Letters round up (Including nostalgic appeal about Sound Base Studios Trust)


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


Help Sound out history of Studios

I am looking for information about the opening of Sound Base Studios Trust, formerly of Nash Mills, Hemel Hempstead. The project opened in early/spring 1998.

I think it was opened by the Mayor and High Sheriff (I remember seeing photos of them outside the project but am not sure if this was at the opening or exactly when this was).

Any info about the project from around that time would be appreciated, if you have any available. Thank you for your assistance.

Pauline Ellice

Address supplied


Expert advice was ignored ... why?

Last week I, along with all the other parents, received a letter from Ashlyns School with regards to the sports hall development and the town council planning committee’s objections to the submitted plans.

The letter’s tone, much like your article on the self same subject, expressed both frustration and disappointment in the decision. The nature of the letter seemed to suggest that we should all be disappointed in the outcome and have sympathy for the school’s position.

Fair enough, you might think.

However, as I understand it (and I’m happy to be corrected in the details of this) when these plans were first drawn up, one of the school governors (a highly respected and reputable local architect) made it very clear to everyone concerned that he felt sure these plans would be rejected, because of the concrete content and how this would not fit in with the historic look of the rest of the building.

Indeed he felt so strongly about this, and the subsequent shadow this might cast on his reputation should the plans remain unchanged, that he resigned as a school governor.

Sure enough his professional opinion as to what would happen at both planning stages, is indeed exactly what appears to have happened. Which suggests that the people in charge of driving this development in the way they saw fit (regardless of their experienced architect governors’ recommendation)only have them selves to blame.

I for one am rather disappointed at this rather one sided view of this affair, both in the letter to parents and now your article, as it could (and indeed should) have been avoided before it ever got to this stage.

JM Jakszyk



Time for a whole new mind set

Since my last letter comparing Welwyn Garden City with Hemel Hempstead a month ago, to reiterate the concerns raised, I can confirm I have since only seen one DBC vehicle on the road, other than the weekly dustcarts.

I have not seen any drain gulley cleaners (lets hope we don’t have a Somerset incident); road sweepers; land scape vehicles and as for HCC I have not seen any of their vehicles at all doing any type of maintenance. I drive around Hemel Hempstead seven days a week, plus use the local bus service from time to time.

It wasn’t that many years ago where you would see a variety of council vehicles with people working alongside them. I think the cause is we don’t care and they certainly don’t.

For my annual council tax, I get half of my rubbish collected weekly; whilst driving I can admire the weeds and litter; watch the grass overgrowing and all this while the car bumps up and down in unfilled pot holes.

As for the police I haven’t seen them in evidence for a long time and I am in Marlowes two to three times per week.

Maybe a whole new mind set needs to be put into practice to get our town back to how it used to be or at a good standard we can be proud of.

The majority of Hemel Hempstead unlike most towns in England was designed from day one to have a pleasant look.

I will now give two examples of cheap and cheerful practices where maintenance has been required:

1. The paving slabs and grass verge have been lifted at the bottom of Midland Hill near the new apartments and have been replaced with asphalt.

2. There is a cycle path between Briery Way and Mark Road that runs alongside a wooded area and was originally laid in concrete in the 1950s, but over time the roots and earth movement have caused the concrete to crack and lift in places. This has been replaced by asphalt which will no doubt have roots poking through it and being lifted within five years.

Why couldn’t they be replaced like for like as they were originally designed to be? It won’t be long before the Google picture from space of Hemel Hempstead will just one big black dot with all the asphalt that has been laid here. How many new and ugly buildings (not in keeping with the surroundings) have been built in Hemel on all the spare pieces of land?

We’re lucky we don’t have a road with genuine Tudor wooden framed houses as the council would no doubt approve of a 20 storey office block in fluorescent pink and green! I agree with Bob Johnson’s letter (April 2) to the causes but with two additions; that Dacorum Council are not capable of looking after such a big area and it should be split up into at least three different sections and also they were not up to the job when New Towns Commission handed over its properties to the council to look after.

