Letters to the editor (Including ‘Maylands designs are a cruel pastiche of 60 year old designs)

Feeding frenzy: thanks to Gordon Dumpleton of Tring for this great photo of gulls and swans feeding at Startops Reservoir this week. Keep your great pictures coming into us by email
Feeding frenzy: thanks to Gordon Dumpleton of Tring for this great photo of gulls and swans feeding at Startops Reservoir this week. Keep your great pictures coming into us by email

A selection of letters to the Gazette this week.


I wonder for the future of service under this system

May I offer two brief comments on your press reports on the departure of Samantha Jones, the chief executive of West Herts NHS Trust?

First; please, please, please, senior health professionals stop talking about value for the taxpayer.

Everyone who works, or who pays National Insurance, is a taxpayer.

Taxpayers are also the patients or potential patients. What is needed is value for patients and there’s a world of difference between the thoughts and psyche that lie behind the two phrases.

Second; I was referred as an urgent emergency. If (I accept it may be if) my recent 24 hour experience of Watford Hospital is average throughout that hospital, I fear for the new national NHS Health and Care Services Samantha Jones will now direct.

The hospital seemed to be run on a systems analysis basis, one that is often appropriate for vehicle, or any other complex form of mass production (I do this job, you do that, he/she covers the next bit, and so on).

It is not very patient care friendly. This may not be Samantha Jones’ direct responsibility.

However I presume hers is the framework. In late age myself and someone likely to be involved, I wonder for the satisfactory future of this new service under such systems.

Howard Gilbert

Leverstock Green


A cruel pastiche of age-old designs

Referring to the artists impression of the Maylands development (front page January 14) this is no longer so much a fantasy world, but a crude pastiche of the designs being produced over 60 years ago for Britain’s various New Towns.

As your other correspondents have noted, these were designed to house a post-war baby boomer population, although perhaps not quite a “soviet style” economy!

However, having looked more closely, I also see that a new church has been cleverly disguised to look like an outlet for Primark (other discount stores are available).

Presumably our councillors will expect any future developments which include, for instance, a mosque, a synagogue or a temple to be similarly anonymous?

They clearly want us to expand the worship of Mammon instead, in these new utopian shopping centres which they are continually planning to provide.

John Hollings

Waste services

Association will keep you in loop

Regarding Helen Wood’s letter in last week’s Gazette (Jan 14) on the new opening days at the Berkhamsted Recycling Centre, if she had been a member of the Berkhamsted Citizens Association (a modest subscription of £5 p.a.) she would have been sent her own personal emails informing her first of the HCC consultation (DBC collects your rubbish, HCC – or rather its contractors – disposes of it) last year on the changes to the times and days of opening of the Berkhamsted ‘Dump’, and on January 2 of the new opening times starting on January 5.

But she could also have seen this information on the HCC and DBC websites; and signed up for text alerts on all things ‘Waste’.

As to ‘false economy’, that remains to be seen.

Susan Johnson

Berkhamsted Citizens Association

Waste services

Bin liners are a waste of time

Included with our new wheelie bins were 52 compostable liners for my existing kitchen caddy which, once full of food waste, are to be tied up and put in the new outside kerb caddy.

In the past I have bought compostable liners from supermarkets which work well, but I thought that, as a trial, I would use one of the new liners to test it’s efficiency.

I find that it is almost completely useless.

The liner is not large enough to fold over the edge of the caddy to hold it firm and, as soon as any waste is put into it, it collapses at the bottom of the bin.

When putting in further waste, it almost invariably spills over creating a mess in the bin and irritation to the user.

I cannot imagine why on earth the officials in the county can have spent so much of taxpayers’ money on such a travesty of a liner.

It is certainly not fit for the purpose for which it is 
intended and I, for one, will not be using it.

I assume that there will be further expenditure on a similar amount of these useless bags.

Barbara Somerville

Council services

Disgusted at lack of council help

I am a resident of Dacorum (Boxmoor). Over Christmas, and Christmas Day in particular, my boiler in my home ceased to work after only being serviced last month.

As a mother of three young children, I tried to contact our local council’s emergency call out number to resolve the problem.

I was answered after 30 minutes of call waiting time, to be told that Dacorum has not set in place any emergency call out engineers over the Christmas period, and all they could do was send someone to drop of an electric consuming heater.

These were meant to keep me and all three of my children warm.

I have metres for my gas and electricity like most people, so it will come as no surprise that this has eaten my electric and also my gas, despite the gas not even being on.

The temperature had dropped over this time too. When is it ok for our council, to not provide a service to the public.

The need for engineers is essential especially at a time like Christmas.

When the engineer finally arrived on December 29, I was told that he had been on call for the last two days and had done over 10 call outs.

