September was busy; particularly with paperwork! I am afraid there are no photos this month, just quite a lot to read – but I hope you will find it interesting.
Attended WHBC Development Consultation Forum at Campus West. It was a very interesting evening; the first item on the agenda outlining the proposed redevelopment of the Mount Pleasant Depot, the new dwellings, open space and associated works. Discussion was lively, with particular interest in public safety and the environment. The second project to be discussed was the proposed phased development of the University of Hertfordshire Student Residences. This project was well presented and I was excited by the amount of professionalism, thought and care that had gone into this proposal.
Spent all day replying to emails concerning the proposed residents parking permit scheme in Prospect Place, Welwyn, and also responding to complaints about missed bin collections. I received a complaint from a resident in St Mary’s Close concerning the fact that overgrown brambles and weeds from the churchyard had encroached into her garden and were now destroying all her rose beds. She said she had complained in the past, but had been ignored.
In the morning I collected some printed leaflets from a printer in WGC and delivered them to a member of the Welwyn Parish Council. I called in to the house in St Mary’s Close to see the problem brambles for myself; the situation was bad. I then emailed the Church Secretary and the Welwyn Parish Council and, once responsibility for this problem was established, it was agreed that the work would be done to rectify it as soon as possible.
Later that afternoon, I attended a Board Meeting of the Benslow ILS Charity in Hitchin, of which I am a Governor.
I spent the morning on the computer and in the afternoon took some papers round to Welwyn County Cllr Richard Smith on the Parkside trees problem.
A very early start, and into London to attend the New Councillor Roadshow, organised by the East of England Local Government Association. Running up the steps at Westminster at 9.00am I thought there must have been a terrorist attack, or a bomb scare! Helicopters were flying overhead, police cars, fire engines and ambulances were in abundance, and all traffic was at a standstill. There were a couple of men standing by the railings of The Houses of Parliament next to me. I asked what had happened and found that one of them was very shaky and upset. Apparently a man had run head on into his bus, cracking the windscreen with the impact (which I could then clearly see). The driver (to whom I was speaking) thought he had killed the man. However, the man then picked himself up and rushed onto Westminster Bridge and threw himself into the River Thames. The river was high and fast flowing and boats were already searching, but to no avail. I tried to console the bus driver up by reminding him that he hadn’t killed anyone; that the man had not died under the wheels of his bus, but had drowned himself. The whole episode was quite surreal and it felt very strange to then walk into a normal conference room and carry on with my day!
The Seminar for new councillors was excellent. It was very informative and I learned a lot, as well as meeting councillors from other regions in the East of England. There was a lot to absorb and the opportunity to exchange views and ideas. One point that was impressed upon us, which I have always had in my mind since standing for election: “Councillors should remember that they were elected to work for their ward residents, not for their Borough Council, and they should remember that their loyalty lies with the electorate.” I sometimes feel that some long-standing councillors should be reminded of this!
That evening I attended the British Legion Dinner at the Gosling Stadium, also attended by the Mayor, and other RBL supporters from WHBC.
In the afternoon I had further meetings concerning the Parkside situation with Estates and Environment officers at WHBC.
I went to visit the sites for the forthcoming Planning Control Committee meeting in Lemsford Village, Harmer Green Lane, Two Oaks Drive and Hillside Way. That took up most of the afternoon but was very well worth the trouble. I do not feel at all justified in voting on a Planning Panel if I have not looked at the properties that are being discussed. The outcome matters a lot to people and the least we can do is to be as well informed as possible.
Paperwork during the day, then Planning Control Committee meeting at Campus West in the evening. After the meeting I attended the Private View of “MEMORIES” an Exhibition in the Maynard Gallery, staged by Ken Wright, of photographs of Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield from the 1950’s through to the 1980’s, together with displays in the cabinets by the Welwyn Garden Heritage Trust and the Hatfield Local History Society. It was a fabulous display, giving a true “feel” of how life must have been in those days.
More paperwork during the day and a site visit to Parkside to check up on something. In the evening I attended the launch of the Herts Jazz Festival at Campus West. The programme “Echoes of Ellington” was excellent and I loved every moment, and I think that feeling was shared by the Mayor and my fellow Councillors who were seated around me. I am proud that Hertfordshire has such a fantastic Jazz Festival and hope that it will continue to have lots of public support.
I held my monthly Surgery at St Mary’s Church, Welwyn, in conjunction with Conservative Cllr Mandy Perkins who agreed with my suggestion that it would be a good idea for us to work together for the benefit of the village wherever possible. Questions on parking were raised during the Surgery and towards the end of the session, County Cllr Richard Smith called in to talk to us about our proposals for solving the current problems in Parkside.
I attended the WHBC Annual Civic Service at Panshanger Church, Welwyn Garden City in the afternoon.
