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Dacorum Local Plan Consultation 2020-2021

At the full council meeting at the beginning of December 2020, there was considerable concern expressed by members as well as the public, regarding the launch of the public consultation on the Dacorum Local Plan.

Being in the middle of a pandemic and hence the inability for the council to provide walk-in public exhibitions at community centres for example, the timing of the launch was criticised. It was also pointed out that the pandemic is providing a considerable distraction to thousands of residents and perhaps a public consultation would be the last thing on peoples' minds.

Cllr. Andrew Williams responded, standing by the consultation launch schedule and requesting that as many people take part as possible. His argument was that by gathering the views of residents, such data could be used to provide evidence not to develop to the extent that the government is demanding.

Appreciating the leader of the council's argument, it is paramount that as many residents take part in tis public consultation on the Dacorum local plan, as possible. Hence, if you want to have your say, please start here:

In your response, you may like to consider the following:

  • Infrastructure
  • Roads and transport
  • Loss of green belt
  • Flood risk

New on-line track 'n' trace system at the Grovehill Community Centre
New on-line track 'n' trace system at the Grovehill Community Centre.

As of 18th September 2020, The Grovehill Community Centre and the Grovehill Youth Centre, will have posters displaying a QR code. Once easily and conveniently scanned with a mobile phone, visitors are taken to an on-line form which can be completed.

The main advantage of this system, is that no one has to touch a pen! It's also much faster than having to fill in a paper form although the latter will remain available.

UPDATE 22nd September - Things are moving fast and businesses have to be on the ball. As of 24th September, all businesses will have to use the official NHS COVID-19 QR code and log-in. The Grovehill Community Centre and the Grovehill Youth Centre will have official NHS posters replacing the GNA's own posters by this date.

IMPORTANT: The NHS log-in system requires visitors to have the NHS COVID-19 app installed on their mobile phone. The Android version of the app can be downloaded here and the IOS version can be downloaded here.

Original Plan of Grovehill

Just before the local college was closed down to be moved to a brand new site, one of Alex's friends uncovered what looked like aged tracing paper. On closer inspection, this old piece of tracing paper revealed plans of Grovehill. The date can't be easily made out other than a word which looks like it could be 'January' and a year that's either 1960 or 1968. We think it reads '1968' as 1960 seems a bit early.

Alex was able to scan the huge document at very high resolution but only in monochrome (black and white) but is going to try to get it scanned professionally in colour which may help expose more detail.

If you're interested in checking this out, please feel free to download a pdf version of Grovehill Estate Plan here. Be warned; it's 10 MB.

Derek Baulch R.I.P 2020.05.14

It is with deep regret that we inform you of the passing away of Derek Baulch, yesterday on 14th May 2020.

Derek had lived in Marlborough Rise, Grovehill since the early seventies and was well known by so many residents. His commitment to his community was inspiring and he was the kind of guy who always put others first. In fact on 1st October 2019, we posted an article here, when he was awarded the Three Counties Radio Peoples Award for his relentless volunteering work at the Dens Food Bank on the Paradise Park estate. Modest as ever, Derek was insistent that the award wasn't actually for him but for all the volunteers at Dens.

Always smiling and often laughing, Derek had a great sense of humour and was fun to be around. With a unique way of being direct but diplomatic (and always very polite), at the same time, he was respected by all who worked with him. A long-standing member of the Grovehill Neighbourhood Association, he was a library of knowledge, especially about all things Grovehill.

Derek's humility was witnessed by many, when it was recently proposed and agreed by the GNA committee, that the newest hall at the Grovehill Community Centre be named after him; the Derek Baulch Hall. He just didn't know what all the fuss was about!

A lovely person in every way, his presence will be sorely missed. Our thoughts go out to his family at this very sad time.

The Starlink invasion

Earlier this month, some may have been alerted to the launch of a bunch of satellites by the American SpaceX company, owned by Amazon founder, Elon Musk. The idea behind the 'StarLink' satellites which will soon number to over 12,000 (yes, that's right... 12,000) is to improve global Internet coverage.

