The Project Manager Reports – Banking in the Village

The outside the bank photo shows L – R :  Cllr Tony Kingsbury (Leader Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council), Sandra Kyriakides (Welwyn Planning & Amenity Group), Grant Shapps MP, Jane Carr (St Mary’s Church), Delene Miller (Welwyn Post Office)

The outside the bank photo shows L – R :  Cllr Tony Kingsbury (Leader Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council), Sandra Kyriakides (Welwyn Planning & Amenity Group), Grant Shapps MP, Jane Carr (St Mary’s Church), Delene Miller (Welwyn Post Office)

PRESS RELEASE                                      09 March 2019

WELWYN TO LOSE ITS ONLY BANK AT THE END OF MARCH

Barclays Bank’s scheduled closure will go ahead on 29th March.  This is despite the Petition co-ordinated by Christina Raven, bearing 1184 signatures, which asks that the bank should stay open for a few more years.

At a meeting with Barclays on Friday 8th March, Grant Shapps MP presented the petition on behalf of the community to Donna Hagan-Grenfell, Community Banking Director.  Also present were Cllr Tony Kingsbury, Leader of Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, Sandra Kyriakides for the Welwyn Planning & Amenity Group, Jane Carr for St Mary’s Church and Delene Miller, proprietor of Welwyn’s Post Office.  Lisa Webb, Barclays Community Relations Officer and Dean Body, Director of Business Banking at Welwyn Garden City were also present.

Grant Shapps spelled out the major issues that the closure of the Bank will create.   These are of great concern to the local community and Mr Shapps asked that Barclays find ways to help the community in the short-term, until long-term solutions are implemented.

Sandra Kyriakides pointed out that the nearest banks to Welwyn are either 4 miles away in Welwyn Garden City or 5 miles away in Stevenage.  This can involve half a day on buses for the elderly and less able, for whom Barclays in Welwyn has been a lifeline for so many years.  She also said that the defibrillator needs to be as near to its current location as possible as this is the part of the village with the highest footfall.  She raised the concern of businesses that operate mainly on a cash basis and the problems they will have.

Dona Hagan expressed a willingness to help on behalf of Barclays.  She was unable to give definitive answers at the meeting but will be seeking approval for the suggestions made and will report back to those present at the meeting as soon as possible.

The meeting was very positive.  Agreement, in principle, was reached for the following:

  1. The ATM machine is to be relocated to a suitable site within Welwyn Village and will be paid for and maintained by Barclays, provided they can do this without incurring a rental charge.  Barclays will endeavour to keep the current machine operational until then.  Grant Shapps stressed that there must be no break in availability of cash provision.
  • The Defibrillator can remain on the wall of the Barclays Bank building until approval for the new site is finalised and Barclays will continue to supply the electrical connection.  This could take some months.   Barclays has agreed to cover the cost of moving and reinstalling the defibrillator.
  •  A Banking Assistance service will be provided by Barclays for as long as is appropriate to those who need help with online banking procedures.  This will be of particular benefit to the older members of the community who are less mobile or unsure of technology.  St Mary’s Church has offered space in Church House to run these sessions on Tuesday mornings when Community Café meets.
  • Businesses that are Barclays customers are invited to contact Dean Body at Welwyn Garden City to discuss arrangements that may be possible for provision and collection of cash, called “Business Collect”.  Dona Hagan also agreed to investigate the possibility of providing this service to the Charity Shop and Church.

Although Barclays’ decision is irreversible and the loss of the bank will be difficult for Welwyn, they are at least listening to the problems that losing the bank will cause to the village and seem to be willing to help.

Our thanks to Grant Shapps MP for his support and to Christina Raven for all her work putting together the Petition, which Barclays say they will acknowledge.

Sandra Kyriakides

Project Manager

Welwyn Planning & Amenity Group


Van Gogh – Welwyn’s bust is part of a wide community

The following report has been produced by the sculptor, Anthony Padgett, who provided this photo..

In total there are 7 of the sculptures (each in England, France, Holland and Belgium.

The locations were chosen after careful research into the life of Van Gogh.

Europe mainland:

  • Espace Van Gogh in Arles (to be unveiled on 9th March 2019), France, where Van Gogh lived as an artist 1888-1889 in the Yellow House and where he infamously cut his ear off
  • the Van Gogh Library in Nuenen, Holland, (already sited) where Van Gogh lived at the family home and was an artist 1883-1885
  • in the Borinage in Belgium (to be unveiled 2019) where he was a missionary to the mining community 1878-1879

In the UK – the Four places Vincent lived in the UK:

  • Brixton (already sited) Art Dealer 1873-1875,
  • Isleworth (to be unveiled 16th March) – Teacher 1876
  • Ramsgate (to be unveiled 15th June) – Teacher 1876
  • Welwyn (already sited) – where he walked 100 miles to visit his sister in 1876.

