Good, Bad and Ugly

Our misery has been lifted. There is to be a General Election.

It will be slightly different in Hertford this time as Mark Prisk, our MP for Hertford and Stortford is standing down having served the constituency since 2001.

This is his letter confirming his decision.

You have to speak as you find and to be honest Mark was a great help to me when I was Town Centre Manager.

He attended a breakfast meeting to talk to and answer questions from the town traders.

It was a decision of genius to hold Town Watch meetings at breakfast times. Business people can always find excuses not to be able to attend meetings at coffee time, lunch or after working hours. But offer a free breakfast then they will be there at 8.00am especially if you throw in a guest speaker who has some gravitas.

So thank you Lloyds Bank for sponsoring those breakfasts, Waitrose for the food, Michelle for opening the Waterside Bar and Restaurant and Theresa for turning up early and cooking the food. You could have anything from a glass of orange juice to a full English breakfast with toast, coffee and all the trimmings.

I would recommend this to any trade organisation hoping to get  business people together to meet, chat and generally network (horrible word, but that’s what it is). The key to its success was that local politicians were not invited. And it was free; and in the early morning so they could slip off to their own workplace without any fuss.

When Government cuts hit the rivers and waterways the Lee and Stort Inland Waterways Association as it is now, organised a blockade of the River Lee at Hertford.  It was supported and addressed  by Mark Prisk who joined our own craft to cruise along the Hertford stretch and spoke to all of the residents whose properties bordered the river.

In 2007 with a colleague from East Herts I launched Hidden Hertford. Mark wrote letters to various organisations such as the Lottery Fund and Action For Market towns. His support was invaluable in raising the £32,000 which went to fund all kinds of heritage and community projects.

The Hertford and Stortford constituency is considered to be one of safest seats for the Conservatives. if you are selected as candidate by the local party you are bound to win at the general election and sent to Westminster. It is quite surprising that anyone in Hertford actually bothers to vote at all.

However all is not sweetness and light here. Julie Marson has been selected to stand for the constituency as Conservative candidate. As far as I can ascertain she is not a local woman and has previously lost when standing in various parliamentary seats in south England.

Her selection and the way it happened caused a few ripples amongst the members. It is a bit of a political handbag fight in itself so here is the background.

Update 8 December 2019

Hold the Front Page

Yesterday received a letter in the post from no other than Julie Marson, Conservative candidate for the Hertford and Stortford constituency asking for my vote at next week’s General Election.

Obviously the local Conservatives have not been reading these web pages!

However I note that the address at the top right was Bishops Stortford and I read further that Julie lives in Sawbridgeworth so I apologise if I have slighted her.

Despite the personal approach and a letter personally signed ‘Julie’ I will not be casting my vote in her direction.

Who gets my ‘X’? Unfortunately the Official Monster Raving Looney Party are not fielding a candidate here. So I might abstain or vote for whomever takes my fancy on the day as most of the mainstream parties are already totally raving.

Just when you thought that things could not get much worse with Bircherley Green this has happened.

The riverside service road showing all entrances and exits boarded up
Bus station entrances boarded up

All entrances, exits, door, windows and even gates have been boarded up. What a lovely sight for visitors to be greeted with when coming to the county town.

East Herts Council consistently refused a plethora of applications and amendments from Wrenbridge on the grounds that Bircherley Green was part of the Hertford Local Conservation Area.

But allowing the waiting room to be closed during the winter months, closing the toilets and now letting the place resemble the set of a Hollywood Western makes those claims a bit hollow.

All my previous posts archived here:

By John Barber

John Barber was born in London at the height of the UK Post War baby boom. He had careers in Advertising, International Banking and the Wine Industry before becoming Town Centre Manager in his home town of Hertford. He has been writing professionally since 1996 when he began to contribute articles to magazines on social and local history. His first published book in 2002 was a non-fiction work entitled The Camden Town Murder, a hitherto unsolved murder case from 1907.