Letters round up (Including missing child ordeal made me proud of town)


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

Town investment

Important to get it right over Campus
regeneration plans

The Gazette last week carried some very good news about the future of the Dacorum Campus, West Herts College.

A total of £5 million is to be made available for its redevelopment plus, I assume, whatever else the college can add.

I believe there are some important related matters concerning that future which should be considered.

First; efforts must be made to restore the comprehensive nature of the offered programmes so that the Campus caters more fully for the Dacorum community. The corporate partnership with Watford makes economic sense in our modern society.

However this area deserves an education service that can complement and build upon the work of its schools, and provide quality learning opportunities for post-school generations.

Next, the redevelopment should be of high quality and offer programmes in advance of basic skills and functions.

To that end it needs architectural planning that ensures high educational quality, efficient functioning and fully equipped accommodation.

Third, the quality of the site must be conserved.

If some of the ground is sold for housing that may be needful.

However a cluster and clutter of blocks of flats would ruin what is one of the few pleasant, open areas left in the town centre.

I believe any gathering of high price, rented, commuter focussed properties would be most unpleasant and undesirable. The Gade flows through the site, and there is much green spaciousness that ought to be conserved.

Four; housing is a Dacorum Borough Council responsibility, not that of West Herts College. The new Campus buildings are the College’s business.

There has to be sensitive siting, not cramped or corner construction. Dacorum and district will wish to be proud of this new, integral part of the wider, West Herts College, not indifferent to it.

Last; are there, strong local voices on the Board of College Governors based at Watford, who will urge the Campus case? I am sure that there must be much good will, and the Governors are key to this.

Howard Gilbert

Leverstock Green


Time to reinstate Hemel Hospital

Replying to your article on ‘healthcare’ in the Gazette dated July 2, this seems to be the norm of the hospitals in the area (to wait a long time for an appointment).

It’s about time Hemel Hempstead Hospital was reinstated to help even out the amount of work.

I used to play golf until my right hip started to be painful, the doctor gave me painkillers. Several other ladies I played with got by on painkillers so I thought that I would also.

But the pains didn’t lessen and I got different painkillers from the doctor which also didn’t work. I asked to see a surgeon who sent me to have an X-ray and my arthritis could be plainly seen but the surgeon did not examine my leg, gave me more painkillers and told me I’d probably need an operation in about seven years time.

When I returned from a holiday I made another appointment with the surgeon as my knee had started to keep ‘giving way’ and I nearly fall over as my hip was weak. More painkillers and still no examination of my leg!

I saw several doctors through the summer, only one sent me for a CT check and reported back ‘nothing wrong’.

After six months of different doctors all giving me different painkillers which didn’t work, I’d reached the point where I had to crawl up my stairs and give up driving as I had no strength to use the brake pedal for an emergency stop.

In desperation I asked the manager and requested to see another surgeon which she asked the doctor to do. Within a week I had an appointment and this surgeon gave my hip a quick but thorough check, told me that I had a different type of arthritis and should have had an operation for a new hip two months ago.

Two weeks later I had surgery and been fine ever since!

Diana Edwards

Hemel Hemsptead

Historic sex abuse

Strange morality of this council

The issues of child abuse by entertainers and politicians has dominated media reporting for the past year.

Hopefully, the forthcoming inquiry chaired by Baroness Butler-Sloss will be given the authority to help bring to justice those public servants who committed crimes against children, but the inquiry is unlikely to conclude its work in the foreseeable future.

Until then, children remain at risk. The inquiry however is concerned primarily with senior figures in government, at the apex of the pyramid rather than at the bottom.

Which brings me to Dacorum Borough Council. In early 2012, the former Mayor of Tory controlled Dacorum and the lead councillor for child protection for Tory controlled Hertfordshire County Council was arrested, and subsequently charged for having 400,000 indecent images of young children on his computer. At the time I wrote to the chief executive at Dacorum, asking what actions the council were proposing to prevent a similar situation arising again.

The reply that I received was that the former Mayor had resigned his seat, and nothing more was to be done.

Through The Gazette, I have suggested that all councillors agree to undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service check.

While imperfect, it is one simple action that could begin to restore public confidence. The silence from Dacorum has been deafening.

The prime role of any council is to protect its’ citizens, and especially those people who are vulnerable. I believe that Dacorum has failed in this duty, and to compound matters the former chief executive is now to be made a Freeman of the Borough!

The Tories in Dacorum are morally bankrupt and unfit to provide community leadership. As ever with the Tories, they “take care of their own” while the most vulnerable pay a high price for their failure.

