Little chance to have success on a plate

HERE S something which I think is quite a conundrum. It concerns two agencies of government, one of them in my view implicitly encouraging people to do something which the other is warning that you will be fined heavily if you do. The issue under the Pers

HERE'S something which I think is quite a conundrum. It concerns two agencies of government, one of them in my view implicitly encouraging people to do something which the other is warning that you will be fined heavily if you do.

The issue under the Perspective spotlight is so-called cherished car numbers.

Their official sale was sanctioned by Paul Channon (later Lord Kelvedon) after he became Transport Secretary in 1987.

He was a member of the Guinness family and said to be the richest member of the Cabinet at the time, but that is by the by.


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There had been private selling of number plates for many years before 1987 but difficulties were placed in the way of deals - notably that a would-be buyer had to buy the vehicle to which was attached the number plate and then transfer the plate to the car they really wanted it on.

But that did not deter some. One of the best-known collectors of cherished numbers even before they were called that was flamboyant Tory MP Sir Gerald Nabarro who 50 years ago amassed a small collection starting with NAB 1. He died in 1973.

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Lord Kelvedon died on Saturday, two days before the DVLA put out a press release promoting its easy to use cherished number plates service which is now a multi-million pound business.

This proclaimed that romantics across Britain will be looking to surprise their sweethearts with something extra special this Valentine's Day.

Top of the list could be a registration beginning with K155. Also offered is M155. You could even go for MY07 LUV for the latest love of your life or, either to mark when you first met the beloved or to remember an old flame, MY06 GAL or MY05 GUY.

Prices start from £399 and can reach astronomical figures.

To my mind, anyone with the cash to splash on such extravagances would want to make it crystal clear to said loved ones - and the world in general I suspect - that the message gets across.

And the way to do that is to have the number plate made with non-standard fonts and spacings so that at a glance people will read it as KISS, for example.

And that's where the problems can start.

On the same day that the DVLA put out its press release, Herts Police issued its own announcing that, in conjunction with the DVLA, it will be running an operation in upcoming months aimed at clamping down on illegal number plates in the county.

So there we have it - temptation with retribution threatened if you give in to it.

It's a funny old world.

Perhaps it is better to walk everywhere. I'll certainly be doing a few paces if one of the ideas for improvement of Howard Park in Letchworth GC is given the go-ahead.

A generation of kids have missed out on a small adventure I enjoyed as a youngster.

The narrowest part of the paddling pool in the park used to have half a dozen circular concrete stepping stones from one side to the other.

They were taken out "for safety reasons" which was crazy. But now they could be reinstated. I can hardly wait.

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