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Winter 2015 Newsletter

At a meeting in September at Roundwood Park Secondary School, arranged by the Harpenden Parents Group, a weighty panel of officials and experts addressed a large audience on the subject of the planned new secondary school. In summary, it was found that, after a further round of consultation, the Common Lane, Batford (Site F) is the only location suitable for the building.

Herts County Council must now buy the land either by successful negotiation with the landowner or, failing that, by compulsory purchase order. It was stated that a sum of £7.5m is available for the purchase of this site and one at Croxley Green. Only when the land is secured – and that might take two years – may planning permission be sought.

Modular designs are available from the national Education Funding Agency and the actual building, it is estimated, would take one year. A £5m budget will also be available for a 'transport mitigator', that is to undertake work that would help solve problems arising from the pupils' travel to and from school.

Secondary School Schedule

Meeting at Roundwood Park school

Keeping Watch

Our regular column of advice from The Society's Community Safety Working Group

Warning about Thefts from Cars

If you have a car with remote locking you probably feel you’ve done all you can to prevent the theft of its contents after you’ve pressed the button to lock it. Not so. Car thieves have equipment which, if they are close enough, allows them to record the information in the radio signal used to lock and unlock your car. They can then replicate it and gain access to your car. Typically, you park at a busy motorway service station, lock the car and go to use the station’s facilities. When you come back your car is still locked, but the contents have gone! There is something you can do to minimise this risk: when parking in a busy public car park always lock and unlock the car only by inserting the key in a door lock.

SADC’s New Charitable Collections Policy

St Albans District Council has adopted a new policy which will apply to those seeking permits to collect money or clothing for charitable purposes. This will include the question of establishing whether a door-to-door clothing collection is a legitimate charitable collection and concerns their interpretation of what is an adequate amount of money going to a charity from a clothing collection.  The new policy is on SADC’s website. To find out whether a house-to-house collection is genuine or if the organisation holds a National Exemption Order email. charitablecollections@stalbans.gov.uk

or phone 01727 819254.



Phone Scams

These reports have in the past highlighted the danger posed by phone scams. An attempted scam concerning a woman in her 90s in Harpenden was foiled on 19 August 2015. According to a police report, early in the afternoon she was called by someone claiming to be from the Metropolitan Police Service. Among other things, they instructed her to withdraw cash from her account to assist a police investigation. A private hire vehicle was sent to her address to collect the money: but the police had already been called. They stopped two people and arrested them. Guidance documents on scam avoidance from Herts Trading Standards can be found by going to www.hertsdirect.org and following the link to ‘Consumer advice’ and then ‘scams’.

Bogus Tradesmen

The police have asked people to call them on 101 (and to speak to DS Pete Hankins) if they have had any dealings with a roofing/gardening firm trading under the name ‘Property Master’ (they use a white Ford Transit bearing the same company name).

We are again indebted to Alan Jackson and his colleagues on the Community Safety Working Group for this very useful service.


Harpenden U3A is Expanding

We are pleased to announce that the fund being raised to place a bench in memory of Richard Thomas in Ambrose Wood has topped £900, so as well as providing for the bench there will be a tidy sum over for Richard's favoured charity, the Prison Fellowship (Bovingdon)

Richard Thomas;  ‘The Bench Fund’

The Harpenden U3A (University of the Third Age) is planning to expand its programme of activities in 2016. It hopes to recruit a bigger membership of older people and offer a wider range of 'interest groups'.

Anyone interested in finding out more – or even feeling ready to lead or organise an 'interest group' - should contact Eric Midwinter, President and now Chairman of the U3A at eric.midwinter@virgin.net or by mail 37 Bloomfield Road, Harpenden AL5 4DD.

Eric Midwinter talking to a U3A enquirer

In the event of delay beyond the hoped for 2017 opening date, temporary buildings might, provided the land had been acquired, be erected or help would be offered by other schools in the SADC area.

It looks like a very tight call.