A selection of letters from our readers this week.
We cannot allow this cull of our public transport
Firstly on behalf of all those who helped collected the signatures, I would like to thank the 4,000 plus residents in Herts area that signed the petitions we presented to Herts County Council opposing the bus cuts.
As you know, the Conservatives had proposed to cut all county supported bus services after 6.30pm in the evening and all services on a Sunday – affecting some 58 routes and cutting 809,000 passenger trips.
There was no need to do this for the stated aim of these cuts was to “save around £700,000 from the bus budget in 2015/16.”
In fact due to underspends and bus grants from government there is already an expected saving of £753,000 this year and for the next two years.
It was therefore not unreasonable to expect the Conservatives to listen to the views of residents in the official consultation on bus changes, which showed just 30 people out of 4,548 supported these cuts, and the 12,000 signatures from across the county that signed petitions against them.
So at the Highways meeting a Liberal Democrat motion proposed to not proceed with any bus cuts and instead to look at how services could be improved and routes enhanced to increase bus usage and reduce subsidy levels.
I, and my fellow Lib Dem councillors, were shocked when our motion was voted down by the Conservatives, who then instead voted to cut another £1.5m (on top of the underspend/savings) from the bus budget.
They have now voted a plan through for a further expensive consultation (it’s legally required) to cut all services after 7.30pm Monday to Saturday, all services on Sunday except for those that serve hospitals up to 7.30pm, and cut the bus subsidy for all other routes which could mean some 29 bus route being cut totally seven days a week!
In particular, my colleagues and I in Highfield and Adeyfield are very concerned about the possible losses to route 4 and route 301. We are also checking to see what other damage these latest Conservative proposals will have on our community.
So the Tories at County Hall are now planning to reduce the spend on buses by £2.2m out of the current budget of £3.8m – some 58%. It is no good them using the excuse they need to make savings – they already have from this budget!
And where is the 58% cut in their press and publicity – well there is none! Herts Tories showed they are heartless and want to cut the only means of transport for tens of thousands of residents, whether to get to work, hospital, shopping or just going out. This will leave tens of thousands of people without access to public transport when they need it.
We cannot allow this cull of our public transport service to happen and will be fighting from now till next May, when the final decision is made, to stop this and urge residents to respond to the consultation, it comes out in January, and sign ours and others petitions. It seems that Tory MP’s on Herts have remained silent on this and not written one letter to the county opposing these cuts – I wonder why?
County and Borough Cllr
Roundabout is a total disgrace
I have noticed that the Phoenix roundabout has had a makeover, it looks as though the Phoenix has risen and the ashes have been deposited in the middle,
there is no colour whatsoever there at all, surely they can spend some money to improve it.
We were told that the Phoenix was the gateway to the revival of Hemel Hempstead after the Buncefield Explosion, having spent some £245,000 plus, surely the roundabout should reflect that coming into Hemel Hempstead Industrial Estate should be an experience to the revival.
Having seen the disgraceful appearance of the grass area plus the mound with weeds growing in it.
The area around there should be some more delightful approach, some of the other roundabouts in other areas of Hemel put this roundabout to shame.
To put it bluntly, this roundabout is a TOTAL DISGRACE to Hemel Hempstead.
Do something about this!
Derrick Moisan Hemel Hempstead
Shocked at stealth cuts to libraries
I was surprised and shocked to learn this week that the County Council is carrying out a further consultation on the future of the library service in Hertfordshire with the prospect of severe cuts in library services.
In true 1984 speak the consultation is called Inspiring Libraries. There seems to have been very little publicity to this consultation which is about draconian cuts to library services.
The mobile library service which brings the full range of library services to our neighbourhoods and villages is going to be closed.
Libraries in Tring and Berkhamsted will only have extended access if there is a volunteer supervised self-service.
Adeyfield and Leverstock Green libraries will have self-service but assistance apparently will only be offered through a virtual librarian accessed through a video link to another library.
It looks like there will be no professional staff on hand and the service will be provided by volunteers.
I urge your readers to comment on these proposals which if accepted would mean a severe degradation of Herts library services.
Comment forms are available on line and in libraries, but a word of caution only answer those questions which allow you to comment on the merit or otherwise of the proposals.
Of particular concern in Hemel Hempsteasd is that the drop-in consultation takes place on 6 December the day before the consultation period ends.
