The Borough has had a busy summer, which included the exciting Women’s Cycle Race on Saturday 10th. Welwyn Village experienced something of a parking fiasco, with restrictions in place from Friday afternoon through to Sunday mid-morning! This was due to a communications breakdown between Welwyn Parish Council and WHBC but businesses coped and we were all delighted to have the event come whizzing through the village for a few minutes!
Also on Saturday 10th, I attended the last night of The Digswell Players presentation of an excellent production of the play “Secondary Cause of Death” by Peter Gorden. This was very well done and extremely enjoyable; playing to a full house.
Saturday 17th saw the Welwyn Garden City World Food Festival, at which I thoroughly enjoyed sampling the many varieties of food on offer.
Monday 19th: I hosted a meeting of the Welwyn Anglo French Twinning Association’s Conversation Group. There was lively and interesting discussion on a range of subjects – all in French!
Thursday 22nd: Local and European Election Day. I attended the “Count” at Campus West that night (from 11.00pm to 5:00am!) I had been asked to act as Count Correspondent for the Local Government Authority and emailed results directly to them as they came in. It was a very interesting evening with UKIP votes diminishing the support for many existing councillors. However, despite this, no UKIP nominees were elected.
Tuesday 27th: AGM of the Friends of Welwyn Care Homes. It was an interesting evening at which I learned much about the voluntary visits made to local care homes and the positive effect these visits have on the residents, many of whom don’t get many visitors. It is a very worthwhile activity, aiming to provide friendship, companionship and laughter, and most worthy of support. If you would like to volunteer, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
JUNE & JULY
I was away on holiday for most of the month of June, hence so little to report for that month, and I sadly missed most of the annual Welwyn Festival (for the first time in 30 years!), returning on the penultimate evening to the300 emails awaiting me!
Thursday 5th: I visited the two new cottages built by Netherdown, next to the Wellington, in Welwyn Village. Cllr Carl Storer accompanied me and we were both impressed by the attention to detail and high quality of the buildings, which had taken particular account of the neighbouring streetscene and were so beautifully in keeping that it was hard to believe they had not been there for years. Congratulations to Netherdown on excellent planning and design.
Sunday 29th: I called in to see the Welwyn Festival Roman Day event at the Roman Baths. This was really interesting and so very well put together. Sadly the weather wasn’t kind and the rain fell on and off pretty much throughout the day. However, those who attended enjoyed the gladiators, demonstrations of Roman war machines and many other interactive opportunities.
JULY on Thursday 10th: I attended the Aston Martin/Neel Dentistry Reception at the Aston Martin Garage in Stanborough. The cars were amazing and Welwyn dentist, Neel Jaiswal, gave an informative talk on dental care and the many ways in which the Neel Dentistry Practice can be of assistance.
MEETINGS AND SURGERIES
Monday 12th: Morning at WHBC offices for meetings with Planning Officers and Parking Services. I also met with reporter from WHT to discuss recent issues in Welwyn.
Thursday 15th: 7:30pm Attended Welwyn Parish Council Annual Meeting.
Saturday 17th: COUNCILLORS SURGERY at St Mary’s Church, Welwyn.
Wednesday 21st: Participated in voluntary Drivesafe Programme on Codicote Road.
Tuesday 27th: Meeting with WHBC officers re Council Tax and Planning Enforcement issues. In the afternoon I visited a local business that had experienced vandalism and in the evening attended an Independent/Lib Dem Group Meeting to meet the newly elected member, Michal Siewniak.
Wednesday 28th: Attended a Licensing Hearing as a committee member.
Friday 30th: Attended a Cross Party Meeting at Campus East to discuss the Campus East building project.
JUNE 3rd: Meeting with Enforcement Officers concerning a planning issue with a property in Welwyn.
Tuesday 8th: Attended meeting of the Environment and Overview Scrutiny Committee, together with 2 volunteers who work on Singlers Marsh. The Draft Plan for Singlers Marsh was to be discussed but this was not possible because the person who had produced it could not be present. I raised objections and asked for a deferral. More below under “issues”.
Friday 11th: Attended a meeting of the Cross Party Group to discuss Campus East Office Accommodation.
