The article ‘Artworks up for sale’ (Watford Observer, February 15) provides a belated reply to my unanswered query, published on October 18, 2019, under the headline ‘Where are the books?’. It is the same councillor, Terry Douris, who is flogging off our artworks, who is responsible for our libraries. Doubtless our books have found their way into the hands of dealers, or into the drawing rooms of the councillor’s wealthy friends.

The recent article notes how Cllr Douris and his colleagues have overridden a 1,500 signature petition (of which I, and I suspect many other local people, were unaware). Just as he had stated that our books had become redundant, because of the internet, so doubtless he will argue that works of art are available online, so why does anyone need the originals? He had previously noted as “exciting” the prospect of computers replacing our reference libraries, and now perhaps our art galleries too. The councillor claims 60 per cent of the artworks were “in storage” and one is left to wonder whose fault this was.

As with our books, it appears the policy has been to remove items from public view, then store them in places of limited access. Then it can be claimed that no one sees them, so can then be sold of surreptitiously or otherwise. Sadly, this farrago is not limited to Hertfordshire, and there have been many cases where bequests have entrusted the council with looking after their treasures in perpetuity, with an eye to public benevolence. Regrettably, councillors can no longer be entrusted to fulfil their civic duty in face of “keeping down the rates”.

Michael Kings

Highwood Avenue, Bushey