Letters round up (Including Dacorum Sports Trust hits back at UKIP candidate’s claims)


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

Speaker’s Corner

Koch got it wrong and here’s why ...

We were most disappointed to read damaging, misleading and erroneous comments from parliamentary candidate Howard Koch in the Gazette last week.

He neither had the courtesy – nor the good sense – to talk to us before making allegations which we consider defamatory.

We have written to him and said: “Talk to us. We have nothing to hide and plenty to be proud of.”

It might help Mr Koch’s understanding to set out some key facts:

We are a local charity. Our dual purposes are i) to improve the provision of sports and recreation facilities and opportunities in Dacorum and ii) to reduce the cost to the council of those facilities and opportunities.

We have been hugely successful with both those aims. In 2005, one year after coming into existence, our annual grant from Dacorum Borough Council was over £900,000. By 2013, that grant had reduced by 42% to £525,000.

Yet, while achieving that saving (to council tax payers), Dacorum Sports Trust has re-invested in the region of £2.5m into sporting and leisure facilities in Dacorum, have secured grants and other outside funding (to benefit Dacorum residents) and built the XC, a world class extreme sports centre in Hemel Hempstead (at no cost to Dacorum residents).

There were more than 1.5 million visits to our facilities in 2013/14. That is a lot of people who are getting fit and staying healthy, through activities and services provided by the trust.

The project at Little Hay Golf Complex is a separate issue. It is another way we are seeking to improve local sporting facilities with no financial cost to local tax payers.

By using inert soil we can improve the golf course and landscape, making it not only more challenging to play but also allowing us to recycle water, improve drainage efficiency and meet irrigation requirements during dry spells.

We have consulted residents and others and continue to do so. The golf club based at LHGC support the plan.

We anticipate that the project will be profit-neutral.

If there were to be a small surplus, it would all be reinvested back into the facilities for the people of Dacorum to enjoy.

As a charity, any profits from any section of our operation are reinvested. None of the charity’s trustees – all local people, all volunteers – makes one penny from DST.

The Dacorum Sports Trust team work tirelessly to provide outstanding sports facilities for local residents.

Most of our customers understand and appreciate this. It is a profound disappointment that unfounded allegations to the contrary were published.

Elaine Emptage

Chair of Trustees
Dacorum Sports Trust


Why are trees

getting the chop?

I see that the council appointed contractors are at it again,sawing down the trees in Gadebridge Park.

Health and safety gone mad or do these “experts” just like chopping down perfectly healthy trees, as was the case with the ones beside the skateboard ramp.

Quite obviously there isn’t anyone on the council sufficiently bothered to keep a watchful eye on what these cowboys are up to. Surely something the Friends of Gadebridge Park should raise with the council when next they have a meeting.

Bob Jones

Address supplied

Waste services

Have your say on suggested changes

Hertfordshire County Council is currently consulting on suggested changes for our 17 household waste recycling centres, which are sometimes known as ‘tips’ or ‘dumps’.

We’ve already had over 1,300 consultation responses and we’re keen to receive more.

The centres are run by external contractors and we’ve appointed a new company, AmeyCespa, to run these on our behalf.

We’ve asked them to put forward suggestions to improve efficiency and save money, while improving rates of reuse and recycling and maintaining a reliable service for residents.

We recognise that some of the service changes suggested by AmeyCespa may have an impact on our residents and want your readers’ views on the following proposals:

• Permanently closing the household waste recycling centres at Hoddesdon and Elstree 
• Changing the remaining 15 sites from a seven-day service to a five-day service, with the introduction of weekday closures 
• Changing opening times, with all sites opening from 8am to 4pm all year (except Buntingford, which will retain the existing three hours per day service)

Over the last four years, we have worked hard to deliver savings totalling £149m across the council while protecting essential frontline services.

Due to further reductions in national funding and increasing demand for key services such as adult social care and children’s services, the county council needs to make similar savings over the next four years.

If agreed, the changes suggested to our centres could mean that the service saves £6m over the next eight years.

We’re aware that questions have already been raised about matters like summer opening hours, the convenience of using another centre if your closest one is closed and fly tipping.

