March 2017 Update

Dear Residents,

It has been a very long time since my last post in May 2016 and I sincerely apologise for this.

However, it was very important to me to re-establish myself within the Welwyn community before writing on my website. I wanted to have something worthwhile to say and to be able to report accurately on local issues, as well as letting you know in what way I am still working for you, albeit no longer as your Borough Councillor.

During the past 10 months, I have taken on three roles:

  1. Local co-ordinator for Welwyn Neighbourhood Watch (OWL), together with providing administrative support for Welwyn Business Watch.
  1. Member of the Welwyn Parish Plan Group – a project-led, non-political voluntary group which works to maintain the appeal and beauty of Welwyn and Digswell, as well as setting up community projects. Two examples of this are the Community Café, which meets in St Mary’s Church House on Tuesday mornings, and financial support towards the defibrillator outside Barclays Bank, and another which is scheduled to be installed at Welwyn North Station. It keeps a watch on proposed development and the Borough Council’s Local Plan.
  1. Project Manager for the Welwyn Planning and Amenity Group, of which I am now a Committee Member.

The Welwyn Planning & Amenity Group (WPAG) is a Registered Charity, (No. 272277), based in Welwyn. It was formed in the 1960’s as an environmental lobby group, and is managed on behalf of its members by an elected committee of volunteers. The aim of this non-political organisation is twofold: (a) to encourage and coordinate public interest in all issues concerning Planning and Amenities in and around Welwyn and (b) to provide local residents with information on The Committee has two former Borough Councillors, one as its Chairman, and a former Parish Council Chairman, all of whom provide a wealth of experience and knowledge.

Planning: Two WPAG Committee have been members co-opted onto the Welwyn Parish Council Planning & Licensing Committee. WPAG monitors all proposed Planning Applications for their potential impact on the character of Welwyn, and the amenities enjoyed by its residents, working to maintain the continuing protection of the Welwyn Conservation Area.

Amenities: The WPAG takes an active interest in all aspects of life in and around Welwyn including community services, and recreational facilities. It encourages and supports the activities of local Clubs and Societies for whom WPAG publishes their news and programmes of events to its Welwyn Calendar, thereby providing useful information for visitors to its website.

My role as Project Manager of the Welwyn Planning and Amenity Group encompasses research and co-ordination of information directly relating to local issues.

As matters arise that are of concern to the Welwyn area, details will be posted on the WPAG website, together with a summary of queries and/or comments received from residents which relate to specific issues. I will also post updates giving information on progress, resolutions or the failure thereof. I would like to encourage residents to write to me at: www.wpag.org.uk

Current issues are:

  1. Crime and Anti-social Behaviour
  2. Parking and speeding offences
  3. Singlers Marsh

1. CRIME AND ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR

Petty crime and anti-social behaviour are steadily on the increase and can be witnessed on more or less a daily basis. Local shops are experiencing frequent shoplifting by minors, there have been many incidences of abusive and unpleasant behaviour, particularly affecting the High Street businesses and houses in that area. The latest dangerous craze amongst young boys is riding bicycles on one wheel up the middle of the road into oncoming traffic or pedestrians!

The police have been made aware of what is going on. They urge residents to report to 101 each and every incident that takes place, no matter how minor. If it isn’t reported, it didn’t happen!

Please note: On WEDNESDAY 8th MARCH, between 14:00 and 16:00, The Community Safety Partnership will be visiting Welwyn. (High Street Car Park, or in the Civic Centre if weather bad). Crime advice, OWL signups and much more. This will be an opportunity to make the police aware of local concerns and it is therefore really important that as many people as possible come to this event.

NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH: One of the most beneficial aspects of living in Welwyn and surrounding areas has been the low crime rate. This is mainly due to the very close-knit community spirit that exists and how people look out for their neighbours. Maintaining this will help to ensure that Welwyn continues to be a safe and delightful place in which to live, and I would ask any residents who have not already done so to sign up to Neighbourhood Watch OWL (Online Watch Link). This will enable you to receive online messages from the police about incidents throughout the Borough, as well as putting you in touch with local co-ordinators for your immediate area. Feel free to contact me for more information.

2. PARKING AND SPEEDING OFFENCES

Illegal and inconsiderate parking is an ongoing problem, particularly during rush hour periods and school runs. Vehicles are frequently parked on double yellow lines, on corners, on the pedestrian crossing and zigzags. All of these offences create traffic jams and dangerous situations. The perpetrators are breaking the law. The Police and the Borough Council are equally responsible for enforcement but, due to staff and finance cuts, neither organisation is able to efficiently control the situation on a regular basis.

Speeding and driving carelessly through the village are also a matter of concern. Suggestions of a 20mph speed limit on some roads and slow down “smiley face” signs have been suggested by some residents as a possible solution.

3. SINGLERS MARSH

Singlers Marsh with high water level and slight flooding.
Singlers Marsh with high water level and slight flooding.

In April 2017, Affinity Water are scheduled to cease abstraction from the Fulling Mill Pumping Station on Singlers Marsh. Through liaison with Affinity Water and the Environment Agency, I am able to provide residents with the following information:

EA asked their modellers to test the proposed changes in the Singlers Marsh area. These were carried out on an early version of the model therefore the results are precautionary and will be improved with further modelling work. A precautionary approach was also taken with how the interaction between the river and the groundwater was modelled, meaning that the EA approach will overstate the impact. With flood modelling, they think it is always better to over-estimate rather than under-estimate and, with this precautionary approach to modelling, the EA predict that the River Mimram could see a small rise following the sustainability reduction.

The EA’s technical experts have reviewed the initial model results and, at this stage, believe that a negligible increase in flood risk is the most likely outcome but cannot prove or rule out a small effect on flood risk.

The EA are liaising with Affinity Water to provide an interim operating agreement that would mitigate the possible change in risk and are currently making very positive progress towards this.

The WPAG are keeping a close watch on developments; are in regular communication with Welwyn Parish Council and will keep residents notified of any significant information as it becomes available.

As you can see, I have been keeping myself quite busy and am totally committed to my work for the community. Please visit the WPAG website and consider joining this very worthwhile organisation. The membership is a nominal amount which covers the basic running costs of this non-profit organisation.

 

I hope very much that you will continue to follow me on my website and/or on the WPAG one. I will do my best to keep you informed of what is happening in our area.

Your opinions and concerns are of great interest to me, and to the WPAG, so please do not hesitate to let us know via the website.

My plan is to update information as and when necessary. If something arises that may be of interest or concern to the community, I will post this as quickly as possible, not wait for a later date to do so.

Thank you for your continued support; it has meant a great deal to me.

With best wishes,

Sandra Kyriakides

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