Meeting with PC Ben Satchfield to discuss local issues at 10:00am. Most of the day was spent on the computer and paperwork and requests from Welwyn residents on more information about the parking proposals , together with complaints about missed bins in School Lane. At 5.00pm I met up with a tree specialist and Cllr Richard Smith at Parkside to seek his advice on certain trees and his recommendations on the best course of action concerning them.
Complaint from resident of Ayot St Lawrence about missed bins over last 3 weeks. I phoned the appropriate departments at WHBC re the missed bin collections and called/emailed back to the residents. I also received a query about the possibility of putting up a new road sign on the Danesbury Estate to try to avoid the amount of traffic that goes there by mistake and has to turn around again in a restricted space, causing damage to lights, lawns and other vehicles. This request involves Herts CC as well as WHBC, to who I have passed the details and will follow up in due course.
Phoned officers again about missed bins in Ayot St Lawrence and reported back to resident. At 12:00pm I joined the WHBC/Community Housing Trust “Walkabout” survey in Hawbush Rise, and adjacent roads. Complaints lodged were concerning houses and gardens, overgrown trees that hung too low over pavements causing difficulties for pedestrians, salt boxes, dog bins, uneven paving slabs, grass verges and inconsiderate car parking. There was also concern about speeding traffic. The WHBC & CHT officers who attended were very helpful and efficient and will doubtless deal with the majority of the issues raised to the best of their ability. I have taken up a couple of matters to pass on to the appropriate departments at Herts CC and WHBC and will follow up on these in due course.
Caught up with outstanding emails and paperwork, plus a quick visit to WHBC Campus East to get some information.
A meeting of the Independent/Lib-Dem Group at Campus West to discuss the agenda for the forthcoming Full Council Meeting.
Emails in the morning. 3.00pm a meeting at Campus West with Kate Turner and James Stone of Lands Development, who are project managing the proposed development at The Frythe in Welwyn. The meeting was at their request, in order to bring me up to date on the revised application and to answer any questions that I might have concerning this. I was accompanied at the meeting by Mr Ron Oxley of Welwyn’s Planning and Amenities Group. I found Lands Development’s presentation interesting and professional but explained that I was unable to give my opinion of the project or my feelings concerning it in any way as I was a member of the Planning Control Committee, which will be considering the revised application at its next meeting. I mentioned my personal concerns, on behalf of the village, about infrastructure and adequate school places that would doubtless arise when 200 new homes are added to the village.
Then a quick dash home to change and return to Campus West in time for the full Council Meeting. During this meeting, I raised the following question: “I am bombarded with calls and emails about missed bins; which I then have to pass on to WHBC Officers to action. This costs time and money. Serco seem to have no problem on main roads that are straightforward, but when they get out to the more rural areas, they often miss pick-ups on the harder to find roads.” I then asked if there was any recompense to be claimed from Serco in the event that they are not meeting their contractual obligations. Cllr John Dean said that he lived in a rural area and receives no complaints whatsoever about collections. He finds the service from Serco excellent and efficient and said that he wondered whether: “The residents of Welwyn are expecting too much!” Of course, it could be that Serco management are very well aware that the service in the area where the Leader of WHBC lives should be up to scratch. However, I wonder what Welwyn residents feel about his remark. Is it too much to expect that bins are collected regularly and returned tidily?
On Tuesday 25th
I attended a funeral in Reading.
More paperwork during the day, including finishing the thorough reading of a 230 page document in preparation for a special meeting of the Cabinet Housing and Planning Panel, which I attended at 7.00pm. This meeting was to discuss the proposals for new housing in the Borough of Welwyn Hatfield and I voiced my concerns about development in the larger external villages, e.g. Welwyn, particularly with a view to sewerage, infrastructure and adequate school places in the future.
I attended a meeting called by Herts County Councillor for the Welwyn Division, Richard Smith, at Welwyn Parish Council offices from 10.00am to 12.00pm to discuss the Highways Locality Budget, changes taking place in the Highways Service and proposed structural and routine maintenance work schedules. After this meeting I met Cllr Smith in the village where we discussed the traffic problems arising from current work being carried in the village part of Codicote Road.
Sunday 30th was my day of rest! And we move on to October…………….
ACT NOW! DUE TO INACCURACIES IN THEIR PUBLISHED MATERIAL, WHBC PARKING SERVICES HAD TO REPUBLISH THE INFORMATION ABOUT THEIR PROPOSAL FOR A RESIDENTS PARKING PERMIT SCHEME IN PROSPECT PLACE, AND HERTFORD ROAD, WELWYN.
YOU NOW HAVE UNTIL 14TH OCTOBER TO REGISTER ANY OBJECTIONS – IT IS NOT TOO LATE!!!
See the previous post on my site for further details and links.