The Project Manager Reports – London Luton Airport Expansion Consultation

Luton Airport is planning a major expansion.

A Consultation Paper did not reach the Welwyn Parish Council (WPC) until 25th June 2018 with responses required by 31st August, leaving precious little time to study the associated papers and to respond.

As WPAG are co-opted members of the WPC Planning Committee we have been invited to contribute to their response.

However, the dates of scheduled WPC meetings puts pressure on the time left to respond, and the WPAG Committee will therefore prepare a separate WPAG group response.

The Consultation Documents

To read the Main Consultation Paper go to Consultation Paper and for a Summary go to Consultation Summary. Other associated documents include the Feedback Form

These are weighty papers and the WPC Briefing Paper (copied below), is recommended reading for its comparative brevity.

Individual WPAG members who would like to add thoughts and comments, are encouraged to respond directly to the Consultation.

Briefing Paper for the Welwyn Parish Council Planning Committee

The following Briefing Paper has been prepared by Cllr Bill Morris, Chair of WPC and is reproduced here as it provides a very helpful guide which will be of help to WPAG members.

Background

WPC first became aware of this consultation at their 25th June meeting.  Luton Borough Council (whose company – London Luton Airport Limited – own the airport) are consulting with those whose opinions they seek and who may be affected, about their proposals to expand the airport further and a series of public meetings has been drawn up.  The consultation runs until 31 August, with a series of 17 consultation events taking place in and around Luton between 9 July and 4 August. At these events everyone will have the opportunity to view the plans, speak to members of the expert project team, and provide feedback.  The meeting for our locality was to be held on 10 July at Oaklands College WGC from 1400 to 2000.  Given the lack of open advertisement or direct contact and our late discovery of the event, no WPC representative could attend.  Other venues and times are given on their website and members may wish to attend a more remote event.

The website contains a lot of information including proposals, consultation format and a response booklet:  https:/www.luton.gov.uk/news/Pages/Consultation-gets-under-way-on-potential-expansion-of-London-Luton-Airport.aspx

Given that much of the village, Digswell and Oaklands are under the flight paths, many residents (assuming they were aware) may have concerns.  In addition to the obvious air and noise pollution issues, there are also infrastructure questions concerning travelling both to and from the airport and the airport layout itself, when such an expansion is being considered.The Planning & Licensing Committee is invited to consider the issue and this outline reply, with regard to submission to WPC at their July meeting.  The consultation ends on 31 August, with a further round in 2019.

Proposals

Luton Airport is growing faster than predicted and is now the fifth busiest airport in the UK. At its current rate of growth, Luton is forecast to reach its existing permitted capacity of 18 million passengers per annum (mppa) in 2021.  The Council believe it may be possible to handle up to 36-38 mppa (i.e. doubling the throughput.  The major reasons for doing this, as given by the Council are:

  • There is an opportunity for Luton to play a substantially greater role in the UK aviation market, notwithstanding the proposal for a third runway at Heathrow and the proposed expansion at Stansted. (“Why not us”?)
  • Initial estimates are than there could be an increase of up to 800 new jobs for each additional million passengers per year travelling through Luton and an annual boost to the regional economy of £76m. (“Let’s see the calculations and if Herts and a village such as ours really benefits”)
  • The contribution of an expanded Luton to Beds, Bucks and Herts could reach up to £2.6bn and support up to 42,000 jobs. (as per previous statement).

Essentially this all boils down to developing the site to be able to handle a doubling in passenger numbers and presumably in aircraft numbers (large jets are the most significant, the extensive and lucrative private jet market is important but insignificant in these terms.)  This in turn means expansion or re-arranging of: runway(s), terminal building(s), aircraft hangers (servicing/repairs etc.), inter-communication within the airport and passenger transport infrastructure outside the airport and beyond.

[1] Prepared by Bill Morris, Chair WPC, following a request from Colin Hukin, Chair P&L Committee.  The author has lived in Welwyn (near QVM Hospital) for over 32 years, has flown in and out of Luton Airport on business and pleasure all of that time and still continues to do so for pleasure, twice a year.  His home is also under the westbound landing flight path.

