Ambitious project raises questions
There is no doubt that a museum for Dacorum is a desirable thing and that Dacorum Heritage Trust do a marvellous job in recording and preserving the history of the area.
However, I am deeply concerned by the article that appeared in the Gazette (August 13) which I found quite misleading.
To begin with the article gives the impression that the public of Dacorum are fully behind the proposal for a Museum.
It claims 96% of respondents to a public consultation backed the plan. On examination of the relevant pages on the Trust’s website we see that at the time of writing 265 responses had been received and that 96% of those responded favourably.
That’s 265 responses from the population of Dacorum currently estimated to be approximately 144,000 – less than a half of 1% of the population, hardly a ringing endorsement!
The questionnaire is also deeply flawed in that it does not show a breakdown of responses in terms of age.
For example are the young interested in a museum or are projects like a Splashpool in the park more important to them?
On further examination of the questionnaire itself we see in Q5 that The Bury is the only option proposed as a site for the Museum.
The Bury is a much loved building in Hemel Hempstead and no doubt the site would be the “romantic” option.
It has its advantages too, the most important of which would be protecting it from property developers.
However, it should be remembered it is a listed building which clearly needs a lot of money spent on, not only the building, but the upkeep of the grounds. Is it really the best site for a museum?
Wouldn’t a building needing less investment or a new build be preferable?
Does a museum have to be in Hemel? Why not Berkhamsted, Tring or Kings Langley for instance?
We don’t know because the public weren’t asked. According to the response to the loaded question in the Trust’s questionnaire the Bury is the best spot, but I wonder if the response would have been the same had other site options been put forward or the difficulties in making costly alterations to a listed building to modernise its facilities and accommodate the disabled (I understand there is currently no lift) been fully explained.
This is not the only question to which Dacorum Heritage trust needs to give answers to the public on.
We know that the Trust seeks a grant from the Lottery (I believe an earlier application was rejected) to get the museum up and running and that it will largely be staffed by volunteers.
However, we need answers on how the museum will be financed.
Will it be funded by Dacorum Council at a time when many other worthy community projects are being starved of funds?
Will the museum charge admittance and if so what is the current estimate of what the charge will be?
Surely it is not feasible to rely solely on donations? How many visitors per year do they expect?
Dacorum Heritage Trust also seem to forget that the Bury is not a vacant building. It is currently used as a Register Office and Mike Penning, our MP, has offices there.
Have they been consulted and what is their view?
I wonder given the choice, whether the public would prefer the building to become a museum or remain a Register Office?
The Bury is also a popular venue for marriages. Do the Trust propose weddings will continue if other Registration Services move elsewhere?
Will the council allow this? Again this is information the public needs to know.
Presumably the building would have to be licensed for weddings if not part of the Register Office. I don’t know how much a license would cost, but would it not have the effect of raising prices – perhaps putting it out of the reach of many local residents?
As I stated at the beginning of this letter I am in favour of a museum for Dacorum. But I believe Dacorum Heritage Trust needs to be more open and discuss all the relevant facts with the public, acknowledging the difficulties their ambitious project faces.
Only then can the right decisions can be made.
Name and address supplied
but not for publication
When will we get our post box back?
Towards the end of May you reported the demolition of a tree, a telephone box, some railings, a letter box and the front door of a home by an out of control lorry at the junction of Swing Gate Lane and London Road in Berkhamsted.
The railings were speedily repaired and the remains of the tree removed. Since then there seems to have been no progress to the replacement of the Royal Mail pillar box. The damaged house remains boarded up and fenced off.
Is our letterbox is going to be replaced and if so when?
It was very well used and very conveniently placed for local businesses and schools as well as pedestrians. And how long will it be before the house is repaired?
Shurely shume mushtake in Digest
The recently published “Dacorum Digest” contains, on page 16, the news that September 24 will see the freedom of entry to the borough bestowed on The Royal ANGLICAN Regiment.
This is not so! The Anglican Regiment is that body of Christians around the world united by a certain creed.
The Royal ANGLIAN Regiment is that fine body of military born of the amalgamations over several years of splendid old county regiments including The Beds and Herts, Lincolnshire, Suffolk, Royal Norfolk, Essex.