When I spoke to the council I was told no one would be able to come out as there was no one to send, only to find out this was false information.

I am absolutely disgusted with the service provided by our council.

Sara Copeman

Clubs & community

Brigade is doing its bit for our youth

As we start a new year, it offers a timely opportunity to reflect on the past 12 months, whilst looking ahead to what is 
shaping up to be a positive year for The Boys’ Brigade in England.

In 2014, we started 35 new companies, creating 1,000 places for young people in England, taking our UK 
membership to over 65,000, which is great news for the lives of young people – boys and girls – in supporting the development of key life skills.

Much of this work was achieved as a result of funding from the Government’s Social Inclusion Programme administered by the Youth United Foundation.

Going forward, new funding has been secured from revenue streams including the Government’s Uniformed Social Action Fund, which will enable us to grow the organisation across the country, and in particular in those communities where there’s a need to invest in the lives of young people and children.

We’re also proud of the achievements of our members. In 2014, 120 young people achieved their Queen’s Badge, which is the highest recognition in the organisation and 333 members gained the organisation’s President’s Badge.

Collectively, this highlights the continued relevance of The Boys’ Brigade to today’s young people.

However, we couldn’t have achieved such impressive outcomes without the help of thousands of volunteers who work tirelessly behind the scenes, and to whom we are extremely grateful.

Looking ahead, 2015 offers a number of exciting opportunities.

We’re working with the 
Government-led National Citizen Service to deliver additional training for the initiative, which aims to put young people at the heart of the local community.

We also hope to welcome more young people into the organisation with the creation of new groups, with a focus on after-school provision in rural areas.

Eric Hudson

Director for England
The Boys’ Brigade
Felden Lodge
Hemel Hempstead

New Year’s Honours

MBE heroes leave a lasting legacy

I wanted to highlight to your readers two people whose substantial contribution to the NHS, to Hertfordshire Community Trust and to the local communities they have served has been recognised in the New Year’s Honours, both receiving MBEs.

They are Anne McPherson, one of our non-executive directors at Hertfordshire Community Trust and Deborah Bone, who used to lead the Step2 service for mental health.

The announcement is made very poignant and sad by Deborah’s death on 30 December, just hours before the news of her MBE was publicly announced.

Deborah was an inspirational leader in mental health services for children and young people. Step2 exists because of her vision, drive and commitment and represents a powerful legacy of the work she did.

The service is a 0-19 Early Intervention Service consisting of a small team of mental health professionals with a wide range of skills and experience in child mental health and emotional wellbeing. They work in partnership with other services and mental health experts to support children, young people and their families who experience mental health issues.

Deborah was always full of ideas and enthusiasm, always wanting to find new ways to improve the service.

Deborah was the inspiration, visionary and architect of the Step2 Service in Hertfordshire which meant that children and their families for the first time could access our mental health service in their home or in their school.

Deborah constantly found new ways to connect and reach out to our ‘hardest to reach’ clients in a way which was non-stigmatising, non-confrontational and above all useful.

I know she will be greatly missed by those closest to her and the award is highly deserved recognition of a wonderful person.

Anne McPherson has dedicated her career to nursing, including being for 10 years the Director of Nursing at the QE2 Hospital and in many other parts of the NHS in Hertfordshire. In HCT Anne has driven the quality agenda from her position as Chair of the Healthcare Governance Committee.

She has put in place measures that keeps us all on our toes in relation to the quality of service we provide.

She has been a remarkable public servant over a long career and sees the world through the eyes of the people who receive our services, as well as understanding very clearly what it means to deliver healthcare. Her desire to see our work well done is completely undimmed.

David Law
Chief Executive
Herts Community NHS Trust


Keep Holocaust memorial alive

On Holocaust Memorial Day, on January 27, hundreds of thousands of people will gather at over 2,400 events across the country to mark 70 years since the liberation of the Nazi’s most notorious killing site Auschwitz-Birkenau.

These events will allow people to come together to remember and honour the millions killed in the Holocaust and in subsequent genocides.

Candles designed by award-winning sculptor Sir Anish Kapoor will be lit at 70 special commemorations around the UK and at Auschwitz itself symbolically linking them on this important anniversary.

It is vital that we all remember and reflect upon the horrors of the past, and honour those who survived.

Many survivors will be speaking about their experiences at events in schools, in cinemas and local communities.

By hearing, seeing and sharing these powerful stories and memories, we are challenged to confront all forms of hatred and discrimination wherever we see them.

Play your part by attending a local event – listed online at hmd.org.uk – or reading a survivor story on keepthememoryalive.hmd.org.uk and sharing it with others.

Olivia Marks-Woldman

Chief Executive
Holocaust Memorial Day Trust