With a low earth orbit (LEO) of about 340 miles, the StarLink satellites are clearly visible and can be seen with the naked eye, as they follow each other across the night sky.

Astronomers both armature and professional, have been very critical of the night sky invasion and sky watchers are concerned that the natural beauty of the heavens, may never be the same again.

So what price are we prepared to pay for high-speed and reliable Internet access and mobile telecoms? Is this just too much or a taste of things to come? We've already reported on the recent erection of 5G masts in Grovehill, a subject which will remain open for debate for some time.

April Showers in Grovehill 2020
April showers in Grovehill 2020 - a real rainbow to say THANK YOU 🙂

A month into lock-down and we're all amazed and grateful for what so many people are doing, particularly front-line workers such as doctors, nurses, police but also postmen, milkmen, all those people that work in our local convenience stores and so many more. Thank you!

New 5G Masts in Grovehill

Over the past couple of weeks, it’s been difficult to ignore the new telecoms masts that have appeared in Aycliffe Drive. These are for the up-and-coming 5G network which is being rolled out across the country. Unfortunately many people aren’t too impressed with their sudden appearance, not just in Grovehill but over the entire UK. In fact, due to the timing, they’re even being blamed for ‘spreading’ COVID-19! Yes, that’s right. In some parts of the UK and Europe, these masts have been attacked by ignorant people with nothing else to do.

While rumours circulate, here's something to consider; the part of the electromagnetic spectrum used for mobile telecommunications falls in the category of non-ionized radiation, unlike for example, ultra-violet light (from the sun), which is in the ionizing category and which is harmful to human (and other) DNA.

Top of 5G Mast in Grovehill, Hemel Hempstead

The media only refers to ‘radiation’ and doesn’t distinguish between what comes out of a light bulb and what is still coming out of Chernobyl. The same media is of course, very articulate when it comes to reporting about food!

So they’re not dangerous, then? Well, who knows. We're not experts and searching for information on-line, yields many articles suggesting strong scientific evidence against 5G but there's also a community that believes 5G is perfectly safe. Some may recall that we went through the same thing with 4G and 3G and that many years ago, links were proposed between certain tumours and excessive use of mobile phones held close to the side of the head or kept in a breast pocket.

Suspicion and conspiracy theories flourish when things seem somewhat cloak 'n' naggerish and perhaps the public wouldn't be so concerned if things were a little more out in the open with regards their erection. It does seem strange how these masts have popped up so quickly and during a period of national lock-down. Appreciating that these things are months and sometimes years in the planning, it might all just be coincidence but it does feel weird.

A word from Councillor Bhinder:

While I have a scientific background, there's no way I have the knowledge or experience to comment on the potential environmental impact of 5G. I am concerned however, at the speed and lack of information regarding the erection of the new masts.

Councillors receive weekly updates on all planning applications in the borough but annoyingly, things like these masts aren’t included so we’re as surprised as everyone else  to see them suddenly pop up like this. 

What is of concern and something I’ll be looking into, is that we’ve been led to believe that the various telecoms companies are supposed to be working together. Hence, one mast can serve several providers. If that’s the case, then why have we now got three masts in Aycliffe Drive, all within a stone’s throw of each other?

STOP panic buying!!!!

What on earth is happening?!?!?!? Have people gone nuts? What’s happened to common sense? Have we become a nation of idiots?

It’s 12th March 2020 and for the past couple of weeks, there have been a few instances of what is known as corona virus or COVID-19, in the UK.

Is British society really so fickle that at times like these, we act like lemmings? Selfish, greedy people buying up anything and everything with complete disregard for the elderly and vulnerable in our society.

What's happening is quite unprecedented but there's no need what so ever to panic, let alone panic buy. At a time like this, we all need topull together, think of others and not just ourselves. There are people out there, people in our community, who can't buy hundreds of toilet rolls or bottles of sanitiser, as if there's any need to do so! Stupid, selfish panic buying just increases pressure on the supply chain and makes life difficult for everyone.