Review of the Year: September

Almost 5,000 objections were made against plans to build on Green Belt land to the west of Hitchin after just two Saturdays of campaigning by an opposition group in the town. The forms which were handed in to North Herts District Council by West of Hitch

Almost 5,000 objections were made against plans to build on Green Belt land to the west of Hitchin after just two Saturdays of campaigning by an opposition group in the town.

The forms which were handed in to North Herts District Council by West of Hitchin Action Group protested against proposals by a landowner for 8,000 homes and a bypass around the town.

The plans were put forward after the council called for possible sites to meet Government housing targets by 2021.

The Comet heard the concerns of community groups and residents in Hitchin and joined the fight to preserve Hitchin Town Hall as the heart of the community.


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We called on councillors, who were hastily pushing through a scheme for a district museum in the building which would mean the loss of the historic ballroom, to rethink the plan and look at other options.

A woman pleaded guilty to animal cruelty after a dog was found starved to death in her home and another was so hungry it had begun to eat it.

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Magistrates at Watford Crown Court heard how Zara Deter, 26, of Willow Tree Lane, Hitchin had left the Staffordshire bull terriers, who were mother and daughter, in a small, squalid room with no food or water.

The mother dog had been dead for some time.

It was announced Aston will be playing its part in the London 2012 Olympics after residents were chosen to accommodate athletes from the British Virgin Islands.

Parish chairman, David Stimpson, said: "The team doesn't have a huge budget and without friendly assistance like this it could make it very difficult. It could make the difference between them being able to come and not being able to come."

There was relief and excitement among Comet country pupils as many schools recorded their best ever GCSE results.

The number of students getting five or more A to C grades including English and maths went up again this year with many tales of outstanding success and improvement.

A double arson attack shook Hitchin as Hitchin Lawn Tennis Club pavilion was destroyed and Bancroft Hall damaged.

Both buildings in Bancroft Park were targeted in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The damage to Bancroft Park was not substantial but the club house was gutted by flames which destroyed equipment as well as kitchen and toilet facilities and disrupted the season's play.

Concern was raised by retailers and councillors in Stevenage after it was reported Tesco had made approaches to turn Elmes Arcade in the High Street into a Tesco Express.

Staff at the popular Garden House Hospice charity shop in the arcade called on Comet readers to help find them alternative accommodation while Old Town councillor James Frazer worried the move would hurt small traders.

A former youth football coach was jailed after he was convicted of sexually assaulting two boys.

John McHale, 59, from Baldock who was a coach at a junior football team at the time of his arrest was given 15 months after luring two teenagers into his bed.

While a Stevenage man who burgled the flat of his dead neighbour was told it was the meanest offence imaginable by a judge.

Luton Crown Court heard how James Foy, 22, broke into the property 10 days after his neighbour's death to steal property to fund his drug addiction.

Judge John Bevan deferred sentencing for six months to see if he could mend his ways after Foy showed repentance.

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