Letters to the Editor (Including ‘Parties must join forces to save our hospital’)

A selection of letters to the editor this week.

Saturday, 28th February 2015, 8:15 am
Thanks to Steve Jones for this great pic of an amazing sunset . Steve said: It was taken from my back window over looking Hemel. It was an usual cloud formation perhaps your readers can help to identify it?


Now parties must now join together to save the NHS

Something remarkable happened in British Politics last week.

Our three main political leaders put aside their Party differences and pledged to work as one on the environment.

So now I have another even greater challenge for the Cameron, Clegg and Miliband.

Join together to save our most cherished institution – the National Health Service.

No one political Party can justifiably and in all honesty claim to care more about it than any other.

Yet in each General Election the Parties engage in a bidding war to persuade the electorate that only in their respective Party’s hand is the NHS safe.

That is a false claim.

The NHS is one of the largest and most complex organisations in the country.

How well it is funded and managed effects every single citizen regardless of colour, creed, financial standing or political leanings.

There is a growing consensus that measures introduced by successive governments have done little to tackle the structural problems of administrative efficiency or delivery of some services such as Accident and Emergency.

Some key figures have even warned that the very survival of the NHS as we know it is at risk.

Arguing whether the risk is greater under a Labour or Conservatives or Coalition government is in my view pointless.

If our Party leaders can come together to address an issue of international importance I see no reason why they cannot do the same on an issue of such a fundamental importance to us all here at home.

Rabi Martins

Liberal Democrats PPC 
for Hemel Hempstead


Complacency is damaging town

Those with long memories will remember planning permission for Jarman Park being given on the condition that a hotel was built on the spare adjacent lane.

Of course the hotel never materialised and a weak council did not enforce planning regulations.

Now we hear our council is considering a planning application for yet more retail and food outlets on the same land (Gazette 18th February).

It saddens me that our council have little vision for the town’s development, they simply don’t see that one can’t both have a vibrant town centre –as they state they want – and at the same time develop out of town retail parks.

That 43 out of the 51 councillors are Tory should indicate where the problem lies; plain complacency.

It’s time for a change and let’s only hope that the good people of Dacorum will vote at least some of them out in the May elections.

John Eardley
Hemel Hempstead

Waste Services

It’s pathetic mealy mouthed whining

Am I the only one who feels let down that they have not had any problems with the new bins the council have supplied.

As I have not been forced from my home by conflict, nor fear for my life from a deadly virus and who knows were his next meal is coming from (and annoyingly has enough of the correct size bags for their caddy to dispose of the leftovers), I have therefore decided to REACT WITH FURY that the council has denied me the opportunity to have a mealy mouthed, self serving and somewhat pathetic whine about my bins.

I mean who do these people think they are?

Giving me the correct information, collecting them when they said they would, and the ultimate insult, GIVING US SOME BAGS WE HAVE PAID FOR WITH OUR COUNCIL TAX! I mean HOW DARE THEY DO THIS TO ME!

I have a good mind to write a strongly worded letter of complaint to the council about it.

So come on Dacourm Borough Council can you give me something to really complain about as I’m feeling a bit left out.

Name and address supplied
But not for publication


Imitation is biggest form of flattery

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

This quote came to mind when I read that Mike Penning MP has pledged to see more health services in Hemel Hempstead, Gazette February 4, because in December 2013 I wrote to the Gazette pointing to a future path for our local health services.

That the MP now realises something needs to take place. To help I repeat an extract from my letter below:

“Dacorum Borough Council has empty sites, one of which could provide a multistorey centre that had Urgent Care, Diagnostic Services, an ambulance station, day surgery, a short stay ward and services currently on site.

“It would save patients making a two-hour journey to Watford for a ten minute consultation or check-up. With the closure of Chase Farm staffing would be available. Finance would come from the sale of the existing Hemel Hempstead hospital land for housing, thus reducing the pressure on Green Belt land and giving a shot in the arm to the retail sector.

“We can no longer cling to the empty promise of a hospital in the area in 10 years time or the return of major services to Hemel Hempstead.

Now is the time to move on with the provision of a centre as I have described promoted by a consortium of the Health Trust, Dacorum Borough Council and the clinical Commissioning Groups.

“The Dacorum Hospital Action Group would again have a positive campaigning role to urge these bodies to uprate the health service that the people of Dacorum are rightfully entitled to.”

Copies of the above were sent to Samantha Jones, chief executive of West Herts Health Trust, and Dr Nicholas Small, chair of Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group.