Van Gogh Statue – Reception and Unveiling

The WPAG Reception

The sculptor Anthony Padgett attended a WPAG Reception at the Chairman’s home on Friday evening 29th June 2018, attended by invited members of the WPAG Committee, Welwyn Parish Council, and other local organisations and dignitaries who had shown a close interest and support for the project to install the Van Gogh Statue in the village.

He was welcomed by Carl Storer, WPAG Chairman, who  proudly explained the vital role played by the WPAG which had led to the successful formal acceptance by the Welwyn Parish Council..

Anthony acknowledged the involvement of the WPAG Project Manager, Sandra Kyriakides in making this happen and, as a show of his thanks, he presented her with a signed copy of his book ‘A Year with Vincent Van Gogh‘.

 

The Official Unveiling

On Saturday morning, 30th June 2018, Mrs Marion Brown MBE JP, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire joined a gathering of villagers and local Borough and Parish Councillors to officially unveil the Van Gogh sculpture outside Welwyn’s Bridge Cottage Surgery in the High Street.

She was accorded a formal welcome by Councillor Bill Morris, Chairman of Welwyn Parish Council. On behalf of Welwyn residents, Cllr Morris acknowledged the great good fortune offered to the village by Anthony Padgett’s most generous donation of the Van Gogh sculpture, which is in fact the first of his busts to be displayed in England.

Anthony reminded us that Vincent Van Gogh had walked 100 miles to visit his sister, Anna, who was a teacher at Miss Applegarth’s School in Forge Lane, and pondered the thought that Vincent might have bathed his tired feet in the Mimram at the very spot where we have now erected his statue.

 

Committee Vacancies – WPAG Secretary

The Chairman published an appeal for new Committee members in January 2018, and we are delighted that several names have been submitted for consideration at the forthcoming AGM on 11th July 2018 **

But please note that of all the positions that we have to fill, the post of Secretary is probably the most critical at the present time.

If you feel you might help us by filling this role, please contact the Chairman, Carl Storer on ku.gr1534684917o.gap1534684917w@nam1534684917riahc1534684917 to discuss what this job entails.

** Details of the AGM have been published in our June 2018 Newsletter.. If you have not subscribed to receive occasional online Newsletters please do so by following the Newsletters tab on the website.

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The Project Manager Reports – the Neglected Codicote Road pathway

THE CODICOTE ROAD PATHWAY

The pathway between the area alongside the Mimram from Fulling Mill Lane to the first house on the Codicote Road has suffered from total neglect over the past 2 years.  Brambles and weeds encroaching onto the path reduced the width of the walking area to just about 1 foot for pedestrians.

WPAG’s Project Manager persuaded WHBC to strim back the overgrowth in time for the Welwyn Street Market on 16th June.  The job is only partly done – the mud and ivy, together with weed roots remain embedded onto the path and hard work with a shovel is going to be the only effective solution.

WHBC have been made aware of this and we await further information/action.

The Project Manager Reports – Water Abstraction at Singlers Marsh – an Update

AFFINITY WATER ABSTRACTION FROM THE MIMRAM NEAR WELWYN VILLAGE

Background

WPAG’s Project Manager has maintained regular contact with the Environment Agency (EA) in order to keep updated on progress in relation to the Affinity Water abstraction near Welwyn Village.

The EA wrote to WPAG in March 2017, informing us about the interim operating agreement for the pumping station agreed by the EA with Affinity Water.  This agreement was to be in place while searching for a solution to any increase in flood risk caused by permanently ceasing abstraction at the pumping station.

The agreement made a provision to maintain a small constant abstraction with the option to increase abstraction back up to 2016 levels if groundwater reached a certain level (agreed at 95.8 Metres above Ordnance Datum (mAOD)).

Current Abstraction Rate

Affinity Water are not currently abstracting from this pumping station and have not done so since April 2017.  This is because abstracting at the lower rate has not been possible due to required upgrades at the pumping station.  Throughout the period since April 2017, the existing pumps have remained in place, but they have not been used because they are unsuitable for pumping at the lower rate.  The upgrade work is now close to completion and it is expected that Affinity Water will start abstracting again at the lower rate this summer.

