The proposals put forward by the Boundary Commission were described as utterly daft by leading Lib Dem Tony Skottowe.
'Looking at all the reports I cannot find any support from local sources for these ideas' said Tony. 'In fact in the agreed proposals put forward by WHBC on the Commission's wish for all wards to have 3 members the report said "It appeared to be more of an administrative exercise with changes making little sense... Officers could not find a solution to accommodate 16 three member wards that was satisfactory in terms of community identity and effective and convenient local government.
'So what have the Commission proposed - Yes, 16 wards with 3 members! On this evidence it seems to me the Boundary Commission has no interest is preserving community identity, reflecting community interests or strong, easily identifiable boundaries, which it is supposed to do. The thing appears to be solely based on the need to balance numbers and with no interest in people', was Tony's reaction.
LibDem councillor Malcolm Cowan, carrying on his efforts to try to get the county council to do something about the dangerous queuing outside the waste site, has set up a petition to demanding Herts County Council take action. The petition is at http://SignMe.org.uk/1120 and calls on HCC to either add a queuing lane or reopen the site 7 days a week, or both. "Everyone concerned about these dangerous conditions needs to come together and add their name" he said.
Additionally Malcolm is demanding HCC send someone to see the queuing first hand. "They were happy to claim they would do something when they reduced all sites to 5 days a week, but I cannot see any difference except now there are much longer queues almost every day, instead of mostly just at weekends. They have abandoned us to a potentially lethal accident. It is almost as if they are waiting for an accident before they take the action needed" he said.
LibDem county councillor Malcolm Cowan has called for immediate action over the queues on the high-speed A414 as people wait to get into the Cole Green waste and recycling centre.
"When Herts County Council decided to close all the tips 2 days per week, we specifically asked for Cole Green to be exempted because we could see the dangerous queuing on the A414, which I understand has already claimed one life, would get worse. What we got was a promise to reduce the queuing. Instead it had got worse - not just on weekends, but any day the tip is open."
Commenting, LibDem councillor Malcolm Cowan said "I do hope Wetherspoons follow this by withdrawing the planning application as well. They have caused a great deal of distress and worry, particularly to older people living nearby, and have totally failed to respond to concerns raised or engage with local people. They cannot just steamroller this through."
Hertfordshire Liberal Democrats are seriously worried about the fallout from the Conservative Government's budget 'for working people' that is clearly anything but.
Despite saying 'Britain deserves a pay rise', George Osborne has apparently decided this only applies if you work in the private sector, so if you're a teacher, fire-fighter, police officer or nurse you deserve to have your pay cut every year in real terms.
The real concern is how the Unions will react. Len McCluskey of Unite has already stated public sector workers 'will be furious that they face a further four years of pay pain', so there seems little doubt that the trajectory the Tory Government have set is a collision course with the Unions. We can look forward to schools, leisure centres, council offices and even fire stations closed due to strikes, with all the problems for residents and extra costs that entails.
This appears to be a set of random and unrelated sites - it looks like an attack of chickenpox upon a map of the district. Very many people will be alarmed as they come within range of being blighted. It is very hard to see any logic in many of the proposals. Particularly worrying are the free-standing development at Simondshyde, the potential loss of yet more industrial employment land in WGC, removal of a lorry park in Welham Green and re-zoning of the land occupied by the fire stations in WGC and Hatfield.
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This has been an opportunity missed as the council has totally failed to offer a coherent plan in which both public and landowners could have confidence. This final ragbag of sites thrown into the mix merely underlines the lack of vision. Had the council had a proper strategy, such as a new settlement, few of these bids would have come in, because everyone would know the growth would be at one planned location. As it is, more time will be eaten up as all of the sites are assessed and consultation takes place.
Last week's letters on 22 Parkway revealed rather more heat than light.
At the time of writing, I appear to be the only councillor so far to actually object to the application. The issue is not about whether we like Wetherspoons, which I do, but whether that site is a suitable one. That is what all planning is about - is it the right site?
To propose a pub that could hold up to 500 people is questionable. To build on almost all the garden, so any smokers area is right up against an elderly people's block isn't even questionable - it is an insult.
Local LibDem councillor Malcolm Cowan has hit out at the plan for another pub on Parkway. The site, at 22 Parkway, backs onto Asquith House, an older people's block, and several other homes. It also plans to get rid of the car parking spaces in the back garden and replace them by a massive 2 storey extension and convert what is left into a beer garden.
"Abolition of the car parking spaces will push parking, and late night driving away, which is usually noisy, onto residential roads. I also have to question whether another pub is needed at all when there are two others within 50 yards."
Despite 'discussions' between the Borough Council and Hertfordshire County Council, HCC have stated their objections to Hat1 and Hat2, between them intended for almost 2,500 homes in the green belt, will still stand.
As Minerals Planning Authority, HCC can seriously undermine the Local Plan and an objection, sustained up to the Examination by a Planning Inspector, is likely to result in removal of the sites, if not scrapping of the plan altogether.
Paul commented "HCC's response shows that WHBC's local plan is holed below the waterline. Their plan to build +5000 homes in the green belt simply isn't deliverable when 2450 are supposed to be built on land that might not be available due to mineral extraction until 2048. I'm looking forward to raising this issue with the planning inspector where I'll be using HCC's objecion, amongst other issues, to demonstrate WHBC's plan is unsound and should be thrown out."
"WHBC need to try again, their current approach is sinking fast"
WGC is facing a double blow from the Tory run Herts County Council - not only loss of its fire station, but having a new Household Waste Site (also known as the dump) imposed, off Chequers, between Burrowfields and Eddington Crescent.
The same property report to WelHat council, in response to the local plan, which showed the fire stations plan, also show the HWRC threat.
Malcolm Cowan, LibDem county and borough councillor said "This looks like a double blow to WGC, and again, something that has come out of the blue. I assumed this plan had died a death a few years ago, due to the traffic issues and impact on nearby residents. Either traffic would enter and leave along Burrowfields which is dominated by existing heavy goods vehicle movements, or traffic would come in and out past the new homes near Eddington Crescent. Either way, homes off Chequers would be in the front line.You only have to look at the litter and mess near the Cole Green site to see what would happen here.
"When this idea was being floated a few years back, I asked WelHat council to let prospective purchasers in the Eddington Crescent area know about this in their property searches, but the council refused. I wonder what they will say now."