Letters round-up (including reader unhappy with Hemel speed trap)

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Letters to the editor published in this week’s Hemel Hempstead Gazette newspaper include:


Prevention better than prosecution?

On December 17 at 10.41pm I had reason to stop in Eastman Way, Hemel Hempstead (which is an industrial estate) for 10/12 minutes before continuing my journey home to the above address.

There is no speed restriction sign in Eastman Way. I crossed the roundabout into Maylands (which is also a road through an industrial estate) and as there also was no speed indication sign I adjusted my speed to the width (wide enough for three buses), condition of the road and (I thought) the speed of the traffic 300 yards ahead of me, i.e. 40mph and confidently went past a speed camera.

The result is that I have received a speeding ticket as apparently it is a 30mph zone.

I asked Hertfordshire Police if this particular camera was responsible for more prosecutions than the average and how many prosecutions there have been in the last year but despite the website stating it would further a response within 28 days I have had no reply.

Considering the above facts I would ask:

> Does this fall under ‘Clare’s Law’? (right to know).

> Has this camera paid for itself and a 30mph sign as well?

> Knowing the surplus monies that Hertfordshire County Council has, why has a 30mph sign not been installed 
before now?

> Who is the recipient of the monies that this camera has generated?

I actually know a resident of Hemel Hempstead who has made exactly the same mistake as myself.

Surely, prevention is better than prosecution?

Mr C. K. Eagling

Address supplied


Please be kind to animals this spring

Spring is here, and that means wild animals will be searching out safe, warm, dry places to nest and raise their young.

Inevitably, this means that some will come a little closer to people than they might like. There is no need to panic and call in pest controllers.

There are simple measures that can be taken to encourage unwanted guests to leave without harming them.

And it is best to do this as soon as they are seen to be taking an interest in attics or garages, rather than waiting until there are babies to evacuate, too.

Animal Aid has a series of free information sheets that give useful tips on deterring birds, squirrels, rodents and foxes. You can order these from info@animalaid.org.uk or by calling 01732 364546.

Kate Fowler

Animal Aid


I take a fence to appalling eyesore

Following up on the article on the Hemel Today website recently regarding the electricity substation in a conservation area, I am appalled.

I understand the need and why the train company doesn’t want to have to apply for planning permission - but surely this is the reason planning is put in place by the government - to avoid such eyesores.

The train company had many options available to it when it came to selecting a site to locate the substation close to the railway line at Berkhamsted.

Additionally, it has given no thought to the loss of a parking spot nor to the eyesore the horrible fencing creates.

It is a complete clash against the brick of the railway line. Could the company not at the very least:

> put up a fence that was sympathetic with the surroundings? or

> have moved it (and a better fence) to the square of land at the back of the station that, while garden is never maintained and an eyesore? With a fence of aged brick and/or trees to hide it? or

> located it in the parking lot at the back of the station?

> located it next to the railway line on the other side, up where close to the line itself?

I am certain the firm had many options available to it (even if restricted by the current location of electricity cables) and there is absolutely no excuse for that eyesore of a metal fence.

The council must have some means open to it to force the railway line, which cares little for the communities it serves, to at least make the fence more appealing to the eye.

Caroline Johnson



Think about the whole community!

So the good burghers of Berkhamsted Town Council planning committee have rejected the revised proposals for the sports hall at Ashlyns School.

One feels the need to doff ones cap in admiration at these stalwarts of taste, reason and wisdom.

Assuming he has not been misquoted, how blessed we are to have a titan in the form of Laurence Handy, a true master of subtlety and understatement, and a man with an architectural insight that would have made Pevsner himself blush.

Thank goodness the planning committee are protecting our fair town from the ravages of the modern world and ensuring that the students of Ashlyns (the majority of the children of this town), are deprived of facilities fit for the 21st century and such a useful, necessary facility, which would not be seen by anyone, except those whose business was in Ashlyns and Thomas Coram Schools, cannot yet be built.

I just wish the committee had applied the same wisdom and logic for the truly awful overblown Lego building on steroids that they encouraged at the bottom of Castle Street, a building that many people I know find as offensive as I do.

Note to Berkhamsted town councillors - start thinking about and supporting your WHOLE community.

Start delivering a sporting legacy for ALL.

Vernon Garnham



It is an affront to our democracy

The gazette reports (2/4/14) that David Lloyd, Herts Police Commissioner, has sold the former police station in Berkhamsted to a “mystery buyer” with a completion set for “next Friday”. Why the secrecy?

This is an asset that is owned by the public and therefore the public should have a say in who it is sold to and for what purpose.

The former police station is a flagship site on the arterial junction in the heart of the town.

This is a once in a generation opportunity to shape our town centre and should not be stitched up in a secret cabal. The article refers to the 95 page proposal compiled by the “unpaid volunteers of the B-Hive community group” based upon public consultation which was “handed to potential buyers.”

What is going on? Why was it left to local people in their own spare time to conduct this consultation?

This is the job of our elected representatives - it’s called democracy (but our local councillors don’t seem to understand that).

What does it mean that this brief was “handed to potential buyers?”

Does this mean that the council back the plan? Is the sale conditional upon the purchasers developing the site according to this proposal? Of course not. It just means that the proposal can be ignored at will.

We are not told how much the site has been sold for or what will happen with the money, our money.

It is an affront to democracy and local inclusion that the Police Commissioner can sell this site for an undisclosed sum and undisclosed purpose behind closed doors without any form of consultation with the residents who will be affected by this decision for the next 100 years.

Paul de Hoest

Dacorum Green Party


Dog owners ought to tow the line...

I live on a narrowboat and I cruise the length of the Grand Union on a regular basis.

Usually the towpath is a scenic, idyllic place that is also the sole access to my home.

Can you imagine my disgust when mooring on the stretch when there is an abundance of dog poo littering the towpath?

I am given to understand that dog owners are responsible not only for what they feed their pets but also what comes out of the blunt end of said animal.

In fact it is implicit in dog ownership that you have to walk, feed and clean up after your dog.

Clearly some dog walkers are failing on this score.

While I am aware that there is a fine for dog fouling clearly none of the dog walkers around here pay it any heed, probably because there is no way to really police it.

So I will take it upon myself to police this befouling of my path and I say to these lazy, inconsiderate dog owners – if I see you leaving your dog poo on the towpath again I will make you remove it!

Wayne Miller

address supplied


Shocked by poor driving standards

I think 50mph is probably a decent top speed in a built-up area, and I recognise that roundabouts have stop lines. I try to drive reasonably at all times.

Recently I have noticed driving that is entirely beyond either sensible or courteous.

To have a car scream up behind me at who knows how many miles per hour, swerve past and not stop at the coming roundabout is just a symptom of the driving I meet.

The funny thing is I often find myself waiting just behind them at the next junction – it isn’t as though it really saves time.

And at traffic lights? Don’t get me started. People rush across at amber and, certainly at the traffic lights nearest to the station, it is no longer safe to go at green, because people will still be crossing the route of those with the green light.

I was hoping never to become a grumpy old woman, and don’t feel significantly different from when I was a testy young woman, but I am heartily sick of the attitude of some drivers.

Dianna Moylan

address supplied


You’re all bar-red from Old Town Hall

I am writing to warn others who, like me enjoy a visit to the various events at the brilliant Old Town Hall. At the moment its bar and cafe is closed, which caught me and my tongue on the hop recently. Apparently refurbishment works are scheduled between April and July.

Reginald Allan

Hemel Hempstead