Harpenden news reports. 2021/2020

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My wife and I were privileged to have a private viewing of the panels in February this year. They are incredibly beautiful and still in remarkable condition for their age.

A single image can change the face of History

Portrait imagery was the key aspect of the programme. Images whether painted or photographed could have an incredibly powerful influence on the population. Examples featuring Winston Churchill, Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Victoria, and Margaret Thatcher were used to demonstrate this power. Clever or deceptive dependent on your personal position.

Saving the Cottages for the Nation

The current owner, Ms Murphy, from Hertford, explained that she and business partner Alison Wright bought two adjoining cottages, which house the mural between them, specifically to find a way for the paintings to be brought into public ownership.

"The panels should be in the care of the nation - we are committed to finding a way of doing it."

"They are so rare that the paintings must be preserved for both present and future generations, as a sign of those past beliefs and turbulent times," he said.

"We have been pursuing this aim for a number of years and have now launched a public appeal as the only way to preserve them for posterity."

The owner added that if the money couldn't be raised, they would have to apply for a change of use to residential.

Hopefully Simon Schama’s programme will awaken the local Herts authorities to take action now.

Ron Taylor. Editor. Harpendia.com

Hemel’s hidden treasure featured by Simon Schama on BBC TV’s ‘The Face of Britain’ Wed Sept 30

Simon Schama visited Piccott’s End Cottages to show an important aspect of the history of British portraiture, revealing some beautiful and compelling images that demonstrate their eternal power.

Defacing religious paintings

The cottages in Hemel were a resting place for Pilgrims on their journey from Ashridge to nearby St Albans Abbey in the 1530’s. The interior wall panels had been painted extensively with religious murals reflecting imagery of the Christ, the Virgin Mary, and Saints. Scenes include Jesus's baptism, St Catherine of Alexandria, St Peter and St Margaret. During the Reformation the faces of Jesus, Mary and the Saints were obliterated (defaced- see below) to make the images powerless in the sight of anyone who visited the cottages. At some time post Reformation the panels were covered by linen and NOT seen again until 1953.


Lots of information is available via the SADC consultation web site. You have to be registered and then trawl through the hundreds of comments made by commercial organisations and residents. Additionally several ‘gems’ of information were shown (briefly) at The Harpenden Society public meeting on Feb 4 at Rothamsted Conference Centre. My reports starting today (March 2) will be revealed during the coming weeks.

The maps below show the Legal and General proposals for 500 homes and  a new primary school.

How did this expensive proposal or ‘Masterplan’ become a ‘live’ option. Find out in more revelations soon. Ron Taylor. Editor.


Residents will be encouraged to walk and cycle via the routes on the map which are going to be improved.

So what happens with all the new cars being added to already congested roads?

The 500 homes development above is not sacrosanct .

A survey has revealed a large number of small scale sites around Harpenden that could be utilised. Another developer has plans for a 50 home site.


Legal & General have huge land interests in NW Harpenden and south Beds (see map below) They have submitted their concepts to SADC (See part letter below) for the yellow area on the map with detailed plans later on this page.


1,000 plus homes could be built by Cen Beds to cope with Luton Housing shortfall in the PINK area of the map-almost in Harpenden, ON LAND OWNED BY LEGAL & GENERAL. READ THE EMAIL BELOW (EXTRACTS) TO SADC EXPLAINING THEIR REQUIREMENTS

How can the 948 Sports Foundation help Harpenden schools. associations, clubs and individuals?

Read the article below.

Would you like to shape the future NHS services and buildings which are designed to improve your experiences as a patient or carer?    NOW CLOSED

The Harpenden Society have been assessing the implications of

YOUR CARE YOUR VIEWS -West Hertfordshire Acute NHS Trust’s

public information initiative concerning the distribution of services for patients after the rebuilding on the Watford site and upgrading of the St Albans and Hemel Hempstead sites is completed.The Trust wish to take the opportunity offered by the capital programme to rationalise and improve patient care.

Residents are invited to submit their views via a survey which can be completed via:


Details of the TRUST’s proposals are contained in the recently released ‘YOUR CARE YOUR VIEWS’ Document -  which you can read by visiting their website www.westhertshospitals.nhs.uk/about/redevelopment/yourcareyourviews.asp

The main changes relevant to Harpenden

residents are:
1. Improved diagnostic services -MRI/CT

scanning at St Albans City Hospital,( SACH).

2. Improved planned surgical services at SACH

  1. 3.Centralisation of outpatient services for

  2. 4.gastroenterology and endoscopy at SACH

  3. 4.Centralisation of outpatient services for

  4. 5. diabetes and endocrinology, respiratory

  5. 6. medicine, rheumatology, cardiology,

  6. 7. neurology and dermatology at Hemel

  7. 8.Hempstead.


The Society has asked the Trust to carefully

consider the impact on Harpenden residents who need to travel to their appointments by public transport, as there are no direct bus services between Harpenden and Hemel Hempstead.

Have your say on Luton Airport flight path changes that could be introduced in 2022. CONSULTATION NOW CLOSED

Less noise or more noise - subject to where you live.

The consultation (co-sponsored with air traffic control provider NATS)

proposes a new aircraft hold for Luton Airport above the St Neots and Huntingdon area, along with separate routes "further out and higher up". This is to ensure its operations don’t clash with Stansted which shares the same air space.

There are 2 options:

Option one focuses upon higher altitude arrival routes from the new hold, with the latest air navigation technology (Performance Based Navigation - PBN) at altitudes of around 8,000ft and above to separate Luton's arrivals from Stansted’s.

Option two  described as the "preferred" choice, offers the same but with added "pre-determined" routes spread out to wider areas outside Luton. Areas affected by the proposed changes include parts of Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire and Suffolk.


An online postcode tool (available here https://www.nats.aero/vr/ad6/static-postcode-lookup) allows anyone in these areas to see what the changes may mean.

How to respond

The most effective way to provide your feedback is to complete the online survey, at the CAA’s airspace change website .

Responses are moderated by the CAA and then published for transparency.

Responses are not accepted via email - please use the online survey.

Paper responses can be accepted. The downloadable Consultation Document contains a printable survey form and the postal address. Posted responses will be added to the CAA's online survey by our dedicated staff.

Your feedback is important to us. Please complete the online survey.


This consultation CLOSED ON February 5, 2021.

Luton Airport and NATS expect to submit a formal proposal for the Civil Aviation Authority’s consideration this Summer, 2021. They want to hear from all interested parties and stake holders.

If you like Brioche style bread then CHALLAH from Zuckermaus will be a new taste experience.

It’s made from enriched dough with sesame seeds and poppy seeds giving a light crust with a soft texture inside. Toast it and spread with butter for a taste sensation.(Challah is fixed in Jewish cuisine being eaten on ceremonial occasions and holidays)



Phone: 07766072772

Free deliveries in Harpenden, St Albans and surrounding villages

The range of cakes from Zuckermaus Artisan Bakery is pretty amazing as you will have seen on earlier reports.

This  time it was another test for my taste buds.

Starting with Cinnamoned Apple cake. This had 2 layers of Bramley apples encased in a dairy free cake glazed with apricot jam.

Next to taste was Austrian Applestrudel. Homemade filo pastry, bramley apple slices marinated in cinnamon, sugar, flaked almonds and raisins. Warm it in the microwave and serve with custard or cream.

Finally and my favourite,  Linzer cake, named after a town in Upper Austria. Ground almond, cloves and cinnamon in the base with a layer of red currant jam, topped with a pattern and flaked almonds. Very like Bakewell tart.

Local charity receives funding from Harpenden Building Society to help combat Covid-19 challenges


February 5th, 2021. Trinity Community Project, a St Albans based charity offering day services and opportunities to people experiencing mental health issues, or living with a learning disability, has received a grant from Harpenden Building Society to help fund its ongoing community work.

The charity encourages its members to participate in a range of social activities run from its day centre, or out in the community. The sessions offer choice and promote people skills, independence and self-confidence, whilst maintaining dignity and safety. Activities include peer support groups; drama workshops; arts and crafts; cookery; chair yoga and relaxation sessions.

During the pandemic, the project has adapted its services and their delivery to meet the latest government guidelines often needing extra staff to meet these requirements. When Covid-19 restrictions have postponed normal day centre activities, Trinity staff and volunteers have provided socially distanced ‘door step chats’ and telephone contact to ensure the group’s members remain connected.

Harpenden Building Society is providing funds to help run these, and wider adapted services, ensuring the new requirements related to social distancing and new operational standards are met.

In addition to helping with increased staffing costs, Harpenden will also fund the purchasing of tablets to allow volunteers to teach Project members basic computer skills and introduce them to online resources such as activity packs which can be accessed from home. The donation will also fund a future collaboration between the Project and Trestle Arts providing drama workshops which will help attendees to explore, understand and support the mental health impact that lockdown may have had on them.

Sheila Knopp, spokesperson for Trinity Community Project commented: “We rely heavily on grants from corporate donors like Harpenden Building Society to help fund our existing, expanded and future work - we are incredibly grateful to them. Making sure the activity costs are kept as low as possible for those attending is key to keeping them involved, subsidies from grants help enormously.”

Sarah Howe, Harpenden Building Society’s CEO added: “We are delighted to support the excellent work of this local day centre initiative. We have a long standing relationship with Trinity Community Project and applaud all they are doing to support their members in St Albans and surrounding areas, particularly in these pandemic times when it’s increasingly possible to feel isolated.”

If you represent a charitable trust, company or are an individual who would like to make a donation to Trinity Community Project please get in touch by emailing: trinitydaycentre@gmail.com

 Photo credit: A volunteer assists a Trinity Community Project member in a house plant activity


Great news for Gin lovers...

Harpenden now has its own Gin...

made by a local business with

local ingredients.

Before you buy, find out more...

I asked the owners for some background.

  1. 1.When did you launch Harpenden Gin

and what makes it different in a crowded

market place?

We launched Harpenden gin just before Christmas and it's been gradually building up sales - people are slowly discovering we exist and getting excited about trying their local gin!

What sets us apart is our local grounding. As well as being branded with Harpenden imagery, this gin uses literal pieces of Harpenden as its botanicals. Angelica root, an essential gin ingredient, is foraged from the river at Batford Springs, along with fragrant meadowsweet. In the ancient oak woodland of the Common, we pick sweet woodruff to give the gin a creamy hint of vanilla and mown hay. That's what makes the gin local - we have to be fully in touch with the local landscape and seasons to make it.

2. What experience do you have in the Drinks market?

Spirit of Herts is owner Richard Daniel and distiller Richard Osmond. Richard Osmond has a background in wild plant foraging and the brewing industry so he's well up to the challenge of finding new and exciting flavours in the wild and processing them into top quality gin.

Richard Daniel's experience in the drinks market is that of a lifelong passionate consumer...

3. What can you recommend as Spring drinks with your gin?

My favourite spring gin drink is a gin and cloudy apple juice with a dash of sharp sorrel juice, or lemon juice if you don't want to go foraging. The apple juice goes especially well with the vanilla-cinnamon notes of sweet woodruff in the Harpenden gin to give a flavour almost like an apple strudel. To make the drink extra springlike, cut a green straw from the hollow stem of a cow parsley plant. Every sip will have a green celery-like freshness...

4. How can you buy it and costs?

At the moment it's only available from us directly at our website www.spiritofherts.co.uk. Prices are £18 for 200ml, £39 for 500ml or £49 for 700ml. So it pays to buy big!

March. Harpenden Trust thanks community for record breaking Appeal total


The Harpenden Trust today announces

that thanks to the generosity of local

residents and businesses, the total for

its annual Care Fund Christmas Appeal

stands at just under £65,000 – more

than any other year previously.


Over the past year, donations to the

Harpenden Trust’s Care Fund have

enabled the Trust to help the community

in a wide variety of ways. These include

setting up the Harpenden Cares Contact Centre to answer over 2,000 calls for Covid-19 Pandemic support and assisting over 12 local GP practices with delivering Oxygen monitors to local residents. In addition, the Trust has provided financial and practical support to over 565 local families, utility grants to over 80 local residents on low pensions and given befriending support to over 70 people in need of it – a number that continues to rise.


The annual Christmas Appeal is the main fundraising opportunity for the Harpenden Trust’s Care Fund. However, Covid-19 restrictions over the past year have meant that traditional fundraising activities, such the door to door collection, were not possible, making the Appeal total even more remarkable.


Richard Nichols, Chairman of the Harpenden Trust, said:


“On behalf of the Harpenden Trust I would like to sincerely thank the Harpenden community for their extraordinary generosity. To find out that our total for this year is more than we have ever raised before in an Appeal, in a year which has been difficult for so many, is incredible. The money raised will make a real difference to supporting those most in need in our community.”


“There is a lot of work that goes into organising and supporting our annual Appeal so I would also like to thank Lynn Kennedy, our Appeal Director and her senior team of volunteers, together with all the Area Organisers and Street Collectors who have worked tirelessly this year in such challenging circumstances to bring the Appeal to life.” Richard continues.


The Appeal also benefitted from generous donations from many local businesses, as well as support from Jelleys, Totals Looks, Barclays, Santander, Sainsbury’s and the Goode Kitchen as donation drop off or collection points.


As restrictions lift, the Harpenden Trust will also seek to reinstate their popular coffee mornings and outings for various sectors of the community, including seniors and families.


