Labour fails to select candidate in Welwyn Hatfield with just weeks until election

nigel-quinton-4.pngLabour has failed to select a candidate in Welwyn Hatfield with the general election just weeks away. The news is revealed on Labour's own website, and has been called out by the Liberal Democrats, who say that it shows Labour has "given up", even in some of its former strongholds.

There are over 340 constituencies Labour has still not selected for in England, whereas in contrast the Liberal Democrats have selected 92% of their candidates in England. Labour has not selected a single candidate in any of the eleven Hertfordshire constituencies. They have even resorted as recently as last Friday to advertising via Twitter.

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Lib Dems: This is a chance for voters in Welwyn Hatfield to forge a better future for the country

Voters in Welwyn Hatfield should vote for the Liberal Democrats to change the direction of the country and ensure Britain has a decent alternative to the Conservatives' Hard Brexit, the party's local candidate Nigel Quinton has said today.

The Prime Minister has called a snap General Election to be held on the 8th June, which was approved by Parliament yesterday.

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Lib Dem candidate Nigel Quinton welcomes chance to fight for a better Britain

nigel-quinton-candidate-for-welwyn-hatfield.pngAs previously announced last September, Welwyn Hatfield Liberal Democrats have local campaigner Nigel Quinton as the Liberal Democrat candidate for a snap general election. Now that Mrs May has announced her intention to hold an election on 8th June, and it looks as if Labour's turkeys will vote for Christmas, Nigel has this to say:

"First we have to call out the supreme cynicism of Mrs May calling this election now, driven entirely by considerations of party advantage. No commentator thinks that any of her stated reasons stand serious examination, and the hypocrisy of the woman who claimed to support Remain last year and is now wanting to fight as the Brexit champion is outrageous.

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Local Plan Forced Through by Tory Majority

Local Conservatives voted en masse to support the submission of their flawed Local Plan to Government inspectors at last week's Council Meeting. All opposition Councillors, Labour and LibDem, opposed the action, citing continued dissatisfaction with the lack of vision, and the lack of proper consultation by the Conservative elite.

Two questions from residents were heard, one from Will Davis of Panshanger People noting the huge number of submissions to the consultations that have been ignored by the Council, and one from Tom Darwall-Smith about the lack of due process in respect of the Symondshyde proposal. Both were treated to dismissive comments by the Executive Member Cllr Mandy Perkins that failed to answer the substantive points raised.

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Lib Dem Councillors excluded from probe into Campus West losses

Welwyn Hatfield council have finally started a probe into the losses at Campus West, highlighted by the Liberal Democrats at budget time - but guess what, everyone but the Liberal Democrats are invited.

"One of our councillors asked if there was to be any investigation into the losses, and was told one had been set up, but hey guess what, we are not invited" said group leader Malcolm Cowan. They even had the cheek to call it "all-party' when it is just Tory and Labour."

LibDems spotlighted the continuing £200,000 per year loss at Humphreys café, and a further unallocated loss of around £1m.

"One might imagine they want to avoid further embarrassment by keeping us out. Just not good enough" added Malcolm. "A bit like putting on Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark".


New crossing over Parkway

malcolm-cowan-with-happy-residents-on-the-new-crossing-in-parkway.pngParents have welcomed the new crossing over Parkway at its junction with Rooks Hill. A petition requesting such a crossing was submitted around 3 years ago, and since then, local county councillor Malcolm Cowan has worked with highways officials to develop and deliver such a crossing.

"Anyone who knows Parkway will know it is a difficult road to cross in the single carriageway section. My suggestion on where to put it was taken up, and I was able to get access to some money that was set aside when the Parkway school site was redeveloped. Looks like a win-win all round"

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Uncertain future for vital footbridge

Letter to Welwyn Hatfield Times

07/04/2017

Dear Sir

In your report of the planning meeting about the Spenhill site last week, you did not cover the point I made that the planned footbridge upgrade - basically a repaint and a new surface underfoot - is far from guaranteed as the council has not managed to engage with Network Rail who own the bridge. It is they who would carry out the work, not Spenhill or their successors. Nor is there any certainty that the money put down by Spenhill for this work - £150,000 - is accepted by Network Rail as adequate.

Given the saga has been going on for 10 years, it is deeply disappointing that there is no guarantee that any or all of the work needed will take place, or when. Given how quickly I managed to get Network Rail to put in proper lighting on the bridge a few years back, it is very surprising. However that is where we are at present. Let us hope wise counsels prevail.

Yours sincerely

Malcolm Cowan

LibDem councillor


Pressure from Libdems leads to increase Affordable Homes on Shredded Wheat site

Libdems vow to hold the Council and Spenhill to account on Phase 2

nigel-quinton-and-malcolm-cowan-in-front-of-shredded-wheat-development-site.pngLast Thursday, 30th April, Welwyn Hatfield Council gave approval to Spenhill (the property arm of Tesco) to develop the old Shredded Wheat site next to the train station. In many ways this is a cause for celebration - the scheme is for high quality urban architecture in a strategic position in the town centre that will provide 850 new homes and will extend the retail and evening economies into Peartree Ward. The developer will also fund £4M of highways work and £3.5M towards educational needs, mostly towards a new, larger, Peartree School, which we very much welcome.

However, in one very important respect the scheme is hopelessly deficient. Only 50 of the 850 homes (less than 6%) are to be affordable homes, despite the Council's own policy that at least 30% of homes in this development should be affordable. That it was as many as 50 is only because pressure in the past week from our comments in the press has forced the issue. Only in the eleventh hour, on the day before approval, was the number of affordable homes increased from 35 to 50.

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Terms of Shredded Wheat site deal come under fire

shredded-wheat-factory-wgc.pngLeading Liberal Democrats are asking whether our Council was lost in action during the negotiations of the "deal" to develop the Shredded Wheat site.

Shockingly, despite a projected £86M profit, developers Spenhill are being told they only have to provide 35 units of affordable housing - just 4% of the total 850 being built. It is the stated policy of the Council that 30% of all new homes should be affordable. And the profits could well be much higher as the Council has failed to scrutinise the cost estimates.

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Humphrey's special fudge?

Letter to Welwyn Hatfield Times

26/02/2017

Dear Sir

After my revelation that Humphreys, the Campus West café, is set to lose almost £200,000 in the forthcoming year, following a similar loss in the current year, I expected to read of the council's plans to rectify this appalling situation.

Maybe a better food offer. Maybe a change in the discounts and pricing. Maybe a change in staffing levels.

Instead I read in last week's Welwyn Hatfield Times, in a letter from the finance lead councillor, that the embarrassing issue is to be solved by reallocating the costs in Campus West, I presume so the loss is hidden. Well, there also is an underlying cost to the council for Campus West of almost £1.5 million, outside the various attractions - cinema, roller city, soft play etc. Looks like a lot of reallocating will be needed.

Then I read in the current WH Life, the council publication on page 15, that they claim it actually returns a profit.

So the Tory approach is to fudge round the loss and then deny it exists. No wonder they need £35 from us to empty the brown bins, to cover these losses.

Yours sincerely

Malcolm Cowan

LibDem councillor


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