Hockerill and air quality – a piece for Parsonage Residents Assoc., Herald

As Mr Ailey’s fascinating www.stortfordhistory.co.uk  tells us, “in 1670, Bishop’s Stortford’s very first bypass had been created and from then on most through traffic used the new route. It created untold wealth and fame for the inns of Hockerill”. Sadly for residents in the 21st Century the once ‘by-pass’ has, as it soon developed from the end of the 17th century, from then on remained, “a principle through route”. The passage of horses and carts, doubtless some leaving noxious odours to weave themselves into those of Stortford’s tanneries and maltings, must have added to somewhat to the air of Hockerill even when passing traffic was speeded on its way by the revolutionary Hockerill Turnpike from 1744 which, created the ‘motorway’ of the 18th century for 28 miles from Harlow to Stumps Cross, a current M11 junction. Those ‘noxious odours’ have for some time taken on a more deadly form since the development of the internal combustion engine and the lack of a new by-pass to the south east to complete an effective ring road around Stortford. Indeed the County’s own air quality management strategy opens with, “Hertfordshire residents are dying prematurely due to local air pollution”. Read the rest of this entry »

Update on the East Herts District Plan, Aug 2016

The future of East Herts until 2033 will be greatly shaped by the new District Plan, now reaching its final draft stages. Here is the current status: 24 District Plan Bulletin 24 – August 25

An access guide specifically for Hertfordshire has been created by DisabledGo, a website developed by disabled people for disabled people.

Access guide to more than 1,000 Hertfordshire venues

Hertfordshire County Council commissioned the guide to showcase detailed access information to more than 1,000 venues and public spaces across the county including shops, restaurants, hotels, leisure centres, museums and children’s centres. The access guides gives you all the information you need to plan your journey to and from each venue and also how to get around once you are there.  It also has pictures of key features like accessible parking and toilets.

DisabledGo representatives visits all venues before adding them to the guides as they believe that a venue which self-reports its access can often miss, overlook or fail to appreciate the reality of the access it provides. Also, while it may be accessible to one disabled person, it may not be for another, depending on individual disabilities.

To access the guide simply type in a place or a postcode to find out its accessibility and if, for instance, there is a disabled toilet, lift or ramp in the locality.

Colette Wyatt-Lowe, Cabinet Member for Adult Care and Health, said: “This is a fantastic tool to help disabled people in Hertfordshire become more independent.”

The guide was launched last month with an introductory session at Welwyn Garden City Central Information Library. To access the guide go to www.disabledgo.com.

“In the blue corner”, August 2016

Momentous changes have come upon us in recent months: a Conservative Govt quickly resolving a change of leadership and a new Prime Minister; Her Majesty’s Opposition in a chaotic meltdown, (not good for democracy and definitely not good for the Labour Party); and of course Brexit, – a democratic decision that perhaps even surprised many Leave supporters. Read the rest of this entry »

“Pokemon Go”

Having become a global sensation in the few days since it launched – the game “Pokemon Go” has attracted concern around the online and physical safety of players. 

If you are a player, or are thinking of downloading, our key advice is to ensure you are aware of how your data may be used and shared, and to be aware of your surroundings when playing.

Online safety experts, GetSafeOnline, have expressed concern around data privacy – and use beyond that which you think you are agreeing to. Your information could be shared with third parties of the developer’s choosing. The game’s privacy policy states that the developer, Niantic, can collect data including your username, location, email address, IP address and the previous web page you were using. It also tracks you as you go: where and when you go, your route, how long you stay, and others playing in the same location.

Other concerns centre on ‘real world’ dangers, with players seeking Pokémon with no regard to the law or their personal safety.  Crossing roads becomes a danger when looking for Pokémon, concentrating on your device rather than the traffic. Colliding with other people or objects like lamp posts is also a hazard. Playing Pokémon GO whilst driving is strictly prohibited.

The NSPCC has also warned of the possibility that predators could lure unsuspecting children to ‘beacon’ locations.