Singlers Marsh was very wet this Spring,  this is because of persistent rainfall since the start of 2018 and the subsequent rise in groundwater levels.

 

Groundwater levels at Lilley Bottom observation borehole are currently around 95 mAOD and have been rising steadily since the start of the year.  However, given that we are at the end of the colder wetter months when groundwater recharge usually occurs, it is unlikely that groundwater levels will rise to the 95.8 mAOD trigger level in the next six months.  In most years the peak groundwater level is reached in April or May and then falls through summer and autumn.

Flood Risk Model

The EA are still working on their flood risk model for the Mimram catchment. This has taken far longer than expected due to a number of complications and resourcing issues. This work is now nearing completion and WPAG expects to receive an update later this year.

It was always anticipated that the North end of Singlers Marsh would flood during the wet months and this has not given undue cause for concern.  It will be interesting to see whether the lower rate abstraction will have any effect on the Mimram at the Southern end of Singlers Marsh.  Memories of the dried out river bed and the loss of wildlife still remain and the area is only just beginning to recover to the state it was prior to that.

Water Resources Management Plan

With regard to the Affinity Water Draft WATER Resources Management Plan 2020-2080  consultation 19 MARCH – 23 MAY/Draft BUSINESS Plan 2020-2025 Public consultation 26th APR – 25th MAY,  concern has been expressed to WPAG by wildlife society members that Affinity may be trying to renege on their agreement with the EA to reduce abstraction. This obviously relates to the wider catchment areas of the River Mimram and other chalk streams.

WPAG’s Project Manager asked the EA for comment on these concerns.  Their response was:

We have reviewed Affinity Water’s draft Water Resources Management Plan and provided our advice to the company. The plan put forward two options for the level of abstraction reductions that will be carried out between 2020 and 2025. Our understanding is that both of these options include the previously agreed abstraction reduction for the Mimram.

One of the options did include a lower level of abstraction reduction for some other rivers in the Affinity Water operating area. Our advice to the company was to go with the plan that has the previously agreed level of abstraction reduction for all rivers. The company will provide a statement of response this summer to indicate how they have taken this advice and that of other respondents to the consultation on board.

Next Step

The EA will advise WPAG when the statement from Affinity Water becomes available and further relevant information will be posted on the WPAG website in due course.

 

The Project Manager Reports – Support the Oaklands Campaign for a Playground

THE CAMPAIGN FOR A PLAYGROUND IN OAKLANDS NEEDS SUPPORT FROM LOCAL MUMS

This is a message from the Oaklands Playground Team

Calling mums of youngsters in the Oaklands area.  Vicky Turkentine is looking for support with her campaign to establish a playground in the Oaklands area.  As you know, there is nothing for young ones at present and this is a facility that is very much lacking for local residents.

Please check out her website and help her in any way you can.  She is totally dedicated to this project and has put much time and effort into researching a suitable location.

 

The Project Manager Reports – WPAG Secures the Return of Van Gogh to Welwyn

GENEROUS DONATION TO WELWYN VILLAGE OF A VAN GOGH BUST BY AWARD-WINNING SCULPTOR, ANTHONY PADGETT

The Offer – almost rejected.

Vincent Van Gogh’s sister Anna lived and worked in Welwyn, (Miss Applegarth’s School in Forge Lane) and her brother walked a 100-mile journey to visit her here in June 1876 and there are plaques in the village to commemorate that journey.

Copyright Anthony Padgett

In February 2018 year, sculptor, artist and author, Anthony Padgett wrote to Welwyn Hatfield Borough Councillors, and other official organisations, generously offering a cold-cast bust of Vincent Van Gogh.to match similar offers made to other areas associated with Van Gogh’s life and travels in Belgium, France and England.

But the Welwyn Invitation almost went off the rails because Mr Padgett’s email to our local Councillors went without acknowledgement or reply!

Thankfully the Chairman of the Welwyn Garden City Society, Will Davis, recognised that the historical connection was in fact with Welwyn village and, after contacting WPAG’s Project Manager Sandra Kyriakides and receiving an emphatic assurance of our interest, he immediately gave Anthony Padgett contact details for Sandra and the Welwyn Plannng & Amenity Group.