The work coincides with a resurgance of interest in Van Gogh and the blockbuster exhibition at Tate Britain of Van Gogh’s work which will celebrate his time in England.

Anthony (50 years old) said “I have had a life-long interest in art and was struck by how Van Gogh’s work was so unique and distinctive. This made me want to explore his technique and create my own work as a result. I spent a year creating 80 artworks around Vincent as I wanted to engage in his intensity to gain an insight into his life. This was so I would be better placed to create a sculpture that captured some of his personality. When you look into the sculpture’s eyes you get a glimpse into the soul of a deep and intense visionary.”

For further details contact the artist:

Anthony Padgett 0790 2342448

ku.oc1561069318.ooha1561069318y@tte1561069318gdapd1561069318ynoht1561069318na1561069318

The Project Manager Reports – Pavements and Pathways – a Response

Further to my recent post on Nextdoor, I’ve received a lot of replies complaining about pavements and pathways. I spoke with County Councillor Richard Smith today and he will be happy to help in any way he can. He also suggests that you go onto the Herts CC website: ku.vo1561069318g.ccs1561069318treh@1561069318tceri1561069318dstre1561069318h1561069318 and lodge your complaint, or phone them on 0300 123 4047.

County Councillor Smith also asks that you let him know so that he can push for action where it is needed. I will be passing all the complaints I have received on to him, but many of them do not have full contact addresses and names so it would be helpful for him if you could email him or phone him. Many thanks. Sandra Kyriakides,

Welwyn Planning & Amenity Group29 Jan · Welwyn in General

The Project Manager Reports – Pavements and Pathways

The Welwyn Planning & Amenity Group is compiling a list of pavements and pathways in our Parish that are in need of repair/attention. You can help by letting me know if there are any such issues in your area. We hope to then bring the matter to the attention of the appropriate local authorities and will do all we can to get action where it is needed.

Many thanks for your assistance. Sandra Kyriakides

Please email me at ku.gr1561069318o.gap1561069318w@reg1561069318anamt1561069318cejor1561069318p1561069318

The Local Plan – a message for Welwyn Parish Council

The following is drafted by Sandra Kyriakides.

WPAG believes that in the context of further WHBC Green Belt Study – Stage 3 called for by the Inspector, (see the WHBC December Local Plan Newsletter) the WPC should reiterate to WHBC by the 20th December 2019 deadline, the major concerns we have for any development in Welwyn – particularly on Green Belt sites – other than those that have already been agreed.

We argue this case on the basis of: 

  • the total lack of infrastructure to support further development
  • regular peak hour gridlock at the Clock roundabout 
  • major redevelopment plans in Codicote (and further afield at Langley) which will increase traffic flow along the B656, which is already overcapacity at peak periods
  • the recent approval of a housing development at the former Entech site in Woolmer Green and traffic flows on the B197
  • lack of adequate medical provision for an increased population – Lister and QEII Hospitals are running at capacity – and 3-week waiting for GP appointments in local surgeries.

The Welwyn Neighbourhood Plan – Where does Welwyn stand?

NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN

The following is drafted by Sandra Kyriakides

This is a new power available to local councils, introduced by the Localism Act 2011.

If Welwyn Parish Council decides to proceed with a Neighbourhood Plan, this would enable control over the definition of future type and location of development.

An adopted Neighbourhood Plan would become part of the statutory development plan.

The local planning authority (i.e. WHBC) has a duty to support those creating neighbourhood plans.

With the introduction of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), if in possession of an adopted Neighbourhood Plan, WPC would be entitled to a payment of 25% uncapped.  Without a plan it would receive a payment equal to 15% capped to £100 per dwelling.

If the Parish Council does not have a Neighbourhood Plan, WHBC would receive uncapped payments equal to 25%.

If a Neighbourhood Plan is produced by another organisation (i.e. not the Parish Council) within the community, payments would be subject to consultation with the local authority.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT FOR WELWYN NOT TO HAVE A NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN:

  • WHBC WOULD THEN RECEIVE ALL MONEYS ON BUILDING WITHIN OUR PARISH TO SPEND AS THEY WISH.
  • WELWYN WOULD HAVE NO CONTROL OVER FUTURE BUILDING PROJECTS.

Welwyn Parish Council is undecided as to whether it will proceed to produce a Neighbourhood Plan because of (a) the cost implication and (b) the amount of work required to do so.

However, a working party has been set up by WPC, currently lead by Cllr Mark Castle.  The Clerk is working with Cllr Castle on the Terms of Reference for the group.   The group will examine the pros and cons of having a plan and put forward their recommendation to WPC which will then discuss this at a meeting.  If the decision is to proceed, volunteers from members of the public with specific skills in planning/architecture as well as from local action groups will be sought, to help produce the plan.

