Rose & Crown, Church St, Welwyn

Residents will no doubt be aware that the Rose and Crown has been closed for almost a year, awaiting a major £500k refurbishment; the aim being to be more of a gastropub, appealing to a wider audience.  The current operators have done a good job of communications and supporting local initiatives during Covid19 times and the majority of people seem very positive about the future of the site;  being relieved no attempts are being made for residential development there.

However, the inescapable fact is that the Rose and Crown is surrounded by residential properties.  In the light of this, their application for a license to serve at weekends until 1:00am (closing at 1:30am) needs to be looked at very seriously and the following questions asked:

  • How does the parking provision available in the Rose and Crown car park tie up with the number of customers anticipated?  There is no spare parking in the village at night, so further increases in cars looking for street parking could cause congestion.  There is no public transport available to diners/revellers late in the evening.
  • Will due consideration be given to the right to sleep of the residents of the houses nearby and in Mill Lane opposite, down which people would walk if Rose and Crown customers were to use the Civic Centre as an overflow car park?   People exiting the premises at 1:30am, chatting loudly, could cause disturbance and nuisance in a small village where sound travels widely at night, especially in the summer.
  • As the intention is also to use the newly refurbished barn for events such as weddings or large parties, what provision would be made for adequate on-site parking, and noise limitation?
  • Will this application, if granted, set a precedent?   It would be difficult to refuse the other establishments in the village from requesting the same late hours.
  • Do residents agree that midnight closing on Friday and Saturday, not later, and normal trading hours for the rest of the week would be reasonable?

There is no doubt that there is a careful balance to be struck here with supporting commercial activity in our village and protecting the rights of those living in the adjacent area that will be affected.

As the Notices regarding the Licensing Application have been displayed outside the premises during the Christmas period, and during our Tier 4 restrictions, it is possible that many residents may not have seen them.

Residents wishing to comment on the application, should write direct to WHBC:

– There is a 28-day consultation, which ends on the 19th of January 2021.  All responsible agencies, (i.e. police, environmental health, fire and rescue, etc.), have been notified so that they can consider the application.

– Anyone can submit a representation. To be valid, this must be in relation to one or more of the Licensing Objectives.  These are:  Preventing Crime and Disorder, Public Nuisance, Public Safety and Protecting Children from Harm.   The person making the representation should state why he/she feels that any of these objectives would be undermined by this application.

– The representation must be submitted by 19th January.  It can be in the form of an email to > for the attention of James Moatt (Licensing Technical Officer). The representation must be signed, which can be done electronically, and the person making the representation must provide their name and address.

– If a representation is submitted then the application is halted pending a licensing hearing with WHBC’s Licensing Committee who will determine the application i.e. grant/grant with conditions/refuse.

– On receiving a representation the licensing officer must inform the applicant who is entitled to be given the details of the representation and the name and address of the person submitting it (unless there is good reason for not doing so).

– The licensing officer can facilitate communication between the person making the representation and the applicant so that any issues can be discussed and potentially resolved. If issues are resolved and the representation is withdrawn then the application can continue without a hearing unless of course other representations are submitted and not resolved. If the representation is not withdrawn then the application will go to a hearing.  The hearing must take place within 28 days after the 19th of January 2021.  

Sandra Saunders

Chairman

Welwyn Planning & Amenity Group

Date for AGM

Wednesday 13 January 2021 7:45pm on Zoom

Due to the Covid restrictions our AGM will have to be held remotely on Zoom.If you would like to attend please email to register your interest. And we will forward your invitation link in time for the meeting.

Good News update on Local Plan

There was a full council meeting of WHBC, on Monday, 24th November, which considered a revised version of the borough-wide Local Plan.

This plan contains no new sites around Welwyn, and so does not encroach on Singlers Marsh or the cemetery. It also reduced the total target for new homes over the next 20 years across WHBC from 16,000 to 13,800.

This plan was approved by the full council and has now been sent to the official Inspector for consideration. Though this is still a way off being finalised, it is a really good step forward. Although the vote was not unanimous, it was supported by all of Welwyn’s borough councillors.

WPAG continues to monitor this process. We also feel that the campaign to register Singlers Marsh as a Village Green should continue – it is not yet protected from development, and we have yet to come across any practical reason not to do this.

Finally, although the campaign against the extra sites that were proposed for the Local Plan last year has been successful, it has obscured the fact that many in Welwyn still want to see new homes built here, especially affordable ones for which extra village infrastructure is provided. There will hopefully now be discussions between the various bodies to capture this need in the new plans for the area that will emerge from the parish and borough councils.

November 2020 Chairman’s Report

WPAG’s activities have continued, despite the limitations of COVID.  Our Vice Chairman has done splendid work on matters relating to Welwyn High Street and the Local Plan.  He has also carefully researched the regulations with regard to the prospective application for Singlers Marsh to have Village Green status.  All these matters are currently in various stages of consultation or action and, when we have definite results to report, we will issue an update.

Two new Committee Members will join WPAG this month: Mary Williamson and Geoffrey Yates.  We look forward very much to working with them.

