Letters to the Editor (Including ‘Broken promises over our hospital!’)

Chaaaaaaaaarge said the leader swan as the Animals of Farthing Wood trekked along the frozen canal to pastures new...'Sorry got a bit carried away there but you can see why. This fantastic photo by Peter Brigginshaw shows these feathered freinds enjoying a long (cold) walk to Northchurch. What a fantastic photo! Keep them coming people.
Chaaaaaaaaarge said the leader swan as the Animals of Farthing Wood trekked along the frozen canal to pastures new...'Sorry got a bit carried away there but you can see why. This fantastic photo by Peter Brigginshaw shows these feathered freinds enjoying a long (cold) walk to Northchurch. What a fantastic photo! Keep them coming people.

A selection of letters to the Gazette this week.


Broken promises over our hospital

David Cameron promised that the National Health Service was safe in his hands.

Following the recent spate of hospitals throughout the UK failing to meet their targets for attending to patients within the allotted time and a private run hospital pulling out of its contract for lack of funding, football fans are thankful that he isn’t playing goal for England.

In Prime Minister’s Question Time Ed Miliband, Leader of the Labour Party, expressed his concern for patients waiting hours for treatment and was accused by the PM of using the Government’s failed management of the NHS for political gain.

Hemel Hempstead knows all about using the NHS for vote catching. In 2010 Mike Penning and the Tories exploited the transfer of the A&E from Hemel to Watford regardless of truth. The cry was that Labour closed the hospital and if you vote Conservative you get your hospital back. The truth is the hospital didn’t close and the Tories haven’t brought the acute services back to Hemel and have closed A&Es all over the South-East area.

However, we are not without hope. Mr Penning MP has promised a brand new hospital on a site yet to be identified.

The question has to be asked. Did you vote Conservative in 2010 in the belief that the Tories would reverse plans to move the A&E to Watford and will you believe them in 2015?

May I express my gratitude to the staff at Watford Hospital during my recent visit.

People complain but seldom praise not realising how hurtful that can be to dedicated staff.

Les Taber

Hemel Hempstead

Waste services

Stop exaggerating over the new bins

I think Rex Allen of Tring may be exaggerating a bit.

The new blue-topped bins are very sturdy and if sensibly filled, the contents should not fly about in the wind.

I think the nappy should have been put in a bag in the grey bin. I don’t use the caddy for peelings etc as I put them on the compost heap.

I keep the caddy in the kitchen and fill it with things to be recycled. I empty it into the blue-topped bin when it is full: usually in about a week.

It is so simple and easier than using the boxes and basket.

Ann Read

Community spirit

Thanking the kind people of Berko

I would like to use your letters page to thank the citizens of Berkhamsted for so whole-heartedly supporting this year’s collection of Christmas Trees by 1st Berkhamsted Scout Group.

We have been providing this collection service for several years now and it is the main contributor to our fund-raising activities.

This year we collected more trees than ever, thanks to a dedicated group of parents, Beavers, Cubs and Scouts who leafleted the town in the days after Christmas and then helped collect and remove the trees on 11th January.

Our efforts wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Berkhamsted School, Laser Vans and S Dell and Sons, who all lent us vans, or the Borough Council who provided the tree-shredding facilities in the town centre. We are also grateful to Berkhamsted School for allowing us to use their clubhouse on Kitchener’s Field as our headquarters for the day.

As well as the fund-raising aspect, the exercise also has strong environmental merits.

The hundreds of trees we collected this year were recycled into wood chippings for use in gardens and recreational areas.

In addition, far fewer vehicles were used to deliver trees to the shredding area than would have been the case if they had all been taken there privately.

The money raised will be used to undertake improvements to our Scout Hut in Chapel Street (including sanding and re-varnishing the floor), upgrading our equipment and subsidising the activities of our different sections.

Scouting is very much on the increase in Berkhamsted and this will help us to continue to provide excellent opportunities to our growing membership.

Geoff Halls

Group Scout Leader
First Berkhamsted Scout Group

Bus cuts

Think about the consequences

Environmentalists are all very busy asking us to stop driving, to lessen our emissions. 
Yet bus journeys are to be cut, even though many older people feel unsafe driving at night.
So with no way of getting home, we shall cut the use of valuable meetings, visiting hospitals, cinemas, other gathherings, pubs and people generally helping the community after work.
Will people think through the consequences of their actions and decisions and keep the buses running.

John Blackman
Hemel Hempstead


Rallying call for memories of Trev

As many weeks have passed since my correspondence asking for people’s memories of Sir Trevor Hoblin, I was wondering if any further information had been forthcoming?

I’m intrigued as ever by the subject but have drawn a blank in terms of new information.

I was hoping you may see fit to publish another rallying call to refresh people’s memory.

