Letters round up (Including one man’s mission to prove Hemel Hempstead is beautiful)

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A selection of your opinions from this week’s Gazette

We aim to be Clean, Safe and Green ...

Further to Colin Verge’s letter ‘Pick it up, chuck it back on the road’ recently, I would like to reassure him that the council takes incidents of this nature seriously as keeping our environment clean and safe is very important to us.

We have investigated the matter and are putting measures in place to avoid a similar thing happening.

Our Clean Safe and Green team have been advised in future to fit a tarpaulin over the top of the cage vans to prevent the litter escaping in this way again.

We are also exploring additional secure ways of collecting and empting the bins along the A41 bypass. I would also like to urge drivers and passengers to take their litter home with them to help keep our roads looking clean and welcoming.

Not only is litter and fly tipping an eyesore but it also can build up and become a serious hazard to road users and to the wildlife.

Councillor Julie Laws

Environment & Sustainability 
Dacorum Borough Council

town pride

I will prove how beautiful we are

As I am sure you are aware, last year Hemel Hempstead was voted ‘the ugliest town in the UK’. Indeed, if you search for Hemel via Google you will see that news of this dubious honour is featured on the very first page.

I am of the opinion that, while Hemel may not be the most attractive town in the country, it certainly isn’t the ugliest. To this end, I have started a photography project entitled Hometown Glory, in order to show not only the residents of Hemel, but also its population that the town is more appealing than they may have initially believed.

It is my hope that with your help spreading the word, the people of Hemel Hempstead will see their town in a new light, and realise that there is inherent beauty in their surroundings which they may perhaps have overlooked in the past.

I, for one, didn’t realise how beautiful Hemel could be until I started this project, and discovered parts of the town that I didn’t even know existed despite having lived here all my life.

Although the project is still in its infancy, I would invite you to visit the website at hemelhempstead.tumblr.com

Mark Spokes

Stuarts Close


Let down again, who is to blame?

I see more houses and flats are possibly being built on the site where the Morrisons in our dreams was going to be, what a shambles. Let down once again.

We looked around the town, what a sad sight.

Even the paving stones were wobbly and the holes over the Water Gardens are enough to put off visitors to our once wonderful town.

Councillors have wasted money on broken concrete balls and a stupid tent outside Boots.

Everything is so shabby. Smokers I noticed are now using the flowerbeds near the bandstands as ashtrays.

Also, where are the doctors? Our hospital couldn’t cope now with more flats.

Who do we blame? I give up.

Ella Knight



Gardeners bring our park to life

A very big thank you to the gardeners who design and plant the walled garden in Gadebridge Park.

Last week I took a photo of the stunning blue hyacinths there - I wish I could have captured the scent! I put it on my Facebook page to share and got likes from friends in Australia, New Zealand, the USA, France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and Ireland as well as from different parts of the UK.

Last year I thought the summer flowers in that garden had never been better and look forward to seeing this year’s displays.

I hope the gardeners involved in the garden (and local councillors) realise how much their efforts are appreciated.

Pat Edhouse

Hemel Hempstead


Major concerns over structures

The Berkhamsted Citizens Association (BCA) has major concerns about two developments in the town at present – both concerned with modern structures incongruously placed, or about to be placed, in a historic setting.

Firstly the BCA objected to both the original and current version of planning applications for the Sports Hall proposed at Ashlyns School.

Like the Town Council, we welcomed in principle the provision of a new facility for the school; but have grave reservations about its design in the Grade II listed setting.

We take the view that the current version of the design should be reconsidered, or the main loser will be the historic built environment of Berkhamsted.

This view is not incompatible with providing a sporting legacy for the whole community; it merely delays it a little to obtain an appropriate result for the long-term.

The second item to catch our attention recently (and who could miss it?) was the huge and monstrous structure which has appeared on the station forecourt, courtesy (or perhaps discourtesy) of London Midland.

No-one decries the provision of lifts at the station, and the attendant power supply, but the design of its protection in the heart of the conservation area in front of the attractive Victorian brick arches and next to the canal – the first thing any visitor arriving by train to Berkhamsted sees – is unforgiveable.

The BCA will campaign to have the fencing removed or at least cloaked to make it less obtrusive. Permitted Development Rights need not necessarily be exercised quite so brutally.

If you agree, please add your voice to ours by writing to Dacorum Borough Council’s planning and conservation sections, copying it to Berkhamsted Town Council. And even better still, join us!

Susan Johnson

Berkhamsted Citizens 


The wrong type of poles Mr Penning

Before Mike Penning criticises Hightown Praetorian Housing Association ( Gazette, April 9 ) for poor response to tenants at Oatridge Gardens, he may wish to look more closely at an issue over which he may have more control.

Across the Borough, many flats with shared access balconies have had scaffolding poles in place supporting the balconies for more than a year.

The scaffolding is unsightly, and in certain locations potentially hazardous.

All the flats affected are owned by Tory controlled Dacorum Borough Council.

There can be only one reason why the scaffolding is necessary, and that is the failure of the steel reinforcements within the concrete. This is a defect that is impossible to rectify at economic cost.

Having spoken to several residents, in different locations, there is increasing upset at the lack of information from the council about how long the scaffolding will remain in place, and the costs of carrying out repairs.

While the council dithers, tenants are living in unsatisfactory and potentially unsafe conditions, and for any leaseholders wishing to sell their flats they will find that their properties are blighted.

In addition, leaseholders will face substantial costs for their contributions to the repair costs.

The longer this goes on, the greater the costs will be. If further evidence was needed, this is another reminder of the shambolic way this Tory Council “manages” its assets and deals with the public.

As a Eurosceptic, no doubt Mr Penning will be one of those Tory MPs who have been vocal about inward migration from Poland.

I am sure his party colleagues on the council feel much the same.

Rather than concentrate their thoughts on immigration and Europe, can I suggest they sort out the major issue that they have with different types of poles a little closer to home.

Paul Eastwood

Address supplied


Lest we forget ... Barry’s finest hour

I read, with interest, the feature on Barry Newton ( Gazette April 9).

While acknowledging that Barry is “also involved in local politics”, the feature sadly omitted any reference to Barry’s greatest performance.

That is, when he played the role of a Tory candidate in the Adeyfield West Borough Council by election last year.

To be fair, Mr Newton has openly acknowledged that he is a former member of UKIP.

For anyone, like myself, who met him on the day of the by election, he proclaimed, in a fine and loud thespian voice, that “I am still really UKIP, but I stand a better chance of being elected as a Tory.”

He went on to say that his “good friend Mike” ( that is, Mike Penning ) was “also UKIP”, and that they shared similar views on Europe, immigration, and equality: Or, more correctly, on the latter, that neither of them support the principle of equality.

Mike Penning demonstrated his own position when he voted against legalisation of marriage for same sex couples.

Like most decent people in his constituency, the vast majority of MPs did not share Mr Penning’s view, and what he unilaterally voted against is now law.

It begins to beg the question, just who is Mike Penning representing ? his constituents, the local Tories, UKIP, or himself?

Assuming that Mr Newton’s forays into the public domain have not created too much embarrassment for the local Tories, and that he is selected to stand for election as a Tory candidate in 2015, the public have a right to know, “Will The Real Barry Newton Please Stand Up.”

Thomas Wright

Address supplied


Really is snail mail

I would like to make people aware of the poor service that the Post Office gave me and my mother.

I had a card sent to Lincolnshire, first class, on March 24 and to ensure that it had the correct postage on it for the size and weight of the card, we were charged 90p first class and we duly sent it.

My mother is still waiting for the card.


Hemel Hempstead

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