The Tories have been in control of Welwyn Hatfield since 2002. You only have to look around you to see failure after failure. Change is long overdue and the Liberal Democrats can deliver that change.
If you want a council that listens to you and acts in the best interests of Welwyn Hatfleld, vote Liberal Democrat in the local elections on May 3rd 2018.
How exactly does a Council for a Garden City, that claims to want us all to drive less, allow a major new supermarket to open that has no pedestrian access? How does the County Council's Highways department, which bears the responsibility for reviewing access and travel plans and raising any problems, also fail to notice?
The new Aldi store in Welwyn Garden City opened recently to great fanfare, but residents arriving on foot immediately realised there is no safe way into the site for pedestrians. Customers on foot, wheelchair or mobility scooter are forced to brave the two lanes of traffic entering and exiting the car park.
Lib Dem Councillors responded quickly to concerns raised by residents, speaking with Aldi management and querying both Councils to determine how such a serious oversight could occur. Cllr Malcolm Cowan is leading the push for enforcement action be taken by Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council to remedy the situation immediately.
The entrance to the footway shown on Aldi's planning application
Sign at entrance to the pub car park which shares vehicle access with Aldi
Experienced Liberal Democrat councillor, Malcolm Cowan, writes to the Welwyn Hatfield Times to point out that not only are our roads and paths falling apart and full of holes, so too are the tired excuses offered by the Conservatives for their failure to address these widespread problems. These are failings that could potentially put lives at risk.
The new rail timetable starting in May and just published has plenty of disadvantages for WGC and Hatfield travellers, says LibDem councillor Malcolm Cowan.
"First, the so-called fast trains from Kings Cross will take a new record slow time of 35 minutes compared with 26 or 27 minutes at present; this is a massive slow down with no explanation. Ironically the poster in the cafe on platform 3 at WGC shows pre-war trains taking 23 minutes, so we will be 50% slower from May.
Last Saturday (10th March), 30 young members of the Focolare Community took part in a mass-litter pick in Handside and Peartree. The young people were at the Focolare Centre for Unity for a weekend themed #BeyondAllBorders where they focused on how to make a positive difference to our environment.
Liberal Democrat County Councillor Barbara Gibson has been selected to fight the next General Election for the Lib Dems. She was confirmed as the Party's Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Welwyn Hatfield by local party members at a specially convened meeting on 28th February.
Barbara was elected as County Councillor for Haldens Division in Welwyn Garden City last May. A former university lecturer and business woman, Barbara is a relative newcomer to politics, joining the Liberal Democrats less than two years ago.
"To me, this feels like a natural extension of what I'm already doing here in Welwyn Hatfield," said Barbara. "All the issues that affect us locally are inextricably linked to national politics, from the huge cuts to local government funding, to the impact that a hard Brexit will have on our businesses, our jobs and our lives. I'm very grateful to have this opportunity to fight on behalf of Welwyn Hatfield residents to ensure our interests are represented properly."
Nigel Quinton, Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate in the 2017 General Election, has offered his full support to Barbara: "Barbara has a special talent and will make a fantastic MP for Welwyn Hatfield - someone who truly listens to local people and will work hard to make their voices heard."
A native of Oklahoma, USA, Barbara has lived in the UK since 2002, and in Welwyn since 2005. She became a UK citizen in 2011. She holds a PhD in Intercultural Communication from Birkbeck, University of London.
When we speak to people on the doorstep, parking is an issue that often comes up and it is clear that in large parts of Welwyn Hatfield, there is insufficient parking provision for today's car-owning society. Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council has started a consultation on parking in the area to try to gain a better insight into specific parking issues that residents have. They have launched an on line survey where you can let them know specifically what problems you are experiencing with parking in your street. It's a simple survey that only takes a few minutes to complete so please do take the time to fill it and the Council know your views.
Helen Quenet, Monday 5th February 2018
Thank you Madam Deputy Mayor.
The approach of the end of the financial year, is a good time to review any organisation. To look at what has gone well, and what needs to be improved upon. Here are four things in which we should aspire to do better in 2018/19.
Issue 1: Better internal communication
For example, the cross-party, Rat Scrutiny Committee was unaware until an article was published in the Welwyn Hatfield Times this week, that there is a major (£16,000) rat reduction initiative underway in Hatfield. If we are to scrutinise effectively we need to know what is already happening, otherwise we waste time.
The start of the New Year has yet again brought fare rises well above wage growth as the Tory government see rail users as easy target. LibDem councillor Malcolm Cowan says "While the private rail companies force passengers to endure over-crowding day after day, their chiefs pocket millions in pay and bonuses".
Great Northern users have seen delays time after time – the official figures show 24% of all trains on Great Northern are officially late i.e. more than 5 minutes late – nearly twice the rate on nearby Thameslink trains. But, as the poster on the footbridge at WGC station shows, the proportion actually arriving on time is much lower – just 31% arrived on time at Kings Cross last month, and 40% at Cambridge; and this does allow for the trains that skip Hatfield and WGC to catch up time, leaving passengers stranded.
"At minimum we should get a fares freeze, on a value for money basis there should be a reduction" said Malcolm.
Former Welwyn Hatfield Liberal Democrat councillor, Michal Siewniak, was contacted few months ago by Assistant Professor Katarzyna Radzik - Maruszak, from a University in Lublin, Poland. Mrs. Katarzyna Radzik - Maruszak is writing her dissertation on Local Government (LG) in the UK and she wanted to talk to current and former councillors from Hertfordshire.
She was really pleased that some Polish people (still not enough!) are keen to be part of the democratic process. Being part of public life is so important and it shows that EU nationals contribute in many different ways, also by becoming a 'civic voice' for their residents. Following a visit to the UK, Mrs Katarzyna Radzik - Maruszak invited Michal on a return visit to meet her students who study politics at UMCS in Lublin in the South East of Poland.
Michal Siewniak said: "I was delighted to come to Poland and give a lecture on the subject of Local Government in the UK which took place on Wednesday, 13 December. It went really well! I had an opportunity to talk to a superb group of students (35) who were very eager to learn more about the political process in the UK, Welwyn Hatfield, canvassing, Liberal Democrats and my experience (as a Polish migrant) of standing and winning a seat.