I received a reply from Samantha Jones but not from Dr Small.

Mike Penning MP and Dr Small have been slow in recognising local health service needs as I described two years ago.

It seems that the only contributioin Mr Penning has made to the debate is to parrot cry that Labour has closed our hospital but now finds it is still there.

Les Taber
Hemel Hempstead


We must put the horse before cart

A few years ago I had an article published in ‘Your Berkhamsted’ about the failure to build the link road between Springfield Road and New Road, Northchurch.

One of the primary reasons for this not going ahead was that Bridgewater Road residents feared their road would become a ‘rat run’.

I argued that, with the High Street usually at a standstill, if people were not to use Bridgewater Road, Shootersway and, to a lesser extent, Charles Street, as thoroughfares how were we expected to get from one end of town to the other.

I was therefore interested to read that Cllr Fiona MacDonald used the term ‘rat-run’ when referring to Shootersway Lane as having been used as this in the past and potentially would become one again, if the planned Shootersway Development went ahead.

I looked up the definition of rat run and it is ‘a minor, typically residential street, used by drivers during peak periods to avoid congestion on main roads’.

That basically means that every thoroughfare in Berkhamsted could be considered a rat run, with the exception of the High Street, due to not being a minor road, although, in terms of being residential, it now possibly has more residents than any other street in the town.

In relation to Berkhamsted, the town’s situation makes any through road a legitimate means of travelling from A to B, so the term ‘rat-run’ is never appropriate.

I understand that the development of the old RAF hospital in Halton was not approved, until the A41 by-pass had been built, as the planners recognised that the road junction from Wendover to the old A41 would be a major issue.

Much like the building of Lidl, Dacorum planners must make sure the infrastructure is right FIRST, before allowing building work to continue.

How will the lorries access the site let alone the residents in due course? Darrs Lane, DurrantsLane and Cross Oak Road are not suitable for lorries, so that means more congestion at the junction with Kings Road.

To state that the road infrastructure ‘doesn’t impact on the planning application that we could incorporate any conditions’ seems to be plainly wrong.

Surely we must try and put the horse before the cart, when it comes to planning.

Peter Morgan


Stop slinging mud from the shadows

Your correspondent who hides behind a pseudonym while sniping at our MP from cover is, sadly, as short on facts as he (or she) is long on windedness.

I write this from absolutely no political angle: I have met Mike Penning (Conservative) on several occasions, I’ve also met Howard Koch (UKIP PPC) about as many times, and I’ve even met Caroline Lucas (Green Party MP), though only twice and some time ago.

But for the avoidance of doubt I do not have any political affiliations whatsoever – I just like a bit of objectivity and accuracy. I do, however, recognise Mike Penning as an active constituency MP who works hard for Hemel Hempstead and alongside Ministerial responsibilities takes every opportunity to keep the town, and the parlous state of what was once a complete hospital, in front of Government.

That’s a whole lot more than can be said of his predecessor, about whom the kindest thing one could say is what Churchill is claimed to have said about Attlee: “an empty taxi pulled up and Clement Attlee got out of it”.

Our current MP’s voting record is indeed available for all of us to see, along with his other interventions and contributions in debates, thanks to the internet, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of, as was darkly hinted by 
your correspondent.

Indeed, theyworkforyou.com tells us that there have been occasions when he’s had the courage and conviction to vote against party lines.

That’s a principled approach which would have been welcome among Dacorum’s Councillors when they voted in favour of building on Green Belt land in Dacorum, from which some now seem anxious to be thought of as retracting - but only because local elections are coming up.

By all means take aimed shots at politicians, national or local, where they’re clearly failing – but keep pseudonymous smears to yourself, and don’t politicise the parlous state of our hospital. We need to be supporting efforts to retain and rebuild its capabilities, not slinging mud, of whatever political colour, around.

Michael Nidd
Hemel Hempstead

Car parking

Failing machines are costing us dear

Are you aware the contractors who “look after” the Sportspace car park in town are continuing to issue parking notices to drivers who have entered details into the forever failing machines.

Myself and a friend have been accused of not following the advertised terms and conditions within days of each other. We did use the system provided and both of us received a notice.

I use the Sportspace for both my son’s classes held on the premises, it’s a 30 minute class, I was parked for little over 40 minutes of the allowed THREE hours!

I have since removed my youngest child from the class as I am not prepared to use a facility which doesn’t follow their own codes of practice. My eldest son will move classes when I find a suitable alternative!

Claire Cleveland
Via email