WGC LibDems slam proposed increase in size of Shredded Wheat development
Local LibDem councillors are utterly appalled by the proposed increase in the number of flats to be built on the former Shredded Wheat site which will increase the height of the development from 8 to 11 or even 12 storeys.
The release of the revised plans has met universal disbelief. How on earth must the spirits of the town’s founders be looking down on their Garden City as the council’s planners destroy it in its centennial year? And the developers now say building will not be completed until 2030 – when originally we were told this could be ready by 2020!
Malcolm Cowan, our Group Leader on the council says “This cannot be thought of as what a Garden City is about – more like a ‘mini-Manhattan’. The supposed centrepiece of the development, our historic (and listed) grain silos, will be dwarfed and hidden from view. Not so much the Wheat Quarter as Hidden History!
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.”