occur. Holocaust Memorial Day activities, whether they are a formal civic event or education and display in a library are all about encouraging each of us to learn more. Increased awareness enables us to recognise these heartless acts do continue but should not. They invite us to ask “what will I do to ensure the unacceptable does not become accepted”.

Jacqueline Beattie, member of the North Herts Liberal Jewish Society

Fox Road



Pet care

SIR - I recently phoned the general number for North Hertfordshire District Council (NHDC) regarding a dog which was in trouble and asked politely for the animal department. The reply I got was “I am unable to do this, firstly I need to know what it is about”. I told her a dog but that wasn’t sufficient. So I went into details. She then went back to the animal department and after a few minutes came back to me and told me they were not able to speak to me as this wasn’t a stray dog.

This dog was at a house where the housing association had evicted the tenant leaving and police were involved. No one seemed to notice a dog on the premises, however a kind member of the public was so concerned – having noticed the dog had badly cut his paw on the glass left on the floor – that she took the dog home with her and phoned the local Herts East branch of RSPCA of whom I am the branch secretary.

With the help of this kind person the RSPCA has organised and paid for the dog to receive the appropriate veterinary treatment.

Surely if a housing association evict people and, as in this case, the police raid a property they should notice an animal is there and do something to help it and take responsibility for it especially as in this case the animal was injured.

There was a time when NHDC had a dog warden. Now no one is working together and everyone tries to pass problems regarding animals elsewhere rather than take responsibility for them which I find incredibly sad.

Pat Trussell

Honorary branch secretary

RSPCA Herts East