Review of the year 2018: May

PUBLISHED: 10:03 29 December 2018

Cancellations and delays caused mass overcrowding on commuter trains to and from London. Picture: Jason Flynn

Cancellations and delays caused mass overcrowding on commuter trains to and from London. Picture: Jason Flynn

Archant

In May, commuters saw the start of a long battle with timetable drama, North Herts had major issues with bin collections, and Stevenage pulled together to help a family whose young daughter was battling leukaemia.

Problems with the trains continued for several months following the May timetable changes. Picture: Nick GillProblems with the trains continued for several months following the May timetable changes. Picture: Nick Gill

Chaos for commuters began with the roll out of a new timetable – which didn’t go exactly to plan, and saw people from across Stevenage and North Herts battled with frequent delays, cancellations and overcrowding – which continued into the summer.

Months down the line, train operators Govia Thameslink have since introduced an interim timetable, and most recently, added additional services with more to come.

Things became so bad that Hitchin passengers resorted to blocking the train doors to get train stops reinstated, after the decision was taken to skip certain stations due to delays.

North Herts District Council began its new waste contract with collection providers Urbaser in May.

Bins in North Herts were regularly missed after new contractor Urbaser took over in May. Picture: DANNY LOOBins in North Herts were regularly missed after new contractor Urbaser took over in May. Picture: DANNY LOO

Much like the rail timetables, the roll out of the new contract – which saw the council take the controversial decision to charge residents £40 a year for garden waste collections – did not go smoothly.

The Comet were inundated with complaints of missed collections across Hitchin, Letchworth, Baldock and surrounding villages throughout May and beyond.

As a result, the council announced in December that the current 12-month payment period for those who signed up to the garden waste service be extended by three months.

It also agreed to provide a free roll of compostable liners for the kitchen food waste caddies to all households.

Bins in North Herts were regularly missed after new contractor Urbaser took over in May. Picture: DANNY LOOBins in North Herts were regularly missed after new contractor Urbaser took over in May. Picture: DANNY LOO

In Stevenage, the Royal Oak in Walkern Road hosted a family fun day to raise money to adapt the home of one-year-old Mia Percival, who was diagnosed with leukaemia in January.

Mia had endured chemotherapy, blood transfusions and heavy medication and and her parents Lisa and Alan needed to make sure their home is safe and ultra-clean for their daughter. The family fun day was set up to raise money to enable them to do this.

During Mental Health Awareness Week friends and family of late Francesca Barrow came together to raise money for the charity set up in her memory – Friends Raising Awareness Now, or FRAN – with a family fun day.

Francesca sadly died following a long battle with mental illness. Proceeds from the day went towards a room in her honour at the Stevenage branch of mental health charity MIND.

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