The cricket pavilion that should have been given out first ball

Happy New Year! Apart from resolving to eat less bread and more rice, this year I plan to go about and about in the Dacorum area, picking out examples of the good, the bad and the ugly. One building that constantly catches my eye, and for all the wrong reasons, is the cricket pavilion in Hemel. First of all it’s out of all proportion to its setting. How did that get past the planners? To make matters worse it is plastered in ugly billboards. OK I know these provide much needed income for the cash-strapped club but they are a total eyesore on what should be a rather idyllic picture postcard of English cricket. Buildings should be an inspiration to all who pass by them and work in them. Hemel cricket pavilion should have been given out first ball.

On the plus side I’m told that the building currently going up in the Old Town High street near the Fletcher Way roundabout will have some architectural merit.  If you’re trying to remember what was there before it’s probably because it was a very unmemorable modern white house which, like the cricket pavilion, looked out of keeping with its surroundings. The plans reveal a tall, regency looking building with balconies, very much in keeping with the rest of the Old Town. It will eventually comprise 6 flats.

Cod and chips served with a smile at Redbourn's Sea SaltIf you enjoy fish and chips do try and get over to Redbourn’s fantastic new take-away, Sea Salt. All gleaming stainless steel and futuristic deep fat fryers, this sizzling, shining, dining experience is well worth it. They are queueing into the street to get a taste of  possibly the best cod and chips in the whole world! If you do go there, the portions are enormous. One cod and chips (£5.95) will more than do for two people. There is even enough left for the cat!

Well done to Dacorum Council for their rapid-response litter picking team. Having reported a shed-load strewn along a country lane last week, within 48 hours it was gone. It’s a shame we have to pay people to clear up other’s people’s mess but the penalties for littering are so puny, and the cost of policing so prohibitive, that it’s one of those necessary evils. If you were given a week in jail for dropping litter the streets would be clean overnight and Dacorum would be more than a million pounds better off. That’s what they do in Singapore but in liberal Britain we take a more lenient view.It was good to see so many villagers at the 12th Night party at the Marchmont. There is a real sense of community in Piccotts End and far from being just a hard core of attendants it was encouraging to see so many of the newer residents there as well. Our events secretary Annette Harrison has given the village a new lease of social life!