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Cold, windy and wet, 12th December 2019 saw no break in the grim weather we’ve been having over recent weeks, yesterday being one of a handful of exceptions. Despite the miserable weather however, residents came out in force, to cast their votes in one of the most important elections we’ve seen in decades.

Sir Mike Penning wins general election 2019 for Conservatives in Hemel Hempstead

Here are the 2019 general election results for the constituency of Hemel Hempstead:

PARTY
VOTES
PERCENTAGE
Conservative
28968
56.50
Labour
14405
28.10
Lib Dem
06317
12.32
Green
01581
03.08
TOTAL
51271

Percentage turnout: 69.53%

CONGRATULATIONS TO SIR MIKE PENNING

Comparing these results with the results of the general election of 2017, it's quite clear that while the Conservative vote did increase slightly, Labour lost many votes this time around to the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party with the former more than doubling their share. The overall turnout was about the same.

PARTY
VOTES
PERCENTAGE
Conservative
28735
54.96
Labour
19290
36.90
Lib Dem
03233
06.18
Green
01024
01.96
TOTAL
52282

Percentage turnout: 70.47%

Pathway in Wootton Drive finally sorted

One afternoon in November, Alex came home only to be confronted by a really upset neighbour. Joe Scibetta told Alex that another person had slipped and fallen on the path that connects Wootton Drive to the playing fields.

There are actually two paths from Wootton Drive that go down to the playing fields. The one in question here, is roughly in the middle of Wootton Drive and is only half tarmac covered, the rest is basically mud. The second path is nearer the top of Wootton Drive, past Putters Croft.

Anyway, Alex explained that the dodgy path had come up before but that he couldn't remember why it wasn't done.

To cut a long story short, the path comes under both Dacorum Borough Counciland Hertfordshire County Council jurisdictions. This makes things potentially quite complicated.

Anyway, Alex said that he'd look into the matter again and really try this time, to get it fixed. In the meantime, Joe decided to organise a petition asking Wootton Drive residents to come together and provide evidence that a solid path is what people wanted.

It took a couple of weeks but Alex was eventually reassured by DBC officers that the path would be made safe. By this time, Joe's petition had gained over two-hundred signatures!

Well today is 12th December 2019 and we're delighted to report that the section of the path that leaves the original tarmac has now been black shingled all the way to the field. We're hoping that this will provide considerably more sure-footing than the previous mud-slide.

Hedge row between Crawley Drive and Link Road

In September we reported that residents in Crawley Drive had approached local councillors asking if it was possible to leave the hedge row that separates Crawley Drive and Link Road, to grow. Apart from hiding the traffic, it was thought that the environment would allow wildlife to flourish.

Alex and Julie in particular thought that this was a great idea and that it would be relatively easy to get Dacorum Borough Council to leave the hedge row to do its own thing.

Unfortunately that wasn't the case. Alex and residents were shocked on 12th November when they saw a tractor driving up Link Road, cutting the hedge right back. Alex approached DBC for an explanation and to discuss a way forward.

On 9th December, Alex met council officers at the site. Some issues were highlighted such as traffic visibility of road signs and the fact that the hedge could not be allowed to grow into the road.

After some discussion, it was agreed that DBC would indeed allow the hedge to grow so as to at least obscure the traffic along Link Road. There would have to be some thinning so that the Green Safe and Clean team could access the hedge up to the actual fence, allowing maintenance from the Crawley Drive side of the hedge.

It was also agreed that the grass close to the hedge would be allowed to grow and that wild flowers would be encouraged to take.

Residents had also asked if it was possible to plant trees on the green. The land however, doesn't actually belong to DBC and comes under Hertfordshire County Council. This makes management and decision making a little more complicated. Dacorum Borough Council however, is committed to tree planting, something that again, Julie and Alex very much support.

"This is a great space and with resident support, it would be quite foolish not to take advantage of the opportunity here." Says Alex.

Julie is looking into Section 106 money; funds given to the community by developers. Residents themselves have even offered to help contribute financially.

"I'm sure we're going to get trees here. We just need to work out how we're actually going to do it. Maintenance and light need to be considered but at £350 each, I think it's quite doable." Continues Alex.

 

LA-1 Public Consultation 2019

Some households in Grovehill, specifically those that'll be directly affected by the proposed LA-1 development at the top of Marchmont Fields, will have or will shortly be receiving  a letter from Dacorum Borough Council requesting comments and opinions.

If you do have something to say, please don't be subjective. There's no point for example, expressing concern about the view from your house or the potential devaluation of your property.

Alex, Julie and Goverdhan are very concerned about access and the effect that any access will have on the flow of traffic on the Link Road, for example. If traffic is slowed down, will Grovehill become another pollution hot-spot in the town?

Between three hundred and fifty and four hundred homes will be a considerable addition to Grovehill. We want to see proper infrastructure and careful consideration given to utilities, education and health facilities as well as transport, car parking. Unfortunately the latter is no longer grounds to object, despite the fact that car parking is a major issue in towns and villages across the country.

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION

It's absolutely vital that any comments be returned to
Dacorum Borough Council by 17th December 2019.

Happy Diwali 2019Wish you all a very Happy Diwali 

Diwali is one of Hindu's biggest festivals. The word Diwali means rows of lighted lamps. It's a festival of lights and Hindus celebrate it with joy. During this festival, people light up their houses and shops with Diyas (Small cup-shaped oil lamp made of baked clay).

