Letters round-up (Including a poem on bin bother)

Reader's picture: Summer and winter flowers, sent in by Lesly Partridge
Reader's picture: Summer and winter flowers, sent in by Lesly Partridge

A selection of your opinions from this week’s Gazette.

Waste Services

Too tiny for a turkey

Having just fitted one of the council-supplied ‘compostable kitchen caddy liners’ into my caddy, I was surprised by how small the liners are. I’m looking forward to trying to fit the carcass of my Christmas turkey into one!

G Burton, Boxmoor

Waste Services

A poem on the bin system changes

Eeny, meeny, miney and mo,

How do these new dustbins go?

One for silver, one for gold

One for secrets, I’ve been told!

One with polythene all in wraps,

Feeding local fox and rats,

All the best to all of us,

Wonder who paid for all this fuss!

Anita Crawley, via Facebook

Waste Services

What happened to our composting success?

Recently you will have been supplied with a new blue lidded bin that replaces the tree containers previously used for recyclable waste and a new ‘kerbside caddy’ for food waste. Did you read the accompanying leaflet carefully? Because it includes a sentence which quietly defines the reduction of the green bin (garden and compostable waste) collection service to a single bin. Previously we have been told about the success and importance of Dacorum’s composting of green bin waste, how Dacorum was becoming ‘self sufficient’ to meet its own compost needs and later how we could all share in the fruits of this success with access to free compost.

We were told that we could buy as many green bins as we liked and many people who garden have taken advantage of the opportunity.

It now appears that while we can still have multiple bins in the future only one will be emptied at any collection. So are we to assume that Dacorum’s need for compost has declined to match the clear decline in service to Dacorum’s residents.

Nowhere in the too little justification of the changes provided to residents will you find any explanation of why a lesser green bin service makes sense for the ratepayer and in particular why what was previously trumpeted as a success now needs to be very quietly reduced.

Please don’t tell us it’s ‘the cuts –.there still seems to be enough funding available to accommodate the distribution of many thousands of brand new bins and descriptive leaflets and the possible waste of the containers previously provided.

This can have nothing to do with increasing recycling or reducing the requirement for landfill so why has it been done? As a ratepayer I call upon those that have made these decisions to provide a plausible justification for them to the people that pick up the bill.

James Mills-Webb, Felden

Waste Services

Bin bother is just counter-intuitive

Dacorum’s new recycling arrangements are completely counter-intuitive.

The new blue-top bin is to take all sorts of rubbish that previously we sorted as being useful to recycle separately, for example glass bottles and newspapers.

Now these are to be thrown together. Where will they get resorted, who will do it and at what cost to the council tax payer?

By contrast the grey bins will be largely redundant for most of us. Can you imagine filling a grey bin with sweet and crisp wrappers every two weeks? I don’t have babies who generate nappies and I probably have polystyrene packaging to bin only once or twice a year.

The green bins for garden waste and the kerbside caddies are the only items that make sense.

Can someone from DBC kindly say what the financial saving in a year will be, if any, and what the increased proportion of recycled waste will be, if any?

Ian Senior, Kings Langley

Station stress

Parking problems are getting worse

As a resident of Tring which relies on the Station I am becoming increasingly concerned about the desperate need to expand the car park somehow.

In the last week alone I have not been able to park in the car park three times.

The problem continues to get worse and worse and the situation urgently needs addressing.

We most certainly cannot allow the building of any new houses or flats whatsoever in Tring or Pitstone until the car park is expanded and the planning regulations which are preventing it’s development are lifted.

Joseph Stopps, via email

Lost and found

Can we find a solution to a losing problem?

Helen Berridge was thoughtful enough to advertise an item of lost property – a gold locket – in the Gazette recently . This has reminded me of an instance a year or so ago when I lost the keys to my home and was confronted with the same problem of where to go to either enquire about, or handin, an item of lost property. This is a situation arising directly from the lack of public access to our police station in Hemel, inconveniently dealt with at Watford since the front desk closure.

I raised the issue with Mike Penning MP and to be fair to him, after listening to my suggestion, he took the matter to a Herts Constabulary meeting, but nothing ever transpired .

Is it beyond the local authorities in Dacorum to have a dedicated unit in town where items that are in the ‘lost and found’ category can be deposited or claimed, for example, The Roundhouse building near Boots? I daresay the person who possibly found my keys may well have been encouraged to hand them in to a local facility rather than traipse to Watford.

I write in the hope that this can start a chain reaction for something to be done about this. By the way, my keys are still out there somewhere !

Mr R.LL. Griffiths, Hemel Hempstead

Evolution woes

Is everyone living in a fantasy land?

