Letters to the Editor (Including ‘Raising the important issue of Hemel healthcare once again’)

Thanks to Steve Jones for this brilliant picture of a Fallow Deer in Ashridge Woods. Steve said: 'I was very lucky that they were keeping an eye on my dog while I was taking some shots of them. It is the best view that I have had of them.' Keep your great pictures coming in.
Thanks to Steve Jones for this brilliant picture of a Fallow Deer in Ashridge Woods. Steve said: 'I was very lucky that they were keeping an eye on my dog while I was taking some shots of them. It is the best view that I have had of them.' Keep your great pictures coming in.
  • ‘I’ve hit nerve with arrogant Tories’
  • ‘Pavilion debate: vanity project is a white elephant’
  • ‘Danger car parking blighting road was inevitable’

A selection of letters to the Gazette this week.


It is simply astonishing that Cllr Andrew Williams says there is not money to replace the Pavilion when he is spending millions of pounds on a new civic centre which has an estimated cost of around £16 million.

Dominic Hook, Hemel Hempstead

Population grows, people live longer, buildings get older and costs going up

I was pleased that Les Taber raised the important issue of health services in Hemel Hempstead (The Hemel Hempstead Gazette - Letters to the Editor 25th February 2015).

Here at Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group we are responsible for commissioning health services in west Hertfordshire.

This means we buy and plan high quality health services on behalf of the people who live in this area.

As you may be aware Herts Valleys CCG, together with other NHS organisations in this area and Hertfordshire County Council are carrying out a major review into health and social care services in west Hertfordshire – Your Care, Your Future.

We set up this review to look at what changes we’d need to make to provide sustainable high quality health and social care to meet the changing needs of our local population.

The challenge we face in west Hertfordshire is significant. The population is growing and people are living longer.

Many of us also have complex care needs. More of us need services to be closer to where we live.

However the cost of providing services is increasing. Buildings are ageing and costing more and more to run. The funding available will not keep up with the rising level of demand.

Les Taber’s letter is particularly timely because we have just launched the Your Care, Your Future ‘Case for Change’ document following the initial findings of the review.

This now provides us with a clearer sense of the challenges we face. Although there is still a lot more work to be done on the review, we understand the needs of local people in this area and have listened to their concerns and fully expect that a range of health and social care services will be provided in Hemel Hempstead in the future.

Many local people are already involved with the Your Care, Your Future review and have given us feedback.

We and our partners want to hear more from local residents, patients, service users and health and social care staff to help shape a healthier west Hertfordshire.

Please have your say and get involved by going to www.yourcareyourfuture.org.uk / or emailing info@yourcareyourfuture.org.uk

Dr Nicolas Small

GP and Chair of Your Care, Your Future Programme 


I’ve hit nerve with arrogant Tories

I have obviously hit a raw nerve with the local Tories, merely by pointing out that most of them do not hold advice surgeries for their constituents.

Cllr McKay ( Letters, 5 March ) has been summoned to defend their indefensible position.

When I was a local councillor, I held monthly surgeries, and was also accessible by e mail and telephone. Our MP holds surgeries, and like all MPs feels it is important to be available, in person, at publicised times, to meet the people who elected him.

Local Tory councillors clearly feel no such need, and by failing to do so just demonstrate their arrogance.

In 2015, the public will have a real choice, between a bloated and out of touch and off the pace Tory administration, or a Labour administration that will be open, accessible, with councillor candidates who will have given an undertaking and be performance managed so that they are actively involved in their communities.

That will be in the choice: Labour In Action or Tory inaction?

Any statistics that Cllr McKay may wish to quote about this council’s future spending cannot camouflage the evidence that is there for all to see: Hemel is a less attractive town under the Tories, and their pathetic response to the decline of the town centre they have presided over is to build a new civic centre and add yet another food supermarket.

In the 21st century there is little need for an old style civic centre.

Services can be delivered in better and different ways, but the Tories want their concrete edifice to hide behind. Simultaneously, the Pavilion site has stood undeveloped for 12 years, a prime location not generating one penny of income.

The Tories legacy of incompetence is about to catch up with them. Roll on 2015.

Paul Eastwood
Name and address supplied 
but not for publication


Get your facts right before a rant

In response to Michael Nidd’s letter in last weeks Gazette.

I can assure Mr Nidd that I am not using a pseudonym nor am I sniping at our MP Mike Penning from the covers.

If Mr Nidd does not like my name then I can only apologise it’s the one I was born with and the one I will die with.

For the avoidance of doubt I see Mr Nidd, is from the website a member of Piccotts End Residents Association, which is heavily biased towards the Conservative party so saying you do not have any political affiliations isn’t quit telling the whole story correctly, so Mr Nidd’s stances on being objective and accurate are clearly questionable.

I will point out my intention was not to darkly point out the voting records of MP Mike Penning, quite the opposite, this was merely to inform, and I have nothing to be ashamed of. I will however take my hat off to you, you have also pointed the general public to the theyworkforyou.com website which will inform them how our hard working constituent MP Mike Penning voted, so the truth will out.

As to whom you have or have not met, well was this a really good use of your literacy skills.