The Sculptor and his Project

During 2017, Mr Padgett  studied the legacy of Van Gogh, then created a  sculpture and 67 oil paintings to parallel and contrast Van  Gogh’s life with his own.

The key work of the project was an award winning sculpture based on a detailed analysis of all Van Gogh’s self-portraits.  Everyone has an idea of what Van Gogh looked like although all the many images of him differ.  Anthony Padgett attempts to balance many of the different elements.  The sculpture has been praised by the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam as “very remarkable indeed.”

Action This Day

Without delay, Sandra contacted Anthony Padgett to confirm Welwyn’s interest and subsequently set up liaison between him and Welwyn Parish Council Chairman, Bill Morris.

From then on, it has been “All Systems Go” and the official unveiling ceremony of the Van Gogh bust will take place on Saturday 30th June 2018

Welwyn is extremely fortunate to have such an appropriate sculpture to add to its many Heritage sites of public interest.

Unveiling Ceremony – Saturday 30th June 2018 – Bridge Cottage Surgery 

An unveiling ceremony is to take place in front of Bridge Cottage Surgery in Welwyn High Street  by Mrs Marion Brown MBE, JP, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire,

The ceremony commences at 1030 am followed by a Reception at the Civic Centre hosted by the Welwyn Parish Council.

Welwyn Parish Council – Press Release

Unveiling ceremony of the Van Gogh bust on Saturday 30th June 2018

 The ceremony for the unveiling of the Van Gogh sculpture by Mrs Marion Brown MBE JP Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire will take place on Saturday 30th June 2018.

 The ceremony will begin from at 10.30am at the ford area of the River Mimram in the High Street (in front of the Bridge Cottage Surgery opposite the High Street Car Park), where the Chairman of Welwyn Parish Council, Cllr Bill Morris, will say a few words, followed by the artist, Anthony Padgett.

The official ceremony will take place at 11am when Mrs Marion Brown will officially unveil the sculpture.

 Following the ceremony, everyone is invited to move to the Civic Centre in Prospect Place for refreshments and an opportunity to view up close a copy of the sculpture.

The sculpture has been donated by the artist Anthony Padgett who has made a number of cold-cast busts of Vincent Van Gogh which he has donated to areas associated with the artist life (including Belgium, France and England). In 1876 Van Gogh walked 100 miles from Ramsgate to Welwyn to visit his sister Anna who lived in the village.

 

 

The Project Manager Reports -The Local Plan Threatens

LOCAL PLAN UPDATE:

 

The latest edition of the Welwyn Hatfield Local Plan Newsletter is now available.

Note that the current assessment of housing needs is now 16000, i.e. 3500 more than when the Plan was submitted!

WHBC will be looking at what bits of Green Belt they can now build on.

We need to object to any further development in the villages in the Northern part of the Borough – we are pretty much at capacity with what is already planned.

The Borough Council should be asked to look again at the huge amounts of space around Cuffley and Brookmans Park where development would be more suitable, nearer to London and transport links, and with the possibility to provide suitable infrastructure.

In Welwyn, our roads just cannot take any more traffic!  Our schools cannot take any more children; our doctors’ surgeries are full and the Lister Hospital A & E is running almost at capacity.   That is just the tip of the iceberg.

The local election has left the same group in control of WHBC, albeit only just.   They are responsible for the current situation and for finding solutions.  We will need to keep a very close eye on their proposals.

Sandra Kyriakides

Project Manager

Welwyn Planning & Amenity Group

 

May 2018

 

Committee Vacancies – Appeal for help from the Chairman

WPAG COMMITTEE – NOTICE TO MEMBERS: 

WE HAVE COMMITTEE VACANCIES AND WE NEED YOUR HELP!

Since the 1960’s, the Welwyn Planning & Amenity Group Committee members have worked on behalf of the community to ensure that issues connected with Planning, Community Safety, Heritage and Environment in the Welwyn Parish are fully researched and acted upon.

The Committee has ensured that the WPAG Membership is kept fully informed on matters of importance.

The WPAG website keeps members updated with newsletters and bulletins, together with links to other Welwyn-based organisations and local events.

