In March 2015, Peartree councillors were able to access the remaining community chest funding to deliver some projects which could benefit the local community. Even though the scheme has not been re-introduced this year, we have managed to run a number of fantastic initiatives which helped us to engage effectively with our residents.
We recognised and still recognise that one of the biggest challenges for us, local providers and agencies, is to address the health inequality. Peartree experiences a number of issues which include: shorter life expectancy, childhood obesity, and a low level of physical activity.
The Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council decided not to re - introduce the community chest funding, a scheme which has supported in the past many fantastic projects across the Borough.
In the past, each ward in the Borough has received £2,000 to support local community projects. The scheme overall cost was less than £40,000.
Michal Siewniak, local Liberal Democrat councillor said: "This funding is all about being well connected with the local community, delivering sustainable outcomes to your residents and empowering groups and individuals in your area. As a result of this funding, we have delivered (and in some cases still delivering) number of project which include: Peartree Health and Sports Day, cooking project with the local primary schools, Peartree Fun Day as well as ESOL classes for local migrants."
A call to have a train service on Boxing Day has come from LibDem councillor Malcolm Cowan. "Like thousands of local people, I wanted to go to London on Saturday. The sales were on, and there were major soccer matches at Tottenham and Chelsea and elsehwere. Although the Underground was working, alongside London buses, there was nothing to get me to the Underground, or elsewhere. It is high time there are Boxing Day services. In most of Europe, they have trains on Boxing Day, but we stand aloof, pushing more traffic onto the roads.
"In fact, there were services on Thameslink, but nothing here in Times Territory, or indeed in most areas. In opposition, the Tories called for Boxing Day services, but like so many things, once in government, they forget their pledges."
Further to your report on the potential risk of a serious accident at the Cole Green tip, you recently published a letter from the executive county councillor for waste where he said his preferred option was not to open 7 days a week or add a waiting lane, but to look for a new site.
I decided to check on the likelihood of this with one of his most senior officers and was told I'm afraid no alternative to Cole Green is on the cards. We have been looking for years and continue to search but nothing has come along that is suitable or realistic.
So in fact we won't get a new site. I then challenged the councillor recently and he told me, to gasps from other councillors, that if there was serious accident, Cole Green would close!
After LibDem county and borough councillor Malcolm Cowan started campaigning for improvements to the appalling danger of queuing on the A414 while waiting to enter the Cole Green waste site, the executive councillor at the county council wrote to the Welwyn and Hatfield Times recently, rejecting his call for either a waiting lane or reopening 7 days a week. His preference, he told us, was to get another site. Fine, but when Malcolm checked with a very senior officer at the county council, he was told there was no plan to get a new site. The actual response was "I'm afraid no alternative to Cole Green on the cards. We have been looking, as you know, for years and continue to search but nothing has come along that is suitable or realistic."
Parliament Week is a programme of events and activities that connects people with Parliament and democracy in the UK.
More about the Parliament week - https://www.parliamentweek.org/
Organisations across the UK run events and activities throughout Parliament Week which explore what parliamentary democracy means to them and their community. Parliament Week is coordinated by the House of Commons with support from the House of Lords.
'Yet again, last week's rainfall produced flooding on our roads. Yet again, we are supposed to put up with it' - Malcolm Cowan, Libdem county and borough council wants to know why this chain reaction can't be broken.
'Even when I went round, and made a list of all the flooded locations in Handside and Peartree in an attempt to help, the county council's main highways contractor, Ringway, told me it is 'low priority' - officialese for 'nothing will be done'.
Villagers in Tewin, Burnham Green and surrounding areas are suffering some of the worst cuts in service, following the Conservative decision to slash bus support in Hertfordshire.
LibDem county and borough councillor Malcolm Cowan has revealed that what was 6 services a day, 6 days a week from WGC to Hertford and back has become one a day, 3 days a week to WGC and 3 days to Hertford - 35 services a week to each town becomes 3.
After all the self-promoting press releases from Herts County Council over many years, finally an admission of failure, over the queues and early closing of Household Waste sites ('the tips').
A report to a recent Resources and Performance Cabinet panel states: 'High levels of demand resulting in queuing at certain times and centres, with sites having to shut early or operate a reduced service. It appears that the reduction in opening days and hours may have exacerbated these issues at some of the busier centres, with a resulting increase in numbers of complaints'.
Malcolm Cowan, a Liberal Democrat county councillor who was at the meeting says: "This is exactly what we predicted when the plan to reduce the days of opening were being discussed. The chickens have come home to roost. By insisting on only opening 5 days per week, the same demand has been compressed, so that many centres are having problems. There are also reports of increased fly-tipping as people are turned away."
Local LibDem councillor Malcolm Cowan has again had to point out the rail operator not knowing that they had withdrawn all services on Sunday.
"Before we went to the station, my wife checked for engineering works - none were shown. We were therefore astonished when we got to WGC station to find there were no trains. And Great Northern's website said it was a 'good service' as the attached screenshot shows. Yet enquire on next train time and it says there are none! Which is it?"