I am delighted to announce the appointment of our new Treasurer, Howard Norfolk who will take over from our Secretary Karen Chater.  Our thanks to Karen for taking on two roles and holding the fort for the past year; and also to John Roper for his valiant efforts to keep our accounts up to date during our two years without a Treasurer.

Now that we have changed Banks, from Barclays to Lloyds, and established a new Financial Year to run from 1st January, our accounting life should be far simpler.  The Charities Commission have accepted our changes and will now expect submission of our Annual Report to them by the end of January 2021.  WPAG will therefore hold its AGM early in January 2021 to accept the Treasurer’s Annual Report and Accounts.  Barry Northrup has again kindly offered to verify the accounts as he did last year.

Our Website and Facebook page have been well looked after by David Cheek and our membership has grown steadily.  The readership of our Newsletter has also increased and we greatly appreciate the interest and support of the community.

As ever, WPAG has worked closely with Welwyn Parish Council, WHBC and Herts CC.  This has covered many local issues: Welwyn High Street, local Planning Applications, Consultations on Highways, Luton Airport Expansion and the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), the Local Plan and very importantly the Neighbourhood Plan.

Welwyn’s Neighbourhood Plan will be of vital importance to us for the future.  A comprehensive questionnaire, (which WPC will distribute in the near future) will ask residents to respond fully.  WPAG Committee Members are members of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group that Welwyn Parish Council has established.  The Local Plan is nearing the point of acceptance or rejection.  Production of our Neighbourhood Plan will then be vital to the protection of our beautiful Parish for future generations, as well as providing us with the means to access a percentage of CIL payments and to influence the specific local use of funds obtained.

WPAG therefore urges residents to take the time to complete and return the questionnaire when it comes out as soon as possible; anyone who would like to join the working party to help us to create our Neighbourhood Plan should contact Cllr. Bill Morris at WPC.

Our Committee has been unable to meet physically during the many months of lockdown and social distancing restrictions.  Consequently, our contact has been less often and limited to Zoom!   Let us hope that 2021 will soon see us reunited around a meeting table again.

On behalf of the WPAG Committee, I would like to take this opportunity to send seasonal greetings to our members and readers of our Newsletter and Facebook pages.  We wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and safer New Year.

Thank you again for your support.

Chair, Welwyn Planning & Amenity Group

AGM for the Welwyn Planning & Amenity Group postponed to January 2021

Due to a change in our reporting year, the Charity Commission has agreed that the AGM should be postponed to January 2021.

The date will be announced as soon as possible.

If you would like to attend, please email the Chairman, Sandra Kyriakides Saunders at for your invitation with the link to the Zoom meeting.

(Zoom is free to use video meeting website and the link will take you directly to the meeting)

We look forward to seeing you there.

Welwyn High Street – Plea from Welwyn’s Traders

Open Letter to Hertfordshire County Council

We write as one-voice to Hertfordshire County Council Highways & Environment Division with our concerns about the impact the social distancing measures placed in Welwyn High Street is having and will continue to have on the ability of many of us to survive as businesses at this extremely difficult time.

In particular, the imposition of a one-way system in the High Street is extremely damaging in terms of footfall to the village. This is something we have experienced before, in 2009, with the effect of pushing some traders to the edge of survival.

The SAGE advice on the Government’s website regarding environmental transmission of coronavirus points to an extremely low risk of catching Covid-19 by passing someone on a pavement or in a shop for a short period of time.


For the first 9 weeks following lockdown when essential shops were open, the Great
Welwyn Public largely behaved with courtesy, common-sense, and personal obligation to follow social distancing rules without needing barriers to help them do this. These are the only traders that are ever likely to have queues on the pavement, such is the nature of the others that opened after 15th June, and those planning to open from 4th July onwards. Most of the latter will be operating a booking/ appointment system to avoid queues.

Whilst whole-heartedly supporting the need for people to follow social distancing
guidelines, we believe it is perfectly possible in the context of Welwyn Village for customers and staff to do this in a safe way without imposing restrictions that may lead to the demise of yet another High Street in this country. We are all making our businesses Covid-19 secure and will promote social distancing amongst our customers and outside.

Welwyn Village is fairly unique in its make-up of shops, pubs, restaurants, estate agents, hair, beauty and specialist businesses. The cross-fertilisation of footfall from one business to another has always been one of the main reasons for its ability to survive. We know from previous experience that reduction in parking and the necessity to negotiate the bypass for some journeys means that potential customers often simply decide to go elsewhere and footfall is lost, leading to a downturn in revenue which in these difficult times will be catastrophic.


We ask you to think again and support us in trying to get back on our feet.


Yours sincerely,

Belinda Walsingham, Box of Delights, 24 High Street
Susan Bull, SuSu, 21 High Street
Mick Leto, The Barbers Room, 30 High Street
Howard Hill, Hill & Co Violin Shop, 5 High Street
Matheus Gomes, Vita Ristorante, 12 High Street
Wendy Rowley, Welwyn Florist, 29 High Street
Dennis, Katie, Chris & Phill Dinsdale, Katie’s Bakery, 3