WPAG CONSIDERS IT IS VITAL THAT THERE IS A NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN AND THAT WPC WOULD BE REMISS IN ITS PUBLIC DUTY TO THE COMMUNITY IF IT FAILS TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THIS.

The Local Plan – Next Steps

The following draft has been prepared by Sandra Kyriakides

A report to Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel (CPPP) on Thursday (13 December) outlines how the council will seek to meet the objectively assessed need for 16,000 new homes in the borough to 2033.

Members are set to consider the next steps in the development of the borough’s Local Plan, including a further call for new sites.

It follows a request from the government’s planning inspector to carry out a further study assessing the borough’s green belt to find more land for housing. This work assessed the likely impact of development on the green belt, identifying that the borough’s housing need can only be met in full if the council considers land where development would have high impact.

The report to CPPP recommends a call for new sites in the hope that more will come forward in lower harm areas. These will be published for public comment and council officers will then assess sites for their suitability for development. A decision will then be made on which sites are added to the plan for consideration by the inspector.

Cllr Stephen Boulton, Executive Member for Planning, said: “For our plan to move forwards, we must prove to the inspector that we’ve explored all possible options to deliver the level of growth the borough needs for the future.”

“A call for sites in the New Year will give us the best chance of producing a sound plan, a plan that balances the protection of our green belt with the need to deliver the new homes, jobs, services and infrastructure our children and grandchildren will rely on.”

Members will also agree a new timetable, which would see a four week call for new sites in January 2019, followed by sites being published for six weeks of public comment in February and March. It is hoped the plan will now be adopted in spring 2020.

To read the full report, visit the council’s website.

The Project Manager Reports – Welwyn’s Heritage Trail

The following report was drafted by Sandra Kyriakides

THE WELWYN HERITAGE TRAIL

Welwyn’s Heritage Trail was established a few years ago by the Welwyn Archaelogical Society with Lottery Funding.  Sadly, the website has not functioned for some time due to a loss of management, and lack of funding.

Through our active involvement with the Welwyn Parish Council’s Community Engagement Committee, WPAG has stepped in to manage this Project, aided by a generous donation of funds from the Welwyn Parish Plan Group. The aim is to restore this valuable guide to Welwyn’s heritage.

As a result, WPAG is currently working with volunteer local IT designers with the purpose of restoring the Welwyn Heritage Trail early in 2019.

The Danesbury Victorian Fernery and grotto

The Van Gogh Bust

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The opportunity will be taken to add two more sites to Welwyn’s Heritage Trail, to inform visitors and direct them to their location.

Sandra Kyriakides – Project Manager

The Project Manager Reports – Van Gogh – a Project Update

The following report was posted by Sandra Kyriakides

VAN GOGH PROJECT

You will all be aware of the role of WPAG in bringing the Van Gogh bust to the village. (See  the earlier post)

The sculptor, Anthony Padgett, has since suggested that the places that receive one of his Van Gogh bust donations (including Welwyn) might like to form a link with one another.

We have therefore been in communication with the Municipal Council of Arles, (Van Gogh’s home town in France) who have voted to accept Anthony’s kind offer.  They have been reminded of our (Welwyn) bust and suggested they might consider forming a cultural link with Welwyn in relation to our shared interest and history with Van Gogh.

The President of the Van Gogh Association, Vincent Ramon has written confirming that they would very much like to do this.

Anthony Padgett’s latest installation of Van Gogh sculpture work was unveiled in Brixton on 17th November.   (See The Art Newspaper)

The story of the project and photos of the bust of Vincent Van Gogh was in the national press Sunday Telegraph (a big half page photo) on 25th November.  It gives some excellent publicity for the Van Gogh Walk and the sculpture – and marked the event on a national level.  Welwyn was mentioned.

WPAG will be liaising with administrators at all sites with a view to establishing a link between all of them and ourselves.

The whole project is quite exciting and there will be a Tate Britain exhibition of Van Gogh’s work in March 2019.   We are in contact with Martin Bailey, the curator, to explore the possibility of including a reference to the Welwyn connection.

 

The Project Manager Reports – the poor State of our Local Pavements/Pathways

The following Report was drafted by Sandra Kyriakides

CONDITION OF LOCAL PAVEMENTS/PATHWAYS

WPAG is conducting a survey of local pavements and pathways that are in bad or poor condition.

If you know of any problem locations – please tell us.

Input from you is vital so, if there are any in your area, please email the location details to ku.gr1561069318o.gap1561069318w@reg1561069318anamt1561069318cejor1561069318p1561069318

We will record all reported details in our dossier, and WPAG will then raise the matter with those responsible for their maintenance.