Wednesday 16th: Meeting with Trevor Saunders, the new Director of Strategy and Development.
Thursday 17th: Development Management Committee Meeting at 7.30pm.
Saturday 19th: COUNCILLORS SURGERY at St Mary’s Church, Welwyn.
Monday 21st: Full Council Meeting
Monday 28th: Site Visit in Welwyn with Development Management Committee at 7:00pm.
I raised matter of parking violations (in particular on Zebra crossing outside Tesco) with Police and forwarded photos that I have taken of offending vehicles.
Parking issues raised by residents of Glebe Road and Elmoor Avenue. Met to discuss and then spoke with Cllr Richard Smith for further action. Have also had meetings and discussions on this matter with Cllr. Bill Morris, Chairman of the Welwyn Parish Council.
Petty vandalism to business premises in Welwyn Village. Discussed with police and met with businesses to assist where possible.
Speeding on the Codicote Road: raised issue with police and this led to a speed-check operation on the road recently by police officers.
A resident had problems with overcharging of Council Tax and misunderstandings with WHBC officers. The situation had being going on for 2 years and had reached a stalemate. I met with senior officers and got the issue resolved within a week.
Local residents raised concerns about possible contravention of planning conditions on a newly extended property. I met with a Planning Enforcement Officer, and also with another local councillor, on site. The matter is currently under review.
Whilst on holiday, I checked my emails and received requests for assistance over the grass-cutting of Singlers Marsh in time for the Welwyn Festival events. The grass had been badly cut and left long due to a breakdown of SERCO equipment. Organisers were very worried. I immediately contacted relevant officers at WHBC and fellow councillors, asking for assistance, and the problem was sorted out satisfactorily just in time.
The White Hill Car Park: I received an email from Welwyn Parish Council’s Chairman to ask whether the agreement with the developers of the Frythe site to resurface the car park could be followed up. I had negotiated this arrangement at a meeting last year and the understanding was that it should take place in early Spring. However, due to bad weather and miscommunications with the WPC offices, nothing had happened. I spoke with the management of the development company and the matter is now resolved, with the work being carried out in August.
Singlers Marsh: A draft plan for the management of Singlers Marsh was produced and put out for consultation at the beginning of 2014. Due to inconsistencies therein, and several issues raised by local residents who carry out volunteer work on the Marsh, I have consistently tried to arrange a meeting between all interested parties together with WHBC officers since February. Due to a consistent lack of response from the officers concerned, there was no meeting, and the Draft Plan is now due to go to Cabinet for approval on 5th August. Following my meeting with the new Director of Strategy and Development, I have obtained an agreement for a meeting of interested parties to be held as soon as this can be arranged. Meanwhile, most inconsistencies have been corrected and I am doing my utmost to clarify the outstanding matters before this document is passed at the Cabinet meeting.
Resident in distress: An elderly resident had a problem of water flooding into her garden and kitchen during heavy rain from the large parasol overlapping her fence, situated in an adjacent business premises. I was advised of the problem by Welwyn Parish Council and went to see both parties. The problem was solved amicably to everyone’s satisfaction.
Concerns about works at the Former Clock Hotel: I advised the residents of the hours that work should be taking place in accordance with planning conditions and of the procedure to follow should there be disturbance outside recommended hours.
Weekend check-ups: I am continuing to drive through the village on most Friday and Saturday nights to check on noise/disturbance and police surveillance.
Request from some Welwyn Garden City Sherrards residents for assistance with an objection to a planning application: I passed this to the relevant councillor and assisted the residents by advising them of what procedure could be followed.
STOP PRESS: I have agreed to help spread the word about Streetlife.
Residents use this website to discuss local issues and help make their area a better place to live. There are already over 230,000 members nationwide. The objective is to build stronger communities, so please check out the website and see what you think. www.streetlife.com
SATURDAY 30 AUGUST – SUMMER FAYRE:
All proceeds to the Welwyn Hatfield Women’s Refuge – raising awareness of domestic violence and holding its first-ever fun day on Saturday 30 August. It will be held at the Free Church in Church Road, Welwyn Garden City (opposite Sainsburys) between 12 noon and 4 p.m.
Please support this worthy venture if you can, you can click on the link below to download the Fun Day flier: