Recycling plummets following brown bin charge

Brown Bin Tax #FailCouncillors were shocked to learn that the recycling rate in Welwyn Hatfield has dropped from 54% last year to 46% this year.

Even worse, the target the council sets itself has dropped even further - from 53% to 42%.

Asked why, the council replied: "The brown bin tax".

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New plan for Shredded Wheat site cautiously welcomed by LibDems

Shredded Wheat SiteThe new owners of the Shredded Wheat site in WGC unveiled plans to borough councillors last Monday. The plans increase the number of homes planned from 850 to 1471; this allows for 30% of all the homes to be social housing, working in partnership with a Housing Association, a key demand of the LibDems when the previous Spenhill plans were approved earlier in the year.

"This is a phenomenal number of homes, and we are concerned about the density and building heights proposed, but the very welcome increase in social housing proposed should allow for at least one Green Belt site to be removed from the Local Plan" said LibDem councillor Malcolm Cowan.

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Wetherspoons goof again

Eyesore at 22 ParkwayThe unauthorised and possibly illegal new sign advertising yet another planning application for a pub at 22 Parkway WGC is already drawing criticism.

Wetherspoons did themselves no favours with their 2 previous planning applications - they failed to engage in any way with the public and its representatives, failed to talk to the planners and put in applications so poor they were unanimously rejected both times.

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Government threatens even higher housing target for Welwyn Hatfield

Housebuilding

Just as Welwyn Hatfield faces an Examination in Public into its flawed Local Plan, the government has now announced another vacuous target for house building. The Tories' previous stated aim was to see 200,000 homes built per year, they now want this to be 250,000. Last year (2016/17) only 147,000 were built.

The impact on Welwyn Hatfield is likely to be that instead of needing 800 homes per year across the Borough, we need 877 per year. This in an area where 79% of the land is Green Belt, which the government wants protected into the future. Yet next-door Hertsmere, which has exactly the same proportion of Green Belt land as Welwyn Hatfield, is given a 38% cut in its allocation.

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Police and Crime Commissioner's grab for fire service slammed from all sides

The attempt by Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd to also take over fire services in Herts has met all party opposition as Herts County Council voted unanimously against, despite David Lloyd having been the Conservative ruling group's deputy leader until recently.

Welwyn Hatfield council, also under Tory control, saw its cabinet vote against, as did the all-party Social Overview Committee.

"This is an unprecedented snub for the PCC. Clearly councillors have made a decision on the facts of the case, which was very weak, and I totally welcome that" said local LibDem leader Malcolm Cowan.

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3.6% fare rise gets short shrift

The planned 3.6% rise in fares next January has got a strong reaction from local Liberal Democrats.

LibDem councillor Malcolm Cowan says:

"Here in Welwyn Hatfield, we will be paying more for less. This line has always featured as one of the most expensive in Britain, a country which has among the highest fares in the world. Currently the operator Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) is being rated the worst in Britain, and from next year, our service is going to get slower, will be less frequent from some stations (Brookmans Park and Welham Green, less convenient (ending of trains to Peterborough) and in many cases the trains will have fewer seats than now.

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History repeats itself, first time as tragedy, second time as farce

History is repeating itself very quickly as yet again, many of the district's recycling bins are overflowing. Only a couple of weeks after LibDem councillor Malcolm Cowan highlighted the problem, both through the WHT and at a council meeting, the council's promises to fix the issue have turned to dust.

As of last week, almost every paper bin was full or overflowing, and also many of the plastics bins.

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Welhat waste and litter problems escalate

Local Liberal Democrats are angry about the local council's failure to empty recycling banks and are demanding improvements.

The large paper, plastic, glass and can banks have been full and overflowing for around a fortnight and are not being emptied. The council have admitted the company they use has just one lorry which is off the road. "It is astonishing that the council is dependent on such a small operation - did they know about this when the contract was signed, and why is there no backup?" asked LibDem councillor Malcolm Cowan.

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Lib Dems hold Three Rivers Council with landslide win

Cllr Phil Williams (picture right) with former Lib Dem leader Tim FarronThree Rivers Council remains in Liberal Democrat control following a landslide win with 64% of the vote by new Councillor Phil Williams; elected to represent Chorleywood South & Maple Cross ward.

The by-election was triggered following the sad passing of former Lib Dem leader Ann Shaw OBE who had been a well respected community champion and councillor for more than three decades. When she stepped down in 2016, she was the longest serving council leader in the country.

Our party increased their vote share by 4.6%, with the Conservative party running a paltry second place with 26.6% of the vote. The other parties failed to gain ground.

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New rail timetable under fire

Local rail operator Govia's draft timetable for next year is under fire from Liberal Democrat borough councillor Malcolm Cowan.

"In the previous round of consultation I pointed out how badly WGC and Hatfield would be faring compared with other less-used stations, and I am pleased that the borough council endorsed most of my comments, but nothing has changed. We now have real draft timetables and it is clear Govia have taken no notice.

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