As to not politicising the perilous state of our hospital, well if we don’t bring the need to retain the hospital and keep our A & E to our politicians attention then sadly we will lose these and MP Mike Penning will go on thinking he is doing a good job and representing the voting public.

I am glad you pointed out that our Councillors and Politicians are clearly failing with building on the greenbelt, but I shall also add to the mix they are also failing with dumping on the Greenbelt and supporting Sportspace with taxpayers money.

If you are going to have a rant from the sidelines make sure your facts are correct and exaggerations are kept to yourself.

Rooster Cogburn
Piccotts End


Vanity project is a white elephant

It is simply astonishing that Cllr Andrew Williams says there is not money to replace the Pavilion when he is spending millions of pounds on a new civic centre which has an estimated cost of around £16 million.

If memory serves he promised to rebuild the Pavilion in 2005 at a cost of £11 million.

A functioning arts venue would at least have in
come revenue.

It’s hard to see how a new civic centre with a library, police station and voluntary sector department will pay for itself. Surely, a building of this size and scale could include an arts venue.

My fear is that the rise in council tax of 1.8% announced last week is just the thin end of the wedge as the town is burdened with a vanity project which will soon become a white elephant.

Dominic Hook
Hemel Hempstead

Car parking

Danger parking was inevitable

Sir, County Councillor Richard Roberts and local residents should not be surprised by the sudden increase in commuter parking on Felden Lane.

This has been the result of the residents parking scheme recently introduced by Dacorum Council for roads in Boxmoor that are nearest to the railway station.

There are a number of roads in Boxmoor that now have the same problem.

It is inevitable that commuter parking has migrated elsewhere as the station car park is too small to cope with demand; it has poor access - when trains arrive in the evening a large number of cars try to leave the car park at one time, and together with taxi’s and buses, it can take a long time to turn out of the station onto the London Road; and many commuters think that a walk to their car is preferable to paying £98 per month to park. Dacorum Council has said that they will soon issue a new consultation proposing to extend the residents parking scheme further into Boxmoor, it is clear that their proposals will inevitably move the problem onto roads that are currently unaffected. It seems to me that what is needed is for Dacorum Council, Hertfordshire Highways and London Midland to work together to provide sufficient and affordable parking for commuters.

Ian Burton



No bias? You could have fooled me!

Michael Nidd writing in the Gazette (25 February) states on two occasions that ‘he has no political affiliations whatsoever’. You could have fooled me then.

Quoting Churchill on Clement Atlee is an insult of the highest degree. Let us not forget it was Clement Atlee’s government (Labour, of course) that introduced the National Health Service in 1948 which is recognised throughout the world as one of the best.

This Tory Government, which includes Mike Penning, is quietly privatising it after David Cameron promised before the 2010 election the NHS is safe in the hands of the Tories.

I have never met anyone who voted for top down re-organisation. Under a Labour Government the 1946 New Towns Act enabled the setting up of several New Towns which were a blessing for the thousands of people living in slum conditions in Inner Cities. One of those is Hemel Hempstead.

Both housing and the NHS are essential for the health of the Nation and what our troops fought for during the 2nd world – was freedom and no return to the thirties. I could go on.

As your readers will have, no doubt, recognised by now that I do have a ‘political affiliation’ which only came about when Maggie Thatcher became Prime Minister. Under her Government her treatment of the miners was obscene.

The attempted destruction of the Trade Unions and the rights of their members was an act of pure folly. Selling off the ‘family silver’ quote from Conservative former Prime Minister Harold McMillan, has meant that railways and utilities were flogged off to the lowest bidder (still happening today one has only to look at the selling of the Post Office) for the benefit of shareholders, banks, etc.

Let us continue on another of Michael Nidd’s themes. Our current MP Mike Penning. In the run up to his election his theme was saving our hospital. It is still open I do agree but with a limited service but a good one at that. He was even elected to serve on a Parliamentary Health Committee but didn’t stay long. His commitment to our hospital was quietly dumped whilst he climbed the greasy pole of political promotion. If, as Michael Nidd states, Mike Penning attempts to keep the parlous state of our hospital in front of the Government, after 10 years in power he hasn’t had much success.

Finally, just to confirm my political allegiance.

I will start from the top. I was honoured to be at the Labour Party Conference Hall on the visit of Nelson Mandela (Even the press men were on their feet cheering. Not a usual sight.)

Came face to face with Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, again at an LP Conference. I have met on social occasions the late lamented Lord Robin Corbett, the best MP this Town has ever had.

He was the first MP who made me aware that we had an MP in Hemel Hempstead.

Met Tony Blair on several occasions, and personally thanked John Prescott for the large amount of money given to a Labour Hemel Hempstead Council by a Labour Government for the introduction of recycling.

This at a Downing Street reception for Councils committed to recycling.

To finish, as a member of the Labour Party for some 30 years, I have learned so much, been to and been part of such great occasions, to many to mention here, and met so many lovely people I can only say a heartfelt thank you Labour Party.

I must finish now and return to my sick bed and the flu. Thanks Mr Nidd your ‘unbiased’ letter so inflamed my anger that I had to get out of bed and give my biased response.

Margaret Coxage

Hemel Hempstead