Review of the Year: December

A SERIES of town centre developments were the topic of conversation in December, and cuts to council services were announced.

* Cuts to council services across Comet country were announced, with all four local authorities in the area outlining plans to save millions of pounds, with suggestions that the effects of the cuts could be even worse than originally anticipated.

Things on councillors hit-lists included street lighting, buses, adult care services, leisure, music, play services, youth development, environmental upkeep, burials, parking, markets, call-out services, waste and recycling and public transport for the elderly.

Officers and members at Herts County, Stevenage Borough, North Herts District and Central Beds councils raked through non-statutory services to find the savings.

* Despite opposition by union members earlier in the year, Royal Mail approved a move to cut postal services in Comet country.

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The green light meant that the Stevenage sorting office will relocate to Hemel Hempstead, and Hitchin delivery office will close, resulting in a total loss of 300 jobs.

“We are really concerned about our workers in Stevenage,” said union member Steve Butts, about the announcement.

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* A number of town centre redevelopments were the subject of discussion in Comet country.

Stevenage town centre regeneration was described as still “firmly on track” by Stevenage Borough Council, with a planning application for the �250 million scheme to be considered in the new year.

Meanwhile, residents still showed their opposition to the Hitchin Churchgate development, branding proposals for the retail shopping development as “too risky” and “absolutely ridiculous.” And plans for a Letchworth shopping centre revamp were scrapped.

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