News for 2023

 

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Luton Airport welcomed 13 million passengers in 2022 - including a record number on Christmas Day

The airport had a successful year, as reported in Luton Today.

Christmas Day 2022 was Luton Airport’s busiest on record with 12,000 departing passengers on December 25.

London Luton Airport (LLA) welcomed 13 million passengers last year, including 1.1 million people in December.


Alberto Martin, CEO of London Luton Airport, commented: “It has been an extremely exciting 12 months for London Luton Airport. Our teams have worked incredibly hard to deliver a consistently smooth and friendly passenger experience and this was reflected in the overwhelmingly positive customer satisfaction results that were achieved over 2022.”


This year, the airport will celebrate its 85th birthday and the opening of the new DART (Direct Rail Air Transit) service that will transport passengers between LLA and Luton Airport Parkway railway station. The DART, which was visited by His Majesty King Charles III, will reduce journey times between the airport and over 60 stations.

Restaurants like Nolito, Avalon, and and Yo! Sushi are all due to open in the spring.


Did you enjoy an almost airplane noise free summer and autumn?

Well don’t be  fooled.


The Airport Expansion Inquiry to increase passengers from 18 million to 19 million pa is now under review by three government-appointed independent inspectors following the 8 week public inquiry which concluded mid November. Their report is due to be submitted before the end of February to the Secretaries of State, for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and, separately, Transport with  a decision from Whitehall is expected by late May.


AND a potential increase to 32 miilion passengers.

Luton Rising, the new name for Luton Borough Council’s airport ownership have also confirmed their intention to submit a Development Consent Order application to the government’s Planning Inspectorate by the end of February increasing passenger numbers to 32million pa over the next 20 years. A massive increase in noise and pollution on the way? AND ALL FROM ONE RUNWAY,
















Fortis is the new way to improve fitness. Try a 30 minute high intensity but low impact exercise, personalised to your fitness level. It leaves you with no aches and pains the next day. Also high intensity exercise is scientifically proven to boost mental health.


NOW part of the whole Harpenden Leisure Centre good health experience  managed by everyone ACTIVE.















I spoke to Alan about his thoughts on FORTIS. He explained how  he still exercises everyday but needs to protect his knees from impact stress after all the years playing football at the highest level. And still being very competitive the performance results from the equipment keep him motivated to attain constant high results either individually or within group training. Ron Taylor, Editor.

Jan 16. Football legend Alan Shearer opened the FORTIS area in Harpenden’s  Leisure Centre Gym. ‘HIIT without THE HURT’

Harpenden Leisure Centre

01582 767722

THE HARPENDEN TRUST TAKES ON THE SOUTHDOWN METHODIST HALLS 


The Harpenden Trust is delighted to

announce the acquisition of the

Methodist Church Halls lease in

Southdown, Harpenden. The

Harpenden Trust has been in

talks with the Trustees of the

Southdown Methodist Church

Halls for the past several months

regarding entering into this new

lease with both parties committed

to keeping the halls as a community

asset. 


Covering over 7,300sqft, the halls sit above the Southdown Co-op supermarket and by securing a long lease, the Harpenden Trust has ensured this valuable resource remains available to the Harpenden community for many more years to come. The combination of the Southdown Methodist Church Halls (at No.130 Southdown Road) and the existing Harpenden Trust Centre (at No.90 Southdown Road) means that the Harpenden Trust now has a total of five large halls for hire, ranging in size from 300sqft up to 1,560sqft, available to local residents and community groups. 


The halls will also continue to host and support the increasingly wide range of Harpenden Trust activities. Other office space in the new building will also be made available to local charities and organisations seeking to benefit our community by having a greater local Harpenden presence. Existing hirers at the No.130 Southdown Road halls include various local Girl Guiding groups, Zumba, Ballet, Marquetry, Pilates, Line Dancing, Badminton and Jado Kuin Do groups – and the Trust looks forward to welcoming many more local community focused groups over future months and years. 


Richard Nichols, Chairman of The Harpenden Trust commented: “We are really thrilled to have secured this site for the benefit of our local community for many years to come - enabling local groups and community organisations access to a fabulous building with excellent facilities, whilst significantly extending the Trust’s existing Southdown footprint. Importantly this also provides the Trust with the additional space required to support both our existing and our planned future community initiatives.” 


The enlarged undertaking also prompts a small reorganisation within the Harpenden Trust with the formation of a new “Properties Team” to manage the significantly increased capacity. Alison Neville and her Halls Booking team will take overall responsibility for all bookings across both properties. Sue Grant takes on the role of Facilities Team Leader overseeing the day to day operations with a newly formed small facilities team, whilst Colin Ratcliffe takes on the role of Property Development Officer overseeing a programme of works to improve the existing condition of the building. Julia Pryor will be managing a new team of volunteers to ensure all visitors to the new site receive a very warm welcome. The Properties Team will initially report into Mike Gosling at a Harpenden Trust Board level, as Dennis Andrews has decided this is the appropriate moment to step back as the Trust’s Head of Property. 


Richard Nichols added “We would like to thank Dennis for his huge contribution to the Harpenden Trust in both Property and Company Secretary roles over many years – and we’re delighted that Dennis has agreed to remain a Trust volunteer in a consultancy capacity to support the new enlarged Properties Team.” 