The impact of the suggested changes has been considered and this information is available in the frequently asked questions section on our website www.hertsdirect.org/wastechanges.
The deadline for consultation responses is August 3.

Please visit www.hertsdirect.org/wastechanges to give us your views. If you don’t have internet access, you can visit your local library where free access is available or you can request a paper copy there.

The results of the consultation will be presented to the Highways and Waste Management Panel on September 19 and then Cabinet will decide, having considered the responses to the consultation, whether to approve the suggested changes.

Terry Douris

Cabinet Member for 
waste management
Hertfordshire County Council


Litterbugs taking pitch for granted?

It is becoming an annual problem now that we are getting litter strewn over our local playing fields every time the cricket season starts ?

The playing field in question is off High Street Green (Briery Way playing fields?) in Hemel Hempstead, for many years now it has been used for football, cricket and families/dog walkers and everyone except the cricket teams/supporters seem to respect the area.

Living very close to the field and walking my dog there I see daily the condition it is left in after various sports being played and the cricket fraternity ALWAYS leave it looking like a tip with no attempt to collect the rubbish they create.

When the cricket season started sure enough I took my dog for a walk and witnessed the aftermath, total disregard for others and no attempt to clear up after their afternoon of play!

If I don’t pick up after my dog I risk getting fined, these people seem to have no respect for others that use this amenity despite the local council spending thousands to prepare a first class pitch for them to play on?

Paul Rundle

Address supplied

NAG meeting

Watch meeting a total waste of time

Recently a flyer was put into my letter box inviting people to a public meeting in Adeyfield for the Neighbourhood Action Group, so I went out of my way to go along to this.

The evening commenced at 7.30pm and consisted of a few speeches by different organisations and then a tea break.

Following this, we were advised that we had around 10 minutes left and to mingle with the other attendees.

The event was very poorly attended and I thought it would at least include a Q&A session, no doubt others thought this too.

Surely this would be a key part of the event, where the public can express views and ask questions that they would like to hear the answers?

My concerns were that why was a tea break required at all and why was it so long?

In addition why was the hall booked for such a short time slot?

These meetings I understand are being held in other neighbourhood areas of Hemel Hempstead and my advice is, if it is anything like the one I attended, don’t waste your time!

Name and address supplied

But not for publication


The only scores that really count

While the World Cup and Wimbledon are in full flow, there is only one recent score that will affect everyone in the UK; 26 - 2.

That’s the result of the humiliating defeat that David Cameron suffered in trying to prevent the election of Jean- Claude Juncker as President of the European Commission.

Cameron’s actions were dismissive of the views of our European partners. It was more “Little Britain” than Great Britain, and the UK looks smaller as a result. The Tories hopes of securing any concessions before the referendum they are promising on Europe are now derailed.

Cameron’s tactics have badly backfired, and expose a Tory Party that is, as usual, imploding on Europe. I am sure people would rather that Mr Cameron gave more attention to saving the NHS, which his Party is driving to the brink of extinction.

Prior to the 2010 General Election, Cameron said that his three priorities were “N – H – S.”

Four years later, and look where we are. Record numbers of patients are attending Accident and Emergency units because they cannot get an appointment with their GP, 64,000 planned operations were cancelled last year, the number of people waiting for more than six months for an operation has doubled since 2009 and the King’s Fund is predicting that only 40% of NHS Trusts will balance their books this year, due to cuts by the Tory government.

The Tories fought the establishment of the NHS in 1948. Since 1979 they have worked to dismantle it by stealth. Given the crisis in the NHS, Cameron’s actions on Europe recall Nero – fiddling while Rome burns.

In 2015, people will be able to choose which party is most committed to develop the NHS for the 21st Century. On any score, that Party is not the Tories. Paul Eastwood

Address supplied 
but not for publication

Speaker’s corner

No affiliation with any political party

I note that in Speaker’s Corner (Gazette July 2) a political party is supporting ‘Little Hay residents action group’. As chairman of BEVA and 3Bs Action Group, I can assure you that neither organisation has any affiliation with any political party.

We are however, united in our opposition to the landfill proposals for Little Hay. This is in common with all statutory consultees including the planners of the owners, Dacorum Borough Council. Our position is made clear in our blog – 

Gordon Rolfe

Chairman Bourne End
Village Association