Please remember that Hemel was designed just after the war when money was scarce and Britain was nearly bankrupt, but they still managed to make the town somewhere pleasant to bring up families and live in, yet today when we are the sixth richest economy in the world we have to put up with such poor maintenance of our town.

Its a known fact that if people live in poor conditions and surroundings their behaviour deteriorates as well. This will be a price that the next generation will have to pay.

Name and address supplied

but not for publication


A window into the origins of our food

I am a great admirer of the imaginative window dressing of David Paul’s (optician), Berkhamsted, and have frequently taken photographs of the displays.

I must admit I was a little taken aback by the recent display of dead chickens, but, rather than being offended I once again saw the humour in it.

It appears that these days not only children but also their parents have little or no knowledge or appreciation of from whence their food originates.

I guess some folk are too busy murdering wildlife on the road in their ‘Chelsea Tractors’ to notice that animals are living creatures.

My father was a butcher as was my paternal grandfather. As a child I recall seeing rabbits hung in windows, fur and all, blood dripping from their mouths. Pig’s heads were a regular feature of the window dressing of butchers too. Now that’s scary!

I once worked with a young lady not even five years my junior who thought suet came from a little cardboard box in a supermarket.

Thanks to EC regulations we haven’t been able to buy real unprocessed suet from the butcher for many years.

Again, as a child, I would have the ‘privilege’ of grating the real stuff for dumplings, Christmas puddings, jam roly-poly’s, etc.

I have not enjoyed the same result for my suet crust pastry since those days. Does anyone else agree?

Joyce Nobbs

Address supplied


Help kick street clutter to gutter

Street clutter such as irresponsibly placed shop advertising signs (A-Boards) and pavement cafe furniture can obstruct and hamper a person’s progress on the street.

Keeping pathways clear is particularly crucial for the independence of people who are blind and partially sighted

A recent Guide Dogs survey for its Streets Ahead campaign showed A-Boards and cafe furniture are both in the top 10 most common street clutter items, acting as a real barrier to a person’s independence.

Shockingly, 65% of those with sight loss have been injured by street clutter too.

It also prevents wheelchair users and other vulnerable pedestrians from using the pavements with confidence.

Several local councils have already introduced measures to reduce unnecessary clutter.

For example shops can use window adverts instead of multiple A-boards to entice customers and improve the street for pedestrians.

I would like your paper and readers to join me in a campaign to ask the council to introduce measures to tackle unnecessary street clutter and ensure that our high street is fully accessible to those who are blind or partially sighted.


Then please email

campaigns@guidedogs.org.uk for more information about their campaign and survey findings.

Denise Chennells

Hemel Hempstead


Harmless flutter or dangerous habit

The Grand National is over for another year and no doubt the majority of people who gambled lost, and many would have enjoyed the race and thought nothing of losing the odd pound or two.

But have you ever thought about those who would have gambled for the first time, prompted by maybe work syndicates or TV or newspaper adverts, and now that the excitement of the National is over, they find themselves wanting more of that adrenaline buzz.

As a consequence they start to go back to the bookmakers, and before long they find themselves addicted to gambling.

If we are encouraging people to bet on horse races such as the Grand National through the TV, newspapers and radio then surely we have a moral obligation to also inform them of the risks involved when you gamble?

Why is it that we are told about the risks of alcohol, cigarettes but nothing is ever mentioned about gambling?

Those who do fall for gambling are risking more than just their money, you can guarantee that debt and poverty are right behind.

In 2009 4% of high street floor space was occupied by the bookmakers. In 2013 that has dramatically increased to 9%.

There’s money in gambling... for the bookmakers.

But for some of those who started by having a harmless flutter on such races as the National, the sad fact is that unless they get help quick, they to will just become another alarming statistic, a life wasted to gambling, debt and poverty.

You decide A harmless flutter or a recipe for disaster?

Ian Bartlett

Address supplied