Second Class Service for Welwyn Hatfield

Second Class Service

Why are Govia Thameslink treating Welwyn Hatfield residents as second-class citizens?

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Nothing to Loos - “Community Toilet” initiative killed off before it can start

The possible Community Toilet proposal outlined in last weeks’ WHTimes was killed off at a meeting of the Conservative-controlled Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee last week.

“It is shame many councillors would not even let council officers investigate possibilities to see if a scheme could work, but the real story is why the council is not taking a far firmer line with cafes who have no loos” said LibDem group leader Malcolm Cowan who had initiated the discussion.

“A number of councillors rightly believed it was the law that a café serving food and drink with seats provided had to have a loo for their customers. A recent test case backed this up. And it is not just a loo but also being able to wash your hands before you handle food that is important,” he added.

“Far from being a burden, a café providing a loo should gain custom as shoppers stop for a drink and bite to eat rather than going home with legs crossed” Malcolm said. “It would particularly be valued by expectant mothers, those with small children and many elderly shoppers. What a shame they are being ignored.”


Cash-strapped councils asked to prepare for no deal Brexit

Barbarax300.pngResponding to the letter received by local Councils this week from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government calling for local authorities to prepare for a no deal Brexit, Liberal Democrat County Councillor and Parliamentary Candidate for Welwyn Hatfield Barbara Gibson said:
 
Asking cash-strapped councils to prepare for a no deal when it is in the Government’s gift to rule it out is nothing short of an insult to local services.

"With local government being eroded at every opportunity and councils struggling to even run just the most basic services, to add this burden for no reason other than to scaremonger support for the Prime Minister’s already defeated deal is utterly shameful."

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Snail-like County Council lets down Maintained Nursery Schools

In November last year LibDem County Councillor Nigel Quinton was very pleased when his motion asking the County Council to throw its weight behind calls for Central Government to confirm funding for Maintained Nursery Schools beyond March 2020 received unanimous support. But today it emerged that the Council has done nothing for two months, finally sending a letter to the Secretary of State only last week.

“What on earth were they doing?” Nigel asks. “As our debate in November made clear, our maintained nursery schools require urgent confirmation of continuing funding, or they face total uncertainty, potential loss of staff, and loss of places, possible closure. How can it take two months for the Council to compose a letter?”


Gosling Closure Shock

On Christmas Eve 2018, Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL), operators of the Gosling sports complex in Welwyn Garden City, quietly announced that a decision had been made to close the sports hall and associated facilities at Gosling Sports Park at the end of March.

Liberal Democrat Cllrs Nigel Quinton and Siobhan Elam, County and Borough Councillors respectively, are shocked and disappointed at the news. Nigel commented: “As Hertfordshire’s Year of Physical Activity draws to a close we learn that a sports hall that was only upgraded four years ago, and which is subject to development agreements of 15 years, will be closed without any consultation whatsoever. The operators GLL are letting down our community dreadfully. Gosling is a much loved facility that has served the people of WGC and more widely, for very many years. As owners of the facility, what are the Council doing? The heart of the town’s leisure provision is being ripped out without a word or a care.

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Rail Fares Up; Service Still Down

Thameslink service passing through Hatfield

News that rail fares will rise by 3% at local stations is massive blow to passengers, and also to the reputation of MP Grant Shapps who vowed to stop the rise. "Even a government without a majority feels able to snub the MP and other more vocal Herts MPs who wrote together to oppose any rise" says local LibDem council group leader Malcolm Cowan, who is also chair of the WGC rail user group. "The Department for Transport set the fares for rail operator Govia. Chris Grayling, as Transport Minister must have signed off these ludicrous fare rises. If Grant is serious, he must demand Grayling's resignation."

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Local hospital trust misses targets yet again – why?

New QE2 - Welwyn Garden City

Figures just secured by the BBC show the local North and East Herts Hospitals Trust missing 2 out of its 3 main targets, and not even providing data for the third.

On seeing patients in A and E within 4 hours, it hasn't hit the target for over 3 years. For cancer care treatment within 62 days of an urgent referral, it is 8th worst in the UK out of 131 trusts, having not hit its target since April 2015. For planed operations and care, it has failed to provide any data, as was the case earlier in the year.

Yet nearby Luton and Dunstable, drawing its staff from a similar catchment area, results are very different: On A and E, it is top throughout the country (and well above targe), on cancer care it is well above average and above target, and on planned operations and care it is above average though slightly below target.

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Lib Dems call on Government to Save Funding for Maintained Nursery Schools

Last week Liberal Democrat Cllr Tamsin Jackson-Mynott won over the entire Borough Council who voted unanimously for her motion to put pressure on Grant Shapps MP to lobby the Govt to save funding for maintained nursery schools.

Speaking not only as a Councillor but as a parent using the wonderful facilities provided by maintained nursery schools for her daughter, Tamsin said, “The argument to save the funding for maintained nursery schools is not a cash saving exercise - it's about protecting a learning environment for young children that is rich with experience, support, knowledge sharing, cross school network learning, SEND support and teacher training. Nothing new is needed,  just a maintenance of the status quo. But for that to happen we all need to work together to this common goal for all of our children”.

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Depot out of Service

Letter to Welwyn Hatfield Times

12/11/2018

Dear Sir or madam,

Residents of Peartree Lane with the threat of a bus servicing depot being built at the bottom of their gardens are jubilant after a planning inspector threw out an appeal against the refusal by Welwyn Hatfield council.

Applicants Welham Travel saw their application recommended for approval by council officers, but after I as ward councillor plus local residents spoke out against it at a planning meeting In January this year, councillors threw the application out.

The applicants then raised an appeal to an inspector at the last possible moment. The local residents association strongly objected to the proposal and I also wrote to the inspector explaining why the application should be rejected and finally the inspector announced he agreed and the application was rejected.

It was very disappointing to see the council planning officer recommending approval, but I and residents were determined to fight it and our stance has been justified. It shows a well organised and argued campaign can win. Peartree residents can look forward to sleeping more easily as a result of this.

Jayne Ranshaw, one of the local residents who fought this said "This proposal was wholly unsuitable in a residential area. We are delighted that the inspector upheld the councillors' decision and rejected the application".

Malcolm Cowan
Liberal Democrat Councillor


Christina Raven Selected as Liberal Democrat Candidate for Welwyn West

Christina Raven, LidDem Candidate for Welwyn West

The Liberal Democrats have chosen Christina Raven as their candidate for the Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council by-election in Welwyn West ward set for 29th November. An osteopath who practises in Welwyn, Hitchin and SE London, Christina grew up in Digswell and returned in 2007 to live in Old Welwyn.

Christina explained why she is standing: “My earliest memories are rooted in this community, and I’ve made Welwyn my home for more than a decade. I love this community, and want to contribute to both preserving what is best about it, and also making it better.

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