Review of the Year: October

SPENDING cuts rocked Comet country in October, and there were also marches and a Lewis Hamilton pit stop.

* ONE topic that you couldn’t escape from this month, both in Comet country and nationally, was the cuts that would come as a result of the Comprehensive Spending Review.

Councils were told that they would have to save 7.1 per cent annually over four years, with policing authorities having to find savings of 4 per cent annually over the same time period.

Reacting to the cuts, North Herts District Council leader Cllr Lynda Needham said that in order to make the savings of �1.4 million annually, the council would “require some radical changes to services over the next few years.”

Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland said of the review that “it was important to protect the most vulnerable in our society by driving waste out of government.”

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* More than 200 post office workers across Comet country took to the streets to march against potential closures, including the Stevenage Mail Centre, which was proposed to be relocated to Hemel Hempstead.

Unions supported the march, and set up petitions to oppose the move by postal chiefs.

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Paul Turnbull, from the Communications Workers Union said: “It’s a 50 mile round trip for workers travelling from Stevenage to Hemel Hempstead and it’s not reasonable for people to travel that far.”

* Comet country went vegetable mad, with a flurry of gardeners contacting us about the giant vegetables they managed to grow.

Vito Valenti cultivated some colossal pumpkins by just watering them, Tony Primett managed a 183 kilo pumpkin by “feeding it with any type of plant food”, and Alberto Marcantonio grew a marrow that stood at 63 inches in length- about the average height of a woman.

* Stevenage born Lewis Hamilton made a pit-stop at his old primary school, delighting pupils and staff there.

The youngest ever Formula 1 world champ spoke to children at the school and answered all of their questions.

He told them: “It’s very, very strange [to be famous]. I go to Tesco and everyone recognises me.”

* A football fan from Arlesey talked exclusively to The Comet about his experience in Naples, where he was attacked by a vicious gang of Italian hooligans.

Gary Brown had gone to watch his beloved Liverpool FC play in the Europa League, but ended up being set upon by Napolese fans with poles and knives.

He said: “I’m still going to go [to games], but I have never known a place like Naples in all my years.”

* Plans for a Hitchin rail flyover moved a step closer, after being given approval by the Secretary of State- a move which angered members of the Hillcrest Park resident association.

It was reported that in order to complete the �62 million project, Wilbury Hills Road would have to be widened to allow easy access to the site.

“It’s definitely going to cause trouble, and if anything there’s going to be a death,” said resident Alan Hinchliffe.

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