Dave Degen stated (Town will grind to a halt, Opinion, January 4) that “total gridlock is a real prospect” and just before Christmas, this paper’s headline was “Urgent call to solve gridlock”. Clearly, genuine concern is widespread about Watford’s being a town where overdevelopment is becoming a quality of life issue.

READ MORE: Letter: Town will grind to a halt

Jams will mean that people’s journeys will take longer. It appears that that the all-too-familiar economic permissiveness is starting to harm ordinary people’s quality of life more acutely than before. That great secular deity, the ‘growing economy’ is actually starting to attack a lot of the things that don’t produce profit: important things such as green belt, clean air, and school places, social care and convenient doctors appointments.

Without the Revenue Support Grant, which the Government has axed, local authorities are encouraged to close what were publicly-owned sites such as Wiggenhall Tip and the much-loved (at least by some) Watford Covered Market.

Unelected organisations such as the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership have their feet well and truly under the Town Hall table, influencing local government, setting a ‘developer-friendly’ agenda, and spending large sums of public money while keeping well away from the limelight. What is the result? Watford’s “sense of place” as a town distinct in character from nearby Greater London is mightily on the slide: anonymous residential blocks spring up, and transient populations of ex-Londoners move in, some of them financial refugees of gentrified London ex-council estates. I do not blame them.

My own bug-bear: the huge corrugated iron sheds of Trade City on Thomas Sawyer Way built so close Oxhey Park with all the sensitivity of a house brick. How long before the new road through the park is opened to all traffic? Richard Harrington MP had a go... “Wellbeing” is surely taking a beating.

Within a five-mile radius of Watford, at least a dozen green belt sites are earmarked for housing. The proposal to build over 500 new dwellings alongside Rousebarn Lane, just a stone’s throw from Whippendell Woods, is one of the most insensitive examples. Those who drew up the 1947 Town and Country Planning Act which made green belts possible would wonder where on earth our values and standards have gone.

Clive Jones

Gade Avenue, Watford