Although the game is free to download, attractive in-app purchases can be made as you progress, so take care that your enthusiasm does not run away with you.

Click on the Link below  for Get Safe Online’s headline advice.

Visit: https://www.getsafeonline.org/news/childrens-safety-added-to-pokemon-go-concerns/

Carers in Herts

The plight of unpaid carers has become a much discussed topic and has been highlighted in Parliament at Prime Minister’s Questions. Unpaid carers are people of all ages who look after family, friends or neighbours. As they are often caring behind closed doors, they are providing a vital, if almost invisible, service to the community. Their role often makes them feel isolated and alone. It is estimated that 1 in 3 of us will have a caring role at some point in our lives. Read the rest of this entry »

Herts County Council Day services are changing – have your say

Hertfordshire County Council wants to hear the views of service-users, their families and carers on options being considered to run day services more efficiently in the future.

We have to make the changes because the amount of money we receive from central government is reducing, so we need to look at different ways of providing support to people that need it and to their carers. The options being considered are those that will have least impact on existing servicer users and their carers and families. Everyone who uses our day centres will still be able to have a place.

Options include:

  • Reducing the costs of catering at some centres;
  • Closing each centre for a week each year, which would reduce the amount of money we spend on paying for staff cover;
  • Making better use of our centres; and
  • Reducing the number of days some centres are open – initially this would only apply to Buntingford – moving from opening four days a week to three days.

Colette Wyatt-Lowe, Cabinet Member for Adult Care and Health, said:

“We are really keen to gather the views of service-users and their families on our proposals, and we’d also welcome any fresh ideas from them about others ways that we might be able to make the savings.

“We want to reassure service-users, their families and carers that everyone with eligible care needs, will continue to receive day services if that is their choice, but the range and type of activities and where they are provided from, are likely to change for some people.

Full details of the consultation are available online http://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/your-council/consult/, and we have sent copies of it to all existing service-users and their carers and families. We will also be holding meetings at our centres – dates will be publicised locally. The consultation closes on Friday 19 August and feedback will be shared with members of the council’s Adult Care and Health Panel on Wednesday 7 September.

Air Quality in Stortford: ‘In the blue corner’, Flyer, July 2016

This month In the blue corner discusses air pollution severe enough that local residents are, “dying prematurely”, (according to Herts County Council’s Air Qulaity Action Plan).

Alice and Humpty Dumpty or, Remain Vs Brexit, BS Flyer – June 2016

Flyer June 2016 The question is

Mental Health Awareness Week, 2016

This week (16 – 22 May) is Mental Health Awareness Week and the theme this year is relationships.  Relationships are fundamental to our health and wellbeing, whether with friends, family or colleagues.  In fact, they are just as important as eating well , staying active and stopping smoking.

Positive and healthy relationships encourage personal growth, provide support, reduce stress and can add more meaning to our life.  Not all relationships are healthy however, some can be negative, empty and destructive and can lead to stress, anxiety and low mood. Learning how to identify the difference between a healthy and unhealthy relationship and developing skills to develop new, or build upon the positive, relationships can contribute greatly to improved mental health.

Here are a few tips for building healthy relationships:

  •   Healthy communication is vital for maintaining relationships – essential skills include: listening, expressing how you feel and accepting the other person’s opinions and feelings (even if they differ from your own).
  •  Compromise – it can make people feel valued and important
  • Manage conflicts when they arise rather than letting them build up
  •  Try to invest more time in building and maintaining good relationships – this could include getting together with your family more often or not checking your phone as much when out with friends
  • If you are in an abusive relationship, seek help from friends, family or professional agencies

For further support and information for all types of relationships visit the Relate website.

Colin Woodward

Postal address
The Old Monastery,
Bishop's Stortford
CM23 2ND

colin.woodward@hertfordshire.gov.uk or colin.woodward5@btinternet.com

Mob: 07919 520034

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The views expressed on this website are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Conservative Councillors' Association or the Conservative Party.