Martino Jarvelo

Sent via email


Poppy appeal was a real success

Readers will be interested to know that the recent Poppy Appeal in Berkhamsted and Tring has been a great success.

Each town has a separate Poppy Appeal organisation and, to date, some £26,000 has been collected in Berkhamsted and over £21,000 in Tring.

This outstanding achievement is due to the generosity of local citizens and the dedicated work of both the many volunteers who sold poppies on the street and those behind the scenes who made it all possible.

On behalf of the Royal British Legion I extend sincerest thanks to everyone for the tremendous support given to the appeal.

Michael Simmons
Berkhamsted, Tring and District Branch RBL

Parking tickets

Drivers penalised on technicality

In reply to Kiran Rai’s letter of 7th January re “unjust” parking tickets – I think he must be referring to the neatly paved layby with apparent parking spaces opposite the Moroccan restaurant in old Hemel High St.

This appears purpose-made for the public to park there, and is identical to the other, genuine, parking lay-by’s in the old High St - except that no parking or loading is allowed in this one at any time ... as indicated by a small sign set well back across the pavement.

The lay-by is in the one-way part of the street so it has no conceivable function whatever.

If you dine in the Moroccan restaurant, the proprietor will warn you about it, and can accurately predict the time (9.15pm I believe) at which two traffic wardens will turn up every night, to distribute tickets to the two or three cars which will be parked there – where they causing no obstruction or harm to anyone.

Someone at the council has created a situation where well meaning drivers get penalised on a stupid technicality, reminiscent of the No Right Turn shambles in Leighton Buzzard Road, reported in the Gazette a couple of years ago.

Name and address supplied

But not for publication

This matter has now been dealt with by the council


Why we should treasure photo

Your “Picture of the Week” from Victoria Bull, (Grovehill resident and Gazette reporter) showing sunset over Marchmont Fields, is definitely one to be treasured.

Not only is it a photograph with real charm but it’ll become a rarity, as before long Dacorum Borough Council, if left to its own devices, will ensure that the outlook over Marchmont Fields will not be of a wintry sunset behind trees but of up to 350 houses and blocks of flats (not forgetting the traveller site), built on what the Council describes as “LA1”.

It’s just one of a number of grabs of Green Belt land, euphemistically entitled “Local Allocations”, which Dacorum councillors were persuaded to accept as part of Dacorum’s Core Strategy in 2013, though there are faint signs that some of them at least may now be regretting what they’ve done on our behalf.

Hemel Hempstead is at risk of two more such grabs: 80 dwellings (LA2) intended to be grafted onto Cherry Bounce, welding the 18th-century High Street to 21st-century new-build, and a 900-dwelling new neighbourhood (LA3) intended at Chaulden, effectively linking Chaulden to Fields End as the concrete sprawls ever-closer to Potten End.

There are three more in Dacorum as a whole: one for Berkhamsted, one for Tring and one for Bovingdon.

The justification for these grabs was a perceived need to achieve the council’s housing forecasts and to hit a five-year target for available housing land supply – possibly (only possibly) justified when the Core Strategy was being put together, but with the substantial (and rising) number of homes now being achieved through conversion of office and other commercial premises (and there’s potential for many more), the numbers seem no longer to stack up.

And that’s before one considers the very large sites in and around Maylands which have remained undeveloped for years if not decades, tenaciously hung onto by Dacorum as “employment land” needed for its forecast rush of companies keen to set up headquarters here despite evidence that the rush is in the opposite direction.

Dacorum has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the south-east, according to one of its councillors, so the last thing it needs is more offices - but it does lack affordable housing for Dacorum people.

Is it really so difficult for them to devise and implement policies that join the dots?

Michael Nidd
Hemel Hempstead

Council spending

Call for greater transparency

In response to story ‘iPads to make way for ‘paperless’ council meetings as £53k IT budget awaits approval’ online:

I’m all for utilising new technology to cut down on waste but I’m not sure the saving is as sizeable as is being suggested.

(A spend of) £53k on iPads to start with but doubtless some will end up lost or broken and need to be replaced and at the rate technology moves how long before they need to be upgraded?

I’m not saying it’s a bad thing but in terms of overall finances I think greater transparency and detail wouldn’t be a bad thing.




What has Lloyd ever done for us?

In response to police and crime commissioner David Lloyd’s Speaker’s Corner column ‘Terrorist attacks were disturbing to extreme and reasons behind precept freeze’ online.

Of course our great police force get our support , and who is best served by having someone making our policing policies for us being a police officer and not the waste of space and money elected by less than a third of those he thinks he represents.

He and his office costs us more than the old police authority, he is a Conservative reject and when we get a chance to remove him we should.

What has this guy done for us like all other Conservatives?