The Committee has remained constant for several years.   The work is enjoyable and is not onerous.  We meet only a few times a year. Up to two WPAG Committee members are co-opted onto each meeting of the WPC Planning and Licensing Committee, which meets once every 3 weeks and, as only two are needed at a time, we rotate our attendance according to convenience. Shared among a full committee, the duties are minimal.

Very sadly, over the past 12 months we have lost several committee members through ill-health and death.  We are therefore urgently seeking four new Committee Members.

If you feel you could spare a little time to join the committee of what is a very worthwhile group, we would love to talk to you.

You would be doing something very worthwhile for your community whilst having the opportunity to get involved in helping to maintain the status quo of our beautiful village.

Please contact: ku.gr1534684917o.gap1534684917w@nam1534684917riahc1534684917

The Project Manager Reports – Parking and Road Works update

From the Project Manager

UPDATE ON PARKING ISSUES:

Residents have commented on the increased presence of parking control officers in Welwyn Village for the past couple of months.

Parking surveillance requested by Welwyn Parish Council, and organised by Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, has been only 2 days a week for a long time.  There has been no request for an increase in surveillance from WPC, so one may only assume that this was instigated by WHBC.

A considerable number of tickets have been issued.  This in itself is not a bad thing if it discourages long-term parking on the High Street by those who could leave a car all day in Whitehill Car Park; and leaves space for residents to park during the permissible 1½ hour slot.

However, it may be that WHBC are looking again at changing Welwyn’s parking arrangements and/or introducing charges.  This would be a disaster for our High Street businesses and a great inconvenience for residents and visitors, who sustain the vibrant economy of our lovely village.  I will keep a close watch on the situation and will report further if there are any developments.

MEANWHILE, there have also been issues of parking tickets being issued in the Welwyn High Street car park to drivers who have parked in the narrow, undefined space at the bottom of it.  Welwyn Parish Council have agreed that, although not clearly defined as a parking space, there is no reason why cars should not park there.  In addition, there is no signage or marking of any kind to indicate that one should not park there.  WPC feel that optimum use should be made of the car park and that the smaller space can accommodate a small car or bike without problem.  THEREFORE, anyone who has been issued with a ticket for parking in that spot should definitely challenge the ticket.

PARKING AT WELWYN CIVIC CENTRE

In response to complaints from residents to Welwyn Parish Council about the lack of parking spaces at the Civic Centre for library users, WPC has decided to enforce the closure of the barrier at 23:00 nightly and, more importantly, not opening it until 09:30.  They hope this element of control will reduce the number of all-day parkers/commuters and will review the situation after two months.  Other options may be considered such as reserving certain spaces for Library users only and extending warden coverage to enforce.

PARKING IN LOCKLEYS DRIVE CAR PARK

The difficulty in parking in Lockleys is car park has been discussed in detail with WPC.  The issue is still under debate, primarily because any change to the existing conditions would be subject to a TRO (Traffic Regulation Order) and mandatory consultation; the cost of which would be approximately £10,000.

Suggestions have been to allocate half of the site for all-day parking and the other half with a time restriction, e.g. 3 hours.  The WPAG will update the website as and when any decisions are made.

ROADWORKS

Starting on Monday 15th January, patch repair works commenced along the Codicote Road.  This is a temporary repair and I was advised by those doing the work that the road will be closed again sometime in the summer for a complete resurface.

The Highways Group put up diversion signs taking traffic a long way round to avoid the Codicote Road.  Although the diversion signs moved traffic away from Fulling Mill Lane locals, as well as trucks, vans and lorries, used Fulling Mill Lane as a cut-through resulting in traffic chaos, damage to gardens and verges, and many frayed tempers.

The episode has been brought to the attention of Herts County Council, with the request that, when the road is resurfaced in the summer, there needs to be a plan for the traffic management of Fulling Mill Lane.

Sandra Kyriakides

PROJECT MANAGER, WELWYN PLANNING AND AMENITY GROUP

ku.gr1534684917o.gap1534684917w@reg1534684917anamt1534684917cejor1534684917P1534684917

Tel : 07802 725423