Misleading information doesn't help good case

PUBLISHED: 11:31 30 July 2009 | UPDATED: 16:05 11 May 2010

In your edition for July 9 2009 you published an article about schoolchildren who had taken part in an organised walk from the Burns Road/York Way Roundabout to Greneway School to show the saving in distance that there will be after the opening of the un

In your edition for July 9 2009 you published an article about schoolchildren who had taken part in an organised walk from the Burns Road/York Way Roundabout to Greneway School to show the saving in distance that there will be after the opening of the underpass.

The information on which the article was based was, presumably, supplied by Hertfordshire county council.

Unfortunately the article contained a significant error by saying "Once the underpass is built, this distance will be halved". This is not true.

I have walked the existing route, with a measuring wheel, and find that the journey was 1.71km, only a slight variation from the children's calculations. However I also walked the route from the York Road/Burns Road roundabout to Greneway School using the route that will be available once the underpass is built. The distance is 1.69km (mapping software was used for the short stretch across the railway where there is no access).

The new underpass will reduce the distance walked by 19 metres. In other words there would be virtually no saving using the underpass. The statement that "the distance will be halved" is, clearly, grossly misleading.

The county council surveyors must have been aware of the correct facts before the information was published (at least, I sincerely hope they were!), so the information must have been given to deliberately mislead the public.

There is a good case for constructing the underpass. It will help many people. But a good case is not helped by publishing misleading information. It is particularly unfortunate that the children of Greneway School were used in this way.

I have written to the county council on two occasions asking them to publish the correct facts but they have failed to do so and have merely asked whether I am trying to discredit the scheme!

What the article could have said quite correctly is that anyone living on the Burns Road estate will find that the distance to Greneway School will be reduced by the construction of the underpass, in some cases by up to 700 metres - about a third of the total distance.

Neil Guttridge

Cherry Drive

Royston

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