Bennetts End Local Councillors
Our local Councillors run a surgery at Bennett's End Community Centre
If you live in Bennetts End and have any issues or something you would like to discuss pop along and see them.
Cllr John Birnie returns to Bennetts End
Some readers may remember that I was previously one of your Bennetts End Councillors from
2015 – 19, before moving to Adeyfield when their sitting Councillor moved away from Hemel. It is nice to be back as one of your elected Councillors, but I have been horrified by the neglect of and degeneration in Bennetts End while I was away.
For example, before I was re-elected here, I was Mayor of Dacorum in 2022 and on my visits to the area, I was appalled by the levels of deprivation that I sometimes came across. In some of the schools that I visited, the really impressive head teachers had even used the school’s own funds to provide free breakfasts because, otherwise, the children had difficulty in concentrating on their schoolwork.
Again, while I was canvassing for the May election, residents constantly complained about youth vandalism. Many also complained about being afraid to go to the Bennetts Gate shops after dark. Worse, I was told by a resident in one of the better off areas of the ward about drug dealing in her street; specifically involving youngsters.
Then, as soon as I was re-elected, I was surprised to be greeted by a resident who had remembered my efforts 4 years earlier to get her defective drains fixed by the Council. She told me that her dining room was still being flooded during heavy rain because an effective repair had still not been completed AFTER 4 YEARS! Sadly, this is not an isolated case and on 27th September at a meeting of the full Council, I was forced to bring the new administration’s attention to a number of Council house repair issues in Bennetts End, three of which have been going on for over one year. The Housing portfolio holder promised speedy action and updates on progress. But I have heard nothing since then.
It is true that a long overdue facelift to our shopping area is about to start, but not to the potholed car parks there or at the Bennetts End surgery either.
Turning to Coronation Fields, we see a nice play area for tots and cricket nets and 2 tennis courts for those who can afford the kit for these games. But what of the less well off youngsters hanging about our streets? There used to be 2 football pitches on this open space - now gone - and there is a solitary basketball hoop standing lonely by itself. However, around the under-used tennis courts there is hard standing enough for a 5 a-side footbal pitch and a proper basketball court. Such facilities would have a dramatic effect on Bennetts End’s bored youngsters. Unfortunately, the chances of getting this kind of investment fom the Council are very slim, despite the fact that more affluent Leverstock Green (which already has scricket club and a full sized football pitch) has recently received £17,898 for new basketball equipment and improved surfacing of its existing facility. Indeed, Levi Green Cllr Bromham (the cabinet member responsible for Neighbourhoods), during a brief visit to Bennetts Gate shops made the perhaps significant observation that the area reminded him of the centre of Soviet era Minsk.
Both your Bennetts End Councillors believe that, for far too long, our ward has been neglected - to the detriment of social cohesion - and we will be pushing the new administration to spend more money on the ward rather than on vanity projects in more well endowed parts of the Borough.