Care for the dying
We need help to care for the dying
Thank you for your article on Hospice care in the Gazette recently.
It is not easy for people who have not experienced it to understand all that our local Hospice of St Francis does for the people it looks after and for their carers during their last illness and afterwards.
Many people regard the idea of being cared for at a hospice with dread. They shouldn’t.
The hospice and its outpatient Spring Centre is a place of light, help and support.
Care, help, support can sound like vague meaningless words but without them my husband would, like so many other people, have died behind drawn curtains in a busy noisy hospital ward with tea trolleys rattling, cheerful staff offering hot drinks and the old boy in the next bed muttering about being asked to turn down the radio so that we could hear what he was saying.
As it was, he was at home where he wanted to be and we could do what we thought best helped by familiar nurses from the hospice who knew what to do. Peaceful, dignified and full of love – this is what everyone should have.
Your headline is right. More needs to be done to care for the dying – and the hospice movement needs more support to help it happen.
Freda Earl By email
Here’s how I’d sort out the town plans
I would like to put some suggestions forward for some of the development plans in Hemel Hempstead that look like they will be under consideration in the not too distant future.
With regard to the closure of the The Royal Stag Public House in Highfield and the empty car garage adjacent to the pub that has been vacant for some years now, shouldn’t Dacorum Borough Council consider buying both plots of land under a compulsory purchase order and develop them into council flats with underground parking?
The waiting lists for council housing I believe are now at 8,000 plus and both plots of land fall under brownfield land and I’m surprised that no one else seems to have mentioned this before already.
With regard to the Market Square and the council mooting the idea of having a second cinema in the town, I predict that it will be hard to attract a cinema operator to take up this offer as there is too much competition from nearby cinemas and these days a lot of people are watching new films either on the internet or by using on demand services through their satellite or cable operators.
New films are often available within a few months of their cinema release on demand services so I do wonder about the future of cinemas because of this.
I think it would be much better for the council to give the people what they want and have been waiting for far too long already and that is a replacement to the Pavilion and build that on the Market Square land or back to it previous site as it is still lying empty!
The Conservative controlled council never did have a mandate to close the Pavilion and they had it demolished just before the 2003 Council Elections and I saw that as an abuse of power and something that needs to be rectified asap. If it means the council dipping into its savings in order to build it, so be it!
With regard to a new mosque. Isn’t it possible to use the wasteland behind the current mosque and look at using that land to help expand the mosque and with some parking spaces too?
The Snow Centre which is almost opposite to the mosque was able to make good use of land with plenty of parking and wasn’t that once kind of waste woodland too? There is also a lot of land next to the mosque which could be used by asking Lime Walk school to move their football pitch up a touch and allow the mosque to expand onto the land where the football pitch currently lies.
If none of this is possible for the mosque then what about using land just before junction 8 to build a new mosque?
That would allow a mosque big enough to accommodate all those who want to use it with the parking spaces they would need too.
Name and address supplied
but not for publication
Focus on the young, they’re our future
My husband and I always attend the Hemel Hempstead Remembrance Day Parade as our grandson is in the Army Cadet Force which takes part.
There are a spread of photos in last week’s Gazette of the event.
However I note that the pictures were mainly of the dignitaries and none of the younger participants i.e. The army and air cadets, guides, scouts, brownies etc.
There is a photo of the memorial but not one of the four cadets on the four corners proudly standing to attention without a blink of an eye for at least one hour. Our grandson being one of them.
These young people are possibly the future defenders of this country and a good example of the young of today.
If I remember that it was the same last year and I think you could have done better.
New bin system is making me blue
The Dacorum Council planning authority rightly apply their conservation area powers fully to the benefit of the overall look of our town.
These powers even extend to oversight of owners’ door colours.
I am tempted to ask, therefore, whether the planning department was consulted by the environment department before the choice of bins was made for the new refuse collection system.
The new recycling bins have a particularly garish blue lid.
Many houses in the conservation area are forced to keep their bins out front.
So an extra bin already adds 50% to the street clutter. Bad enough in itself but perhaps unavoidable.
However, the bright blue lids really do take the biscuit for unnecessarily defacing the streetscape.
Surely with a bit of joined-up thinking a more muted colour could have been chosen.
Roy Massingale Berkhamsted