Following the Grenfell fire in 2017, Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council advised residents of Queensway House in Hatfield that there was no risk of a similar incident happening there. On 28th August 2020, Welwyn Hatfield Times ran a story claiming that a leaked report raises serious concerns over the cladding used on the building. The report also calls evacuation procedures into question.
Councillor Helen Quenet, Liberal Democrat lead on Housing, has written to the Welwyn Hatfield Times calling for decisive action and clarification from the council.
On 29th June, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published their Local Authority projections for new households based on 2018 data. Previous versions, based on 2014 and 2016 data, have been used by the Government and the Borough Council to justify the massive increase in homes needed in the Borough’s submitted Local Plan.
The 2014 data for the period 2013-2036 projected an additional 15,000 households. The 2016 data suggested this number had fallen to 14,000, but this adjustment was not applied to the local plan for technical reasons.
Now the change in the 2018 data shows a massive decrease in the forecast of just 9,000 additional households.
Paul Zukowskyj, County Councillor for Hatfield South, has had to step in to deliver urgent parking upgrades after years of neglect by Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council (WHBC).
Paul has ‘signed off’ on spending just over £40,000 from his County Council Highways Locality Budget to deliver an additional 31 parking spaces across southern Hatfield. Despite a number of requests over the past few years, WHBC Parking Services had refused to add the area to the parking works programme until ‘capacity was available’.
Each space that he has agreed will cost the public purse just over £1300, compared to a cost of £2509 per space for the council’s current programme in the Aldykes area.
Cllr Paul Zukowskyj has discovered the council has approved their own contractors, Lovells, siting a concrete crushing plant at High View, in south Hatfield, for the next three months.
Cllr Zukowskyj was not sent the 'update' newsletter that contained the discovery, apparently because officers didn't think he needed to know.
The plant, crushing material from the demolition of the High View site, is described as a 'muncher' and is being put in to reduce the concrete pads and other materials to lumps less than 2" across.
Concrete crushing plants are notoriously noisy and dusty, but WHBC appear to have approved the plan and suggest the noise and dust will be 'acceptable'.
Recent votes in the House of Commons have undermined earlier promises on food and animal welfare standards. “This has been sneaked though while everyone is focussed on Covid” says Paul Zukowskyj, County Cllr for Hatfield South.
“Chlorine-treated chicken and hormone-injected beef are likely coming our way. Why? Because that is what they do in the US and this government is desperate to do a deal with a Trump-led US, even if it means these lower standards.
”The mess around the paper and cardboard recycling banks most of the time is unbelievable” says Liberal Democrat council group leader Malcolm Cowan.
“The problem has persisted for several years and I have regularly sent the council photos of the problem. The rise in home delivery while we are in lockdown is making it worse.
“I have seen banks fill up within a few hours of being emptied. Then people leave cardboard all around. Cardboard needs to be cut up or folded flat, but even then the banks fill up very quickly. There is simply not enough capacity. This is particularly bad at Moors Walk in Panshanger.
Nationally there is growing concern over the outbreak of Covid-19 in care homes. Care workers in Welwyn Hatfield have been on the front line of this battle for months. The travesty unfolding in care settings isn’t just nationwide but here in our area.
Carers working during this crisis have told us of the many failings they have witnessed from the very beginning. These failures have put strain on a system that has been facing cuts for years.
The carers have told us how their involvement in dealing with the virus in their settings has been a series of false promises and dangerous actions.
They have seen people admitted to their setting with COVID whilst still in the infectious period. Carers work to high infection control levels every single day but this virus is new and it’s hard to contain anywhere. In a care home where the most vulnerable live is especially challenging.
The Coronavirus situation is changing very rapidly and we are all naturally anxious about the next few months. I want to reassure you that your local Councillors are here to help you in whatever way we can (but we can't do anything about lack of toilet rolls though!).
Normally, we routinely knock on residents' doors throughout the year to check if people have any problems we can help with. Because of the current risk of virus transmission, this isn't sensible at the moment but you can still contact us by email or phone.
Social media reporting can be very inaccurate and stoke fears rather than reducing them. For accurate information, it is a sensible to seek information from trustworthy sites such as:
for sound information.
For detailed and up to date information about world trends, https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ is an excellent site.
May you, your family and friends stay well in the coming weeks.
Leader Liberal Democrat Group, Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
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.”
LibDems renew call for halt to A1(M) ‘upgrade’ as Highways England carry on regardless
After visiting the “Information event” put on by Highways England last Friday outside Waitrose in WGC, local LibDem Councillors expressed deep concerns that work is still scheduled to start in a matter of weeks.
Just weeks ago, Mike Penning, the former roads minister responsible for signing off Britain’s smart motorways, called for a halt to the rollout of further schemes of this type. He accused Highways England of killing motorists by “casually ignoring commitments” on the systems fundamental to the safe operation of these roads.
In a subsequent statement Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps promised that Smart Motorways would be put on hold pending a full safety review, but at the event last Friday, representatives of Highways England were absolutely clear that work on the A1(M) between junctions 6 and 8 is still scheduled to start in March.