That the Regiment is to be honoured by the Borough is to be applauded, please let us not spoil the day by using a wrong title.
Revd Rex Merry
Sometime officer serving with 1st Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment
Time for new kind of water park fun
I think we should save the land where Aquasplash was in Hemel for a new waterpark with a different kind of ride: a water coaster (like an uphill sort of slide) and other curvy flumes.
Hopefully, it will be open by winter 2015.
Penning, EU should say where EU stand
In April 2013 I received a letter from our member of parliament, Mike Penning who was answering my letter to him on the referendum of the European Union.
He stated that as a founding member of the conservatives against a federal Europe – and he told me that his views are well known and has never tried to hide these from his constituents.
When a referendum comes he will naturally look at any re-negotiations.
But he said he will need a lot of convincing,for us to have a different relationship with Europe.
As we are now part of a federal state of Europe for which he states he is against,what is he doing about removing us from that which he said he is against.
Now Mike tell us your views as your constituents don’t know what your views on the European Union, this union is not what the people voted for and Willson lied to the people and told us that it would only be a trade agreement called the common market, this market is now costing this country 55 million pounds every day. No wonder we have such a large debt, and I ask you to tell us your views.
You get the speaker’s corner, use this to explain to your constituents so we know that you are representing all the people of Hemel Hempstead.
Investing in youth
Investment is vital and most welcome
Over the past 18 months The Boys’ Brigade has opened 53 new Companies across England, with over 1,200 new members and 550 adult volunteers taking its UK membership to over 65,000.
To enable us to do this and offer young people the best possible start in life, we rely on external investment through a range of funding streams including the Government’s Uniformed Youth Social Action Fund, which this week announced that The Boys’ Brigade is to receive over £840,000.
This investment is most welcome and will enable us to continue to reach out to and support more young people, particularly in deprived areas or hard to reach communities.
We estimate that the funding, to be distributed through the Youth United Foundation, will create 1,695 additional places for young people in The Boys’ Brigade over the next 18 months, where they can access a range of opportunities to develop relevant life skills and take part in fun and challenging activities.
Investing in our young people is vital in providing them with the best opportunity for a better future.
Director for England The Boys’ Brigade Hemel Hempstead
My poetic tribute to Robin Williams
In memory of the Hollywood genius Robin Williams 1951-2014: he made us all laugh so many times yet was often suffering from depression on the
I hope this poem helps more people understand this terrible condition of the human mind:
Down, down I feel so low.
Trapped in a tunnel, with nowhere to go.
Cut myself off from all my friends,
I’ll work this out in the end.
Dark, dark that feeling inside,
Nothing looks good; I just want to hide.
There must be some people in whom I can confide,
Understanding friends, who are on my side?
One day at a time is what I hear,
No need to live life full of fear.
Do you really need that anti-depressant pill?
With hindsight every mountain becomes a molehill.
Don’t give in to this dark mood,
Fun and laughter can be your food.
Love yourself and say, ‘I am what I am.’
Ignore this hard world you know you can.
Just take the time to work this out,
To overcome a life full of self doubt.
God loves you, the way you are.
You are unique, you’re a star.
No consideration for disabled people
I’m a disabled blue badge holder and I’m fed up with being sworn at by drivers who I ask to move as they are parked in disabled bays especially in Bank Court and Tescos.
Van drivers are the worst. I’ve spoken to Tescos which won’t do anything about it. It affects my health if these low life drivers park in these bays. I end up in pain.
So can these people think they are making disabled people park far from where they want to shop.
One day I hope people who park without badges will need these spaces themselves then they will know what it’s like.
Once in Bank Court a man parked his van behind my car which was in a bay while he went into the bank and a traffic warden refused to do anything so no-one cares about disabled drivers.
We all live in a ... slow submarine?
I am surprised that First Minister Salmond thinks an independent Scotland would take over five years to get rid of nuclear submarines.
For what these vessels have cost, one would have thought that they would be able to sail down the Clyde and out of Scottish waters in but a few hours!
Whilst any weapons of mass destruction that they were unable to take with them could be sent on by road the following day.
John Eoin Douglas
What do you think? Comment below or email [email protected]