Obituary – Alan Plumley – WPAG committee member

It is with much sadness that WPAG report the death of Alan Plumley.

Alan first came to our notice in January 2015 as a volunteer local Charity Hospital Driver working with the CVS Community Car Scheme. He regularly drove our Planning Member, the late Ron Oxley, to monthly Welwyn Parish Council Planning Committee meetings, where Ron Oxley was a co-opted member, and to the weekly Community Cafe, where we discovered that Alan was also driver for other regular attendees there.

Through Ron Oxley’s influence on local Planning issues, Alan developed a keen interest in local affairs, and wanted to help. His wife Val frequently joined him at the Community Cafe, and both of them became key members of the WPAG Committee. Alan was appointed as WPAG Communications Secretary, and Val became WPAG Secretary.

A few years ago, Alan developed Motor Neurone Disease and, as his condition worsened, he had to stop carrying out the voluntary tasks he so much enjoyed, and Val had to retire as WPAG Secretary to care for him. Indeed, Alan’s work for WPAG on communications and planning information is greatly missed, along with his smile and his always cheerful disposition.

Alan’s funeral will be held at Harwood Park, Watton Rd, Datchworth, Stevenage SG2 8XT on Wednesday 2nd October at 1:15pm. 

Welwyn Parish Directory

Everything Within for Residents of Welwyn Parish

The Welwyn Parish Plan Group has been publishing its Directory regularly over the past decade, this is the sixth edition.

Hard copies are available at the Community Café, at Bridge Cottage, in the Library and at the Danesbury/QVM shop. It can be accessed on line, as here and on the Parish Council website.

Go to Parish Directory

Ian Skidmore, Chairman of the Parish Plan Group, reports “I saw a notice in a hardware shop window in a High Street recently that said:

“If we don’t have it you don’t need it”

While we do call this “Everything Within” we do that with our fingers crossed. If you think there is something we need to add please let us know via . We can then update the online version although the hard copy will have to wait for the next edition.

We hope you find this useful

Welwyn Hatfield Local Plan – Site Review

SITES FOR AN EXTRA 4000 HOUSES HAVE TO BE FOUND.

The following Introductory paragraphs are taken from the WHBC website.

The Draft Local Plan sets out the long-term planning framework for the borough, identifying how much and what type of development is needed, where it should or should not be located and whether any key infrastructure needs to be delivered, such as primary and secondary schools. Once adopted, the Local Plan will shape the future of the borough for at least 15 years ahead.

The Draft Local Plan was submitted to the Secretary of State for examination in May 2017. An independent planning inspector, Melvyn Middleton BA(Econ), DipMgmt, MRTPI,  was appointed to consider the soundness of the submitted plan.

The draft plan contains sites for 12,000 homes but the housing need is currently acknowledged to be about 16,000 homes to 2033.

As the plan does not meet the objectively assessed need for housing in full, the Inspector has asked the council to investigate if there is any scope for additional housing sites to be identified. 

CALL FOR SITES 2019

Having taken the Inspector’s comments into account, the council decided to carry out a Call for (more) Sites.

The Call for Sites took place between 7th January and 4th February 2019. Over 140 sites were promoted for either housing, employment, mixed use or other forms of development.  

Consultation on the new sites that are being promoted by landholders has now started and instructions on how to respond are on the WHBC website.

Responses to this Consultation have to be with the WHBC by 5pm on 18th June 2019.

All the promoted sites across the Borough can be studied on their website.

WPAG ACTION PLAN

The Welwyn Planning & Amenity Group (WPAG) were members of the Local Plan Working Party set up by the Welwyn Parish Council (WPC) in 2017.

In the past 24 hours the WPAG has encouraged the WPC to re-call that Working Party to prepare a response to the new list of Promoted sites.

WELWYN PARISH – PROMOTED SITES

For your ease of access, we list below the new sites being promoted for Welwyn Parish, including other neighbouring sites which have the potential to significantly affect Welwyn, should they be selected.

We do not as yet express our views on these sites, which have to be studied in depth.