Was it a Freudian slip that led to The Gazette’s promised ‘after the Evolution’ picture of the town centre of Hemel Hempstead – showing a rustic wooden signpost at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro? 
I’d hoped for something better in the ‘after’ picture. This follows the previous week’s ‘artists’ impression’ of the possible replacement for the Civic Centre, which The Gazette represented as some kind of ‘reality’. It seems that The Gazette may have joined those councillors who are, as one of your correspondents suggested, living in fantasy land.

Dacorum Borough Council is demonstrating a huge act of faith in spending large sums of our money on Hemel Evolution in the belief that, if Marlowes is tarted up, large numbers of persons will rush to visit, spend their money and revitalise the town. That strikes me as a strange contrast to their justification for failing to spend a penny on the long-promised replacement for The Pavilion on the grounds that nobody will turn up to use it. The smaller scheme in our High Street, appallingly-badly managed with its time and cost over-runs (it was still incomplete as at end-October), to say nothing of the dismay expressed by some of the local businesses about the combined effects of the one-way traffic and the so-called parking improvements, seem to have been misconceived.

It’s a bad omen for the outcome of the far larger scheme for the middle of town.

And, as onother of your correspondents observed, DBC seems hell-bent on another scheme aimed at doing yet more damage to our High Street conservation area by adding 80 modern dwellings just above Cherry Bounce, in an unnecessary and unjustified bit of Green Belt-grabbing – opposed by several local folk including me, and also by Hertfordshire Campaign to Protect Rural England. There are elections next May, as a result of which it’s more than likely that those who agreed to these schemes will no longer be around by the time that the scale of the misconceived planning decisions becomes evident. But we shouldn’t ascribe all the blame to local councillors: in the famous Robin Day interview of years ago in which he described Sir John Nott as a ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ politician, he reminded us that behind the politicians, whether national or local, are the unaccountable, unelected officials who, in effect, control them. We should remember that famous ‘a courageous decision, Minister’ from Sir Humphrey when dissuading Jim Hacker from a particular course of action.

So whichever may be the political leaning after May 2015, the same bunch of Sir Humphreys will remain in post.

We need to be sure that, whoever we elect as local councillors or from whichever political party, they are properly equipped and supported to challenge the Sir Humphreys of this world: and that they are equally disinclined to simply ‘toe the party line’. So that’s me in living in fantasy land, too?

Michael Nidd, Piccotts End

Highways

How to report your road problems

I would like to clarify the situation with Hertfordshire County Council’s highways locality budgets, as reported in the Gazette on November 12.

Each county councillor has a highways locality budget of £90,000 which they can allocate to local highway projects. If residents have ideas about work that needs to be done they need to contact their local county councillor and not me personally.

I am the local county councillor for Hemel Hempstead North West, which includes Chaulden, Warners End and Gadebridge, and I would be pleased to hear from you if you are a resident in these areas. However, if you live in another part of Dacorum you should contact the relevant county councillor directly, contact details for which you can find on www.hertsdirect.org

Terry Douris, County Councillor for Hemel Hempstead North West

Bus cuts

We cannot allow bus cull to happen

Firstly, I would like to thank the 4,000+ residents in Herts who signed the petitions we presented to the County Council opposing the bus cuts.

As you know, the Conservatives had proposed to cut all county-supported bus services after 6.30pm in the evening and all services on a Sunday – affecting some 58 routes and cutting 809,000 passenger trips.

As I have exposed, there was no need to do this as the stated aim of these cuts was to ‘save around £700,000 from the bus budget in 2015/16’. In fact due to underspends and bus grants from Government there is already an expected saving of £753,000 this year and the next two years.

It was therefore not unreasonable to expect the Conservatives to listen to the views of residents in the official consultation on bus changes, which showed just 30 people out of 4548 supported these cuts.

So I moved at the Highways meeting a Liberal Democrat motion not to proceed with any bus cuts and instead to look at how services could be improved and routes enhanced to increase bus usage and reduce subsidy levels.

I, and my fellow Lib Dem councillors, were shocked when our motion was voted down by the Conservatives, who then instead voted to cut another £1.5m on top of the underspend from the bus budget. They have now voted through a plan for a further expensive consultation (it’s legally required).

Herts Tories showed they are heartless and want to cut the only means of transport for tens of thousands of residents, whether to get to work, hospital, shopping or just going out. This will leave them without access to public transport when they need it. We cannot allow this cull of our service to happen and we will be fighting from now till next May, when the final decision is made, to stop this. In the meantime we urge residents to respond to the consultation in January, and sign our and others’ petitions.

It seems Tory MPs in Herts have remained silent on this and not written one letter to the county opposing cuts – I wonder why?

Stephen Giles-Medhurst, Herts Lib Dem leader