Alison Neville, Head of the expanded Bookings Team at The Harpenden Trust commented: “Given the high demand for hall space at The Trust Centre I am delighted that by extending our hall portfolio we will now be able to accommodate more groups, clubs and organisations bringing a wider variety of activities to the local community. I have been working with the existing hirers at No.130 to ensure that their groups, clubs and classes had continuous hire following the acquisition. We look forward to welcoming new hirers to the halls from mid-February - so, if you are looking for a venue for your activity, whether it be on a regular basis or an ad-hoc event, please do get in contact.”   

Taxis in Harpenden & St Albans District may soon have to accept contactless payments and no longer be cash only

All taxis operating in St Albans District may soon have to accept contactless payments and no longer choose to be cash only.

The proposed rule is intended to improve public safety by ensuring people are not left stranded because they do not have cash.

It comes in response to a growing number of complaints from people who were unable to get a taxi late at night because they only had a card.

Officers from St Albans City and District Council, which licenses taxis within its area, conducted an inspection of taxi activity one night in November last year.

They witnessed a woman at the City’s main rail station being refused a cab four times because she had no cash and could only pay by card.

She was faced with a long walk home in the dark before she finally found a taxi that would take her.

Members of the Council’s Licensing and Regulatory Committee unanimously supported the proposal to oblige taxis to be equipped with card machines at its meeting on Tuesday 17 January.

The machines are able to take contactless payments from mobile phone apps such as Apple Pay as well as bank cards.

A four-week consultation will now be held with the final decision on whether to implement the rule being delegated to a senior Council officer.

Councillor Raj Visram, the Committee’s Chair, said after the meeting: “Many of our licensed taxis carry card machines already, but there are some that still choose not to.

“The Committee felt very strongly that we need to bring in this new rule for taxi drivers to accept contactless payments as soon as possible. It is clear we have the public behind us as there has been an increasing number of complaints about cash-only cabs.

“This new rule recognises that we live in a digital age and will also improve public safety by making sure people are not left in a potentially vulnerable situation by not having cash to pay for a taxi home.

“Our taxi drivers’ representatives were consulted about the proposal and they have accepted the need to move in this direction. It will also be good for their trade as those drivers who choose to be cash only are actually missing a lot of business.”

Hackney carriages can pick customers up from anywhere in the District including designated taxi ranks and from the street after being flagged down.

Those licensed to operate in the District are identifiable by their colours of white with a yellow stripe, the only exceptions being some black London-style cabs.

Private hire vehicles have to be booked in advance for specific journeys.

If the new rule comes into force, drivers unable to take contactless payments will risk losing their licence.

Jan 26. Cessation of work on the Harpenden Public Halls development was confirmed by St Albans District Council on Monday Jan 23.


A meeting of the Regeneration & Business Committee chaired by Cllr Robert Donald confirmed that an accurate valuation of the site would be sought so consideration of a sale of the site to a private developer, in line with planning policy could be discussed and actioned at a future meeting.


The public expectation of a ‘grand design’ concept with much needed homes had been raised back in 2018 with public consultations and meetings, focus group charettes, followed by defined proposals and architectural design concepts. At that time the financial return on the investment was deemed positive.


However the eagerly awaited planning application in early December raised considerable concerns by local residents, adjoining property owners, local groups and even Harpenden Town Council putting the viability in doubt and raising financial risks that the original income forecasts would not now be met.


Council development officers would address the concerns going forward and keep the public informed of progress and the ultimate decision of the sale or otherwise.


Cllr Brian Ellis (District & Town Councillor for Harpenden South )

‘This is an expensive mess. The District Council has spent a very substantial sum on costs only to decide to withdraw its planning application and sell the site. It is very surprising that the Council's development team did not produce a design that could be approved by the Council's planning team. The substantial costs incurred have been for nothing.’


Brian attended the meeting on Jan 24 and reports:

The agreed recommendation (with a late amendment in italics) was:


"Cease work on the Harpenden Public Hall and Spicer Street projects and agree that the officers pursue the option of the disposal of both sites at market rates following consultation with relevant interested parties. In the case of Harpenden Public Halls, the intention would be to try and gain assurances from prospective purchasers that they will provide in line with planning policy the requisite number of affordable homes/apartments that could be managed by a Housing Association in conjunction with Mencap."



Jan 27. Cllr Brian Ellis (District & Town Councillor for Harpenden South ) gives his concerns about the Harpenden Halls situation.

Jan 31. Harpenden’s new Skateboard arena--time to give your views.

Background. Harpenden Town Council and local charity Playground Action Rothamsted Committee (PARC) are continuing their successful relationship with the redevelopment of Rothamsted Skatepark. The partnership has announced the successful bid by Betongpark Ltd, one of Europe’s industry leaders, following public consultation and a recent tender process for design and build of the Skateboard Park. The new Skateboard Park will have a similar footprint to the existing site but, with modernisation and increased accessibility, it promises to be an outstanding free local facility available to all regardless of age or ability.


We are currently hoping to deliver the new skatepark by Summer 2024. The Skatepark will cost in the region of £250,000; the Town Council has committed £100K to the project and the remainder will be raised by PARC through fundraising initiatives. but this is dependent on reaching our funding target.


You can see the designs and complete our survey here. The survey will close at midnight on 19th February. We are also hosting an engagement session, in person, at the current Skatepark on Monday 13th February 3-6pm - everyone is welcome.


Shown below is the whole concept.