It is perhaps necessary to remind you that the sites previously accepted for the Draft Local Plan, are still in place – this Consultation is only for the additional sites that the WHBC are now looking at, which have been promoted as a result of the Call for Sites 2019.

WELWYN PARISH, AND NEARBY, PROMOTED SITES

To find the Promoted Sites, please go to the following links to the Borough website.

WELWYN – 2019 Promoted sites

RURAL NORTH – 2019 Promoted sites

OAKLANDS & MARDLEY HEATH – 2019 Promoted sites

DIGSWELL – 2019 Promoted sites

WOOLMER GREEN – 2019 Promoted sites

Cash – Don’t Throw it Away

The Commercial Case

The whole village was shocked when we learned that Barclays Bank was to remove their ATM in Church Street, when the Branch itself closed (‘for commercial reasons’) on 29th March 2019.

High level meetings were organised with our MP and senior representatives of the Bank to try to get the Bank to change their minds.

Perhaps we could negotiate?

But the 29th June proved to be an inauspicious date for anybody with the word ‘negotiate’ in their minds!

Who are the Losers?

It isn’t just retailers, businesses and others, particularly the elderly, who used the Bank branch on a regular basis, and who are left high and dry when it comes to meeting their normal banking needs. Just about everybody is now left with the need to make alternative arrangements to meet their need for cash.

At a Parish Council meeting, one Councillor famously suggested that villagers without a car could catch a bus up London Road to the BP garage to use their ATM! No further comment is needed on that one.

But some 1,184 local people signed a petition organised by Christina Raven saying that they wanted to keep an ATM, and it is on that basis that a few things are happening.


The Welwyn Parish Council Response

The Welwyn Parish Council have agreed in principle that the only practical alternate site in Welwyn Village would be at the Civic Centre in Prospect Place, and they await the results of a special Barclays Bank survey to learn if the Bank will agree.

The Parish Council also arranged for the Bank to use the Interview Room in St Mary’s Church House, on Tuesday mornings when the Hall is open for the Community Cafe, which has a regular assembly of many elderly villagers. But this is not for cash transactions.

The Barclays Response

The Bank survey of the Civic Centre site can be expected to cover many aspects including access and security for Bank Staff, (who have to service the machine), and for Bank customers themselves because the site could be considered vulnerable, even though perhaps no less vulnerable than the original site in Church Street.

Tesco Stores Response

Tesco Store in the High Street is the only other alternative option should the more favoured Civic Centre be adjudged ‘unsuitable’ either by the Parish Council or by Barclays Bank. Tesco management are still considering the prospect of using their Store, but there are clearly serious issues that they would have to address.

Your Response – Have your Say

So, in anticipation of a decision (yet to be forthcoming from Barcays) how will the Parish Council decide whether the Civic Centre site is ‘suitable’ in their eyes?

The fact that 1184 villagers signed the Petition to say that they want to keep an ATM in Welwyn would seem to be a clear enough message – but the Parish Council needs to be convinced.

The Welwyn Parish Council are therefore to raise the question at their Annual Parish Assembly on Wednesday evening 17th April, which starts at 7.30 pm. at the Welwyn Civic Centre.

So – if you have strong views on the matter, whether or not you signed the Petition, you are encouraged to attend the Welwyn Parish Council Annual Assembly on Wednesday 17th April 2019 to voice your views.

Water Water everywhere but (perhaps) not a drop to drink?

The following is extracted from papers produced by Affinity Water.

Within the next five years and beyond there may not be enough water to meet increases in demand, unless we make some changes.

Affinity Water have recently completed a Public Consultation to ensure that there is enough water for future generations. They now invite you to respond to their revised draft Water Resources Management Plan (dWRMP) further consultation.

Doing nothing is not an option.

We need to act now to ensure there is enough for future generations. Affinity Water plans include:

  • Helping customers reduce their water usage
  • Fixing even more leaks
  • Further improving rare chalk streams
  • Building a new reservoir to store water
  • Transferring water from another area via an existing canal
  • Working with other water companies to solve the challenge.

Affinity Water need your views to help shape our service to you. Their consultation period runs from 1 March – 26 April 2019.