Paul Eastwood

Address supplied
but not for publication

Town pride

Why is lovely old cottage left to rot?

What is happening to the once lovely old Lockers Cottage in Bury Hill?

Is it being left to rot away so it can be knocked down with the usual excuses “It has gone into disrepair, too far to redeem.”
It is such a lovely building, what’s going on about the heritage protection? The cottage and surrounding gardens used to look so beautiful.
Is it greed for money being the case again, NO MORE blocks of ugly flats please!

Ella Ginger

Hemel Hempstead

Neighbourhood Watch

We welcome NaG meeting feedback

I write in response to the letter regarding Dacorum Borough Council’s Neighbourhood Action Group (NaG) meeting in Adeyfield, in last week’s Gazette (9 July).

I, and the NaG team, would like to thank the author for the feedback and take the opportunity to ask them to contact us with their ideas for improving any future meetings – it is only with input from the residents that we can deliver great local results.

Neighbourhood Action is about involving local people resolving their concerns and this is an ideal opportunity to do just that. There are eight Neighbourhood Action Groups across Dacorum where local people identify local issues and then get involved in resolving them.

The meetings and the groups are led by the Ward Councillors, attended by County Councillors and the police.

Past projects have included environmental work such as bulb planting, lobbying for safe crossings on roads, and improvements to shopping centres, to name but a few.

At the meeting in Adeyfield recently, there were opportunities to ask questions after each of the presentations and the ‘refreshment break’ gave people the opportunity to speak on a one to one basis to their ward councillors, county councillors, police, a number of agencies providing local services as well as officers from Dacorum Borough Council.

Something other attendees tell us is a really valuable part of the events.

If any of your readers would like to be involved in the eight Neighbourhood Action Groups covering 13 areas across Dacorum, or has any feedback regarding the meetings they can get in touch by emailing neighbourhood.action@dacorum.gov.uk or by phoning 01442 228000 and asking for Neighbourhood Action.

Alternatively visit our website where we are welcoming further feedback with a consultation about where you live which is open to July 29.

Julie Still

Group manager
Resident Services
Dacorum Borough Council

Danger junction

Playing politics instead of safe

I am appalled that Councillor Richie chose to simply play politics – “the county council made Ashlyns a secondary school, so it should be that authority that improves the road infrastructure around it” – rather than do something for Berkhamsted – the job he should be doing.

I applaud Councillor Bonnett for thinking outside the box and actually trying to keep the children of Berkhamsted safe on the roads.

Malcolm Lindo


Animal welfare

Distressing to see so many dead deer

I wonder if anyone can help. I regularly drive along the Ashridge Road that takes you from Potten End to Little Gaddesden. Again today I saw a fallow deer fawn lying dead by the side of the road.

I’ve noticed that there is a maximum speed limit applies sign just past the Berkhamsted Golf Course. There’s a turning left to Berkhamsted opposite a little monument and it’s located next to the car park a few yards further on. The next sign you come to is a 20mph one on the College toll road.

How can anyone be legally permitted to drive at 60mph?! I have phoned the council but they don’t seem interested.

It is quite distressing for regular users of this road.

In an ideal world people would slow down out of respect for wildlife, but believe me they don’t, which is why I see injured/ dead animals on a regular basis.

Ralph Pierce

Address supplied

Missing child

Ordeal made me proud of our town

On Sunday morning our four-year-old daughter went missing. She is safe now and I wanted to take this opportunity to say:

· Thank you to the parents, teachers and friends who were camping with us that searched for her and supported my wife during what was a very stressful time.

· Thank you to the cyclists who happened to be in the area and joined the search for our child. They cycled all over Berkhamsted and raised the alarm with fellow residents to try and find her.

· Thank you to the police who were with us en masse within five minutes of making the call.

· Thank you to the cyclist who lent me his bike so I could cycle to find her.

· Thank you to the two ladies who had been on a walk and found our daughter then walked her home and made sure she was safe.

· Thank you to our eldest daughter for staying calm whilst her parents were freaking out and to our youngest daughter who remembered where she lives!

We did not know all the people who helped us but they dropped everything to try and find our daughter. It is wonderful to live in such a strong community and it makes me proud to be a Berkhamstedian.

Gareth Garner


Water Gardens

Revamp is great news for the town

The money (£3.4m) is specifically granted for the Water Gardens so obviously it can’t be used else where. I for one am looking forward to having a nice place built in our town any improvements are welcome.

We’re stuck with our town.... it not pretty, but its not ‘that’ bad is it. Make the most of it and stop moaning.


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