Adeyfield is relegated to borough basement

Andrew Liversidge, chief executive of DENS in Hemel Hempstead.
Andrew Liversidge, chief executive of DENS in Hemel Hempstead.
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ADEYFIELD has been highlighted as the most deprived area of Dacorum.

The neighbourhood tops a chart of the 10 most deprived areas of the borough based on a number of factors including income, employment, health and education.

Bennetts End takes second place, followed by Woodhall Farm, Hemel Hempstead Central and Grovehill.

Highfield, identified as the most deprived area of the borough some years ago, is now in sixth place.

Last week a report detailing measures to tackle the problems was presented to a meeting of Dacorum Borough Council’s housing scrutiny committee.

But Councillor Keith White, who represents Adeyfield West for Labour, called for more work to discover the causes.

“I would suggest if demonstrates the fact that Adeyfield has been neglected in some respects over a number of years. That’s why we’ve ended up in this position,” he said. “What’s contributing to it and how can we work together with the community and other agencies to put real measures in place to tackle those issues?”

The report comes as charities report a surge in people in Dacorum seeking help to pay bills and put food on the table.

Dacorum Emergency Night Shelter turned away 380 people last year because it was full while its food bank has handed out parcels to help 625 people since April, including 248 children in families.

Operations manager Andrew Liversidge said: “The plain fact is things have got worse in the past year.”

Owen Cooper, manager at Woodhall Farm-based Christians Against Poverty, said: “I’m seeing a lot more debt with utilities and council tax.

“It’s a struggle for children to get decent meals. We’re seeing that a lot. It’s obvious that children are going without.”

Council leader Andrew Williams said work to pull Highfield up the rankings meant that another ward would necessarily take its place.

“One of our wards is always going to be at the bottom of the league,” he said. “It’s wrong to say we’re complacent. We’re working to lift our bottom wards up the national standard.

“There are pockets of deprivation in Dacorum and it’s important we tackle those but if you compare it nationally Dacorum is relatively prosperous.”