Go to the Consultation Document and have your say on our plans to meet this challenge! Affinity Water really do want to hear your views.

Click here to have your say – it will only take a few minutes

Community Cafe – from strength to strength

Ian Skidmore reports on the success of 2018

The Community Cafe makes a surplus each year. The surplus has grown slightly over the years even though the cost of coffee, biscuits and teacakes has increased. This is because, as the message gets around, more people come here on Tuesday  and also because increasingly people come back for second helpings!

The surplus this year was a little over £1200, this is divided between the PCC who provide the facility and the Parish Plan. The Parish Plan share goes towards the projects we run.

Go to the Parish Plan Group for more information about the background to the formation of the Community Cafe, and a fuller report for 2018.

Herts Police & Crime Commissioner – wants to hear from you

Those of you on the Neighbourhood watch OWL system will have received the following notification a few days ago. (If you are not on the OWL system please go to https://www.owl.co.uk to register).

Dear Watch Member,

Hertfordshire’s PCC is refreshing his Community Safety and Criminal Justice Plan: Everybody’s Business and wants to hear your views.

At the beginning of his second term, Police and Crime Commissioner, David Lloyd, set out his ambition and vision for community safety and criminal justice across the county over the coming years.

The Commissioner is starting the process of refreshing his Plan that will lead to a refreshed edition in spring 2019. He is asking for feedback from the public and partners on the current Plan ahead of consulting on a new version over the coming months.

David Lloyd said:

 “I want to hear the public’s views on the issues that are important to Hertfordshire and what my strategy should continue to prioritise to help me shape the new Plan and direction for the county, so please do take the opportunity to have your say.”

  • What should the PCC’s refreshed Plan continue to focus on over the years ahead?
  • What are the new and emerging issues that should be included in the refreshed Plan?

The public can read the current Plan (http://www.hertscommissioner.org/plan) and share their views by responding to the questions above via email – 

You can also send your comments by Letter to the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, 15 Vaughan Road, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, AL5 4GZ by 10th January, 2019.

Welwyn’s Neighbourhood Plan – an immediate update


A start has been made to undertake online research into the methodology of approach followed by Parish Councils around the country.

At the 20th November 2018 meeting of the WPC Planning & Licensing Committee, a representative from the Codicote Parish Council was invited to share their experiences, which was extremely helpful. 

The Welwyn Parish Council has since established a Neighbourhood Planning Working Party, to be chaired by Cllr Mark Castle, with Ian Skidmore (Chairman Welwyn Parish Planning Group) as Vice-chairman.

It is expected that at least two members of the WPAG Committee will be invited to join the Working Party, and we are advising on suitable wider membership. 

We will report on the progress of this Working Party.

 

WPAG Welcomes the Wilshere Residents Association

On Thursday 25th October 2018, following an approach to the WPAG, the Leader of the newly formed Wilshere Park Residents Association, Mr Dan Ramasamy, was invited to introduce himself to the WPAG Committee.

He explained that the WPRA already have some 100 households signed-up to their Association, who are collectively facing a number of unresolved issues with the developers Linden Homes; issues that include un-adopted Highways, Footpaths and Rights of Way, and other services.

 

The Chair of WPAG, and Committee members spent time explaining the value of our connections within the community built up over the past 50 years, and particularly our role as co-opted members of the Welwyn Parish Council (WPC) Planning & Licensing Committee. It is in that capacity that three members of the WPAG Committee have already been earmarked for inclusion in the Neighbourhood Plan Working Party which it is hoped the WPC will soon agree to progress.

 

It was strongly recommended that the WPRA should aim to be included in the NP process once it starts,and the WPAG Chair therefore invited Dan Ramasamy to join the WPAG Committee, as WPRA’s representative, to ensure that that does indeed happen.

 

Dan Ramasamy was asked to submit an Introductory Statement to the WPAG Editor for publication on the WPAG website, following which the WPAG would be able to help raise awareness of WPRA activities within the Welwyn community by offering a link to the WPAG website www.wpag.org.uk

 

All members of the WPRA are encouraged to sign up to receive occasional WPAG Newsletters.