The festival is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains for a variety of reasons, although the main theme which runs throughout is the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil.

Henry Wells Square Resurfacing 2019Well, not quite but the resurfacing work of the square started today.

Last year we told residents that the 2019 budget included funds to resurface Henry Wells Square and that the work would commence later this year. Well. here you are!

Many people won't know that while most roads come under the jurisdiction of Hertfordshire County Council, Henry Wells Square falls firmly with Dacorum Borough Council's remit. DBC's responsibility begins 5 meters into the square. That's why Alex, Julie and Goverdhan have to contact Herts Highways when it comes to pot holes at the egress of the square. Very confusing and unbelievably bureaucratic but there you go.

The plan to do the work has tried to accommodate residents visiting the square and is being done in two parts, thereby allowing cars to park up on the side that isn't full of tar ripping up and laying vehicles.

Henry Wells Square Resurfacing 2019

Harvey inspires us all to keep Grovehill tidy

Many will already know about young Harvey who is determined to keep Grovehill clean and tidy. Pictured above (third in from left in front row), Harvey has inspired many from all over Hemel Hempstead, to join him on his litter-picking ventures across the ward.

With the first litter blitz on 21st September 2019, the group now meets regularly at the Grovehill Youth Centre. Indeed, the second blitz on Saturday 28th September, saw even more followers than the first!

Pictured below is the litter that the team collected on it's first litter picking blitz on 21st September 2019.

Results of first litter blitz in Grovehill

Goverdhan, Julie and Alex are particularly delighted to see so many young people from all over, joining Harvey to help keep Grovehill clean and tidy.

The project however, does cost and the group is constantly looking for sponsorship and donations. In fact, Alex will be approaching Dacorum Borough Council with a view to muster some financial support.

If you’d like to get involved, the group meets every Saturday morning at 9:30 at the Grovehill Youth Centre. Alternatively, you could follow Harvey on Facebook, here or just search for 'The Boy - Keeping Grovehill Tidy'

 

BBC 3CR Peoples Award 2019 - Overall Winner - Derek BaulchOn the evening of Wednesday 25th September 2019, local Grovehill resident, Derek Baulch was awarded the Overall Winner, BBC Three Counties Peoples Award for his relentless work at the Dens Food Bank on the Paradise Park in Hemel Hempstead.

BBC 3CR Peoples Award 2019 - Overall Winner - Derek BaulchPictured above with some of his co-volunteers, Derek says that the award really goes to the whole team. Such humility is obviously one of the reasons he was nominated in the first place!

Derek pays tribute to the other fifty or so people who were nominated with him and was pleased to know that so many people are doing good things in the area, for no reward.

Well done, Derek.

THE LATEST ON HOSPITAL PROVISION
IN WEST HERTFORDSHIRE

New Hospital Campaign 2019

Local health bosses are pushing for most investment in decrepit and crumbling Watford Hospital, a decision that will affect you, your children and your children’s children. They’ll do very little at St. Albans City Hospital and Hemel Hempstead will just become a medical centre.

RESIDENTS HAVE HAD ENOUGH

Over the years, the West Herts Hospitals Trust (WHHT) and Herts Valleys Clinical
Commissioning Group (CCG), have consistently ignored the voices of thousands of
residents demanding robust and future-proof hospital provision across West Hertfordshire. In fact, there’s been no public consultation about this for many years.

A DIFFERENT APPROACH

The New Hospital Campaign is mounting a legal challenge to get them to put a
new A+E hospital on a clear site, that is easy to reach for everyone, back on the agenda.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Legal action will need to be paid for. We need to raise about £20,000.
Since this affects all residents of West Hertfordshire, we’re asking everyone who lives in
the area to consider donating to this cause. At the moment, we have two methods by which you can donate; please either visit our crowd funding page here:

crowdfunder.co.uk/new-hospital-campaign

Or transfer directly to our bank account which has been specifically set up for this:

NAME:DHAG-New Hospital Campaign
SORT CODE:30-80-49
ACCOUNT NUMBER:34945668

Hedgerow between Welwyn Court and Link RoadIn the Spring, Alex, Julie and Goverdhan received several enquiries from residents commenting on the long grass around Grovehill and questioning why grass cutting hadn't started. The truth is that Dacorum Borough Council is trying to save a little money in these challenging times.

It's now September and the tables have turned. Your councillors are now hearing from residents who are quite pleased with the way the area has been maintained this year.

A few weeks ago however, Alex received a request from a resident in Welwyn Court asking if the hedgerow between the Welwyn Court green and the Link Road could be left uncut, thereby providing some more 'green' and potentially reducing the noise from the road. Soon after, Julie also received a similar request froma  resident in Crawley drive.

Julie and Alex immediately followed up these residents' requests and have received a statement back from Dacorum Borough Council.

It transpires that the council maintain the hedge from the Welwyn Court side as the cost of installing traffic management to cut the hedge from the road side is prohibitive. DBC is saying that the hedge will grow between 3 ft and 5 ft per year and while the residents' request seems initially attractive, it may prove a little impractical.

Alex has now requested exact figures on just how long it would take to cut the hedge from the road side and hence, how much it would cost.

Alex has also put forward residents' proposal to look into sponsoring tree planting in the area. If the hedge has to be cut regularly, then perhaps more trees would suffice.