County Councillors call for full repair of White Bridge in Centenary Year as graffiti vandals strike
Welwyn Garden City’s iconic White Bridge recently fell victim to a graffiti attack, which has caused outrage amongst local residents.
LibDem County Councillors Barbara Gibson and Nigel Quinton, who represent Haldens and Handside & Peartree divisions, were in touch with county council officers immediately to make sure the graffiti is dealt with swiftly and effectively. They are also putting pressure on the County Council to undertake overdue repairs to the bridge in time to celebrate the town’s centenary.
Nigel commented: “I have been pressing officers on behalf of the Centenary Foundation to make sure the bridge is repaired and properly painted, and the lights re-established, as it is becoming an embarrassment. Despite initially being told that the current schedule for this work is several years away, I remain hopeful that this will be done this year in recognition of Welwyn Garden City’s hundredth birthday.”
Barbara was out with officers on Tuesday and has been discussing the solution to the graffiti: “We want this to be dealt with promptly and effectively. I don’t agree with the Conservative-run County Council’s policy of leaving anything that is not racist or obscene sometimes for months and months, nor with their contractor’s sloppy paint patching (some examples pictured). What we want to work towards is a community-based solution, that gets both councils, community groups, police and young people involved. Let’s replace the mindless graffiti with creative street art, in an appropriate location. And let’s empower people to help with clean-up when needed.”
The bridge is a much loved feature of the town. When construction of Welwyn Garden City began, there was no station and the Luton branch line of the Great Northern Railway was crossed at this point by means of a simple level crossing. In August 1920, a temporary railway station was constructed just to the East of the crossing to bring in workers and material for construction of the town and in 1925 the level crossing was replaced by the White Bridge, designed by Louis de Soissons.
The bridge carried Digswell Road over the railway. It was a bold landmark at the Northern end of Parkway, intentionally designed to create a commanding viewpoint over the unique vista of Welwyn Garden City and has been much loved by residents of the town ever since. Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, grew up in nearby and it is said that whenever she visited the town she would instruct her driver go over the White Bridge so that she could take in what she considered to be "the finest urban landscape in the world".