June. Massive distribution centre now under way by M1 junction 10. HGV Traffic to increase dramatically.

Wrenbridge Land’s  vision for Newlands Park is to deliver a high-quality landmark gateway development, which would form an employment hub on the edge of Luton. As part of our proposals we will be delivering four high-quality units, with one business unit on the southern parcel and three units on the northern parcel. (See 2 artist’s impressions below)

The delivery of this key employment centre will aid in achieving the goals of the Luton Vison and closing the poverty gap. Newlands Park will help to create an additional 2,500 jobs on and off-site across the local, regional and national supply chain. Moreover, subject to planning permission being granted, the construction of Newlands Park will start immediately, creating a further 450 construction jobs over the course of 20 months. It is our ambition to landmark this important local employment site by drawing public interest and producing a unique identity for Newlands Park, with contributions from talented local artists being showcased across the site. The design of the scheme will be appropriate and fitting and specifically draw on the context and history of the town, it will be welcoming to those travelling into Luton. 


Photo taken June 12,

Image the traffic chaos when the M1 is closed due to an accident and HGV’s travel on the A1081 through Harpenden to reach the Centre.

June 30, BIKEFEST in Harpenden becomes a major event for the Motor Bike world.

A record number of bikers set up on the Common adjacent to the Park on Sunday, with 1,000 attendees.

Supporting the event were loads of hospitality vans providing a vast array of foods and drinks.

Another big event tp add to the Harpenden calendar.

"Hustings for the Future was an event for 16-25 year olds living in Berkhamsted, giving them the chance to meet the candidates vying for their vote in this new constituency.

The evening was organised by local citizen Sarah MacLaren who believes passionately in engaging young people in politics and helping them to stay well-informed about their choices.

More than 150 people attended the event at Rothamsted Conference Centre on the evening of Friday June 28th, and all key candidates attended, including Victoria Collins of the Liberal Democrats, Nigel Gardner of the Conservatives, Paul do Hooest of the Green Pary, Mark Patten of the SDP and a representative of the Labour Party, James Salway


Young people had the opportunity to ask their questions in person or submit them anonymously on the night, and more than 40 questions were put forward. 

Over the course of one and a half hours, the debate which covered a range of topics from Brexit, how to tackle misogyny and hate crime, voter age and advice on how young people can get involved in politics and climate change.

There was an impressively detailed and honest discussion about tactical voting in this constituency. 

At all times the debate was engaging, civilised and respectful, and shows very clearly that the young people in this community are engaged and informed and will use their votes with care and wisdom."

What do the younger generation want from politicians for their future, ahead of the General Election on July 4th?

July 17. Oakman Inns had their appeal for a new Pub with rooftop restaurant on the Harpenden High Street (Above) rejected by the Planning Inspectorate.

A wide variety of reasons were given: Excess noise to local residents; unappealing structure in a Conservation area which would not preserve or enhance the area; delivery issues; rooftop location would result in unacceptable  harm to the more placid character at the rear of the building.

Having been empty for over two years the site will continue to reflect badly on the ever growing empty sites on the High Street.

HTC and other local organisations like the Harpenden Society have been supportive on the planning rejection.

We await a decision from Oakman on their future intentions.


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.

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)

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.



Phone: 07766072772

Free deliveries in Harpenden, St Albans and surrounding villages

How do Banking Hubs operate?

A recent example shown

below give you an example

of what to expect in Harpenden.


Cottingham will be only the fourth branch to open ( Dec. 9) in the UK after the opening of a hub in Brixham in Devon earlier in November.

The new hub is a face-to-face facility that will allow customers to access their account, deposit cash and cheques, pay bills and make withdrawals.

Photo below.

A counter service will be operated by staff from the Post Office, whilst selected banks will also provide community banking advisors, initially from five banks, on rotation to offer specialist advice and handle more complex enquiries on a drop in or appointment basis.

The schedule for community bankers is listed below and is based on local market share to reflect the needs of customers within the hub catchment area with each firm paying towards the hub’s running costs.:

Monday - NatWest Tuesday - to be confirmed  Wednesday - Lloyds

Thursday - Santander  Friday - Barclays

A retired Bank Manager from Harpenden asks questions about a Banking Hub in Harpenden.

What is it we want and why?

The hub bandwagon is picking up pace, the answer to the last bank closing in a town!  We need to look at the banking situation to-day, not fond memories of yesteryear, technology and society have moved on. Before joining the “yes” crowd I have a few questions:-

What services does a hub offer, full cashier service, cheque & cash, either depositing or withdrawing?

Will it open 1 day a week only for each bank included in the hub, as I believe happens?

Will a cashpoint machine be available for all bank customers, with no charge, and operate outside banking hours?

What about answering other banking questions, will a senior clerk be available?

Who will benefit from a hub, as we move to a cashless society, with card payments and direct payments available?

Finally how busy are the existing hubs already set up, what is the footfall?

Please let me know, at least some of the answers, to enable me to come to a meaningful conclusion.

Retired Bank Manager.

Derek French’s response to the retired Bank Manager  about BANKING HUBS

Harpendia's description of the Brixham and Cottingham Banking Hubs answers most of "Retired Bank Manager's" questions but as an acknowledged expert I can address some of the others.

In the larger towns over 15000 population, Harpenden at 31000 and with village hinterland 43000, is clearly in that bracket, demand for counter services is too much for a post office shop but not enough to justify 6 individually branded branch banks remaining open at significant cost. Whatever our age and digital familiarity we all have from time to time a banking administrative issue that is best dealt with face to face with someone qualified from our own bank and a full Banking Hub as described provides for both of these need types. 

The footfall and usage of both types of service in the existing Banking Hubs is more than sufficient to justify the presence which meets demand from all age segments as identified in the Accenture research reported on the Express's front page on Easter Monday. Improvements to the Hub's offering are being reviewed in the light of usage experience and for example provision of an external ATM is being discussed. The first Hubs are managed by Post Office Limited - quite separate to a franchised post office shop like WH Smith in Harpenden - but only because initially the only potential provider with a system that links all banks for deposits and has its own cash infrastructure is the Post Office: that may  change in the future. 

Harpenden Town Council's  very good application has gone in but the present voluntary scheme, introduced to pre-empt legislation, dictates no Banking Hub will be considered until the last bank in town announces closure which Barclays have yet to do and even the presence of Nationwide Building Society, despite its absence of provision for local businesses and other organisations, could pose a block on a full service Banking Hub being provided. The legislation, now nearing the end of its parliamentary process, still lacks the essential "in-person" line although our MP and others are apparently pressing for this to be included. 

The art of pottery making can be such a joy.

by Ron Taylor (Editor)

Did you know there’s a Pop Up Pottery every

Wednesday in Harpenden.

A permanent studio with kiln, clay making and

paints - all the elements to enable you to

discover your creativity whilst making friends

with other potters of all levels.

AND be guided by Trevor Withers (right) and

Gill Winsley who run the studio with a group

of helpers on behalf of the Network Church.

You’ll learn how to mix the clay, shape it on

the pottery wheels, or build things by hand

as well as decorating your finished item, and

so completing your very own work of art.

The Pottery is open from 4 - 6pm (primarily for Families and 7- 9 pm for adults.

You will need to book an appointment to ensure availability.

I called in recently and was most impressed with the set up watching a mixture of ‘potters’ at work on various stages of their creations.

Some people participate for the sheer joy of working with clay and glazes, others for the therapy it brings by being involved in a creative process and mixing with other like minded individuals.

Course leader Trevor Withers is a pastor of the Network Church which believes in a creative God, who made people in His image, therefore to also be creative. In many people that spark has been buried and extinguished by the weight of life. ‘We'd love to help you find it again!’ said Trevor.

The Pottery is set in the grounds of YWAM at the Oval so is easy to find and there’s plenty of free parking. Please contact info@networkchurch.org to book a space.

The Harpenden Trust have given their support, which has enabled the purchase of new wheels and other equipment.

Trevor Withers has written some thoughts here about creativity and theology, You can also download or view the following information in their Values Booklet PDF (English)

September, Local journalist Charlotte Bateman investigates Charity Shops in Harpenden

Volunteer drivers needed to help transport members of our community

For over 50 years, the charity Harpenden Helping Hand has supported anyone living in Harpenden, who needs assistance with task such as shopping and transportation.

They are currently looking for more volunteer drivers to join their team.

As a driver, you will be making a huge difference to people's lives.

You can offer to do as many journeys as you wish at times that are convenient for you.

Experienced drivers of all ages are most welcome.

If you or somebody you know may be interested, find out more at harpendenhelpinghand.org.uk or email secretary@hhhand.org.uk including your name, address, and telephone number.