As well as the activities of the Care Fund, the Harpenden Trust is also currently playing a key role in the community in supporting the local GPs surgeries in organising the rollout of Covid-19 vaccinations in Harpenden.

May 11. Here’s the response from the


conducted in March:

At the heart of plans for all three sites is the move

towards ‘one stop’ clinics. These are appointments

where as many steps of treatment as possible are

arranged within one visit.

A significant investment in diagnostic equipment at

each hospital is on the cards so that patients can have test results without waiting and move on to planning their next stage of treatment – if needed – immediately.

The survey, which was completed by just under 1,700 people, asked patients to rank a range of issues in order of importance.

At the top of this list was the ‘one stop’ model with ‘diagnostic tests and services available at the same time and in the same place, reducing the need for patients to visit hospital several times (e.g., have a scan and then see a consultant in the same visit)’, closely followed by ‘more on-site hospital parking and transport links’ and then the need for ‘new buildings that improve the experience for patients and visitors, including more single room wards, more green spaces, and better on-site facilities’.

Deputy Chief Executive, Helen Brown said: “Making the most of our patients’ time at our hospitals really matters, which is why we place such an emphasis on the ‘one stop’ model which will save numerous trips and remove time waiting for results. We were pleased to see that this is something that our patients also hold dear.”

She added: “The feedback from the survey also underlined what we had heard loud and clear already – there are concerns around travel to hospital. We hope to reduce the burden by converting appointments to online, where this works for patients, to provide a range of care locally and by combining as many steps of treatment into one appointment where possible. However, with some locations for more specialist services changing across our three sites, it is important to understand where we can address worries about getting to and from all of our hospitals.”

The trust is setting up a travel and access reference group for local people who want to work with the trust on access to its three sites. If you would like to express your interest in joining this group please email westherts.redevelopment@nhs.net.

A new multi-storey car park, which is set to open next spring, will improve parking at Watford General Hospital.

In terms of the need for new buildings, which was also highlighted as a key issue, the trust is approaching completion of an outline business case which will be submitted to the government this autumn to bid for funds.

Its plans include for each of the hospitals to have a more clearly defined role. Emergency, inpatient and complex care will remain at Watford; Hemel Hempstead Hospital will be the centre for planned medical care and long term conditions and St Albans City Hospital will be the centre for planned surgery and cancer care. Urgent care services and some outpatient services will be provided at all three sites.

Diagnostic facilities will be significantly upgraded at all three hospitals and the latest digital technology will be incorporated.

Phase two of the engagement programme begins next week. Chief Medical Officer Mike van der Watt said: “We’d like to thank all those who took part. Our engagement enabled us to join community meetings across west Hertfordshire and we are very grateful for the invitations and warm welcome. We are also pleased to see that our public meetings, which were led by senior clinical staff, have had more than 1,000 views.”

Recordings of engagement meetings can be found here.

Phase two is about to begin with virtual meetings taking place at which anyone can attend. Our clinicians and redevelopment team will be sharing the feedback from the survey and explaining more about our next steps for the programme.

Sustainability Festival will have

lasting impact on Harpenden.

The Organisers of the 2021 Sustainability Festival

are celebrating a hugely successful 2 weeks of

sustainability events and say that it will have a

lasting impact on the district. Over 170 events

were held across St Albans, Harpenden and

villages between 23rd May and 6th June, many

of which took place in Harpenden.

Nicola Wyeth, from the Sustainability Festival

organising group, said:

“The Sustainability Festival has been a huge success. Many Harpenden residents enjoyed events online and in person, learning about how easy it is to make small changes to our lives to live more sustainably.”

The second week of the festival saw some well-attended events in Harpenden.

All Saints Church hosted a bug-hunting afternoon entitled “Wonders Great and Small” where children looked for minibeasts in the church garden, while also hunting for mosses, lichens and grasses.

Harpenden Town Council’s Harpenden Scavenger Trail was very successful with dozens of participants over the two days. Families collected a trail map from outside park hall and followed it around the town centre and out onto the common, exploring wildlife features of the town and learning about the local green spaces.

Other events held in Harpenden included Hornbeam Wood Hedgehog Sanctuary livestreaming “Helping Wild Hedgehogs” on Saturday 29th May.  St John’s Church held a special Environment Day service on Sunday 6th June followed by a litter pick on the Common.

Some SustFest21 talks and activities are still available to enjoy via recordings or trail downloads on the website. Watch Professor Kate Jeffery of UCL talk about Climate Change or follow the link to the Bethany Church or Rothamsted Research Sustainability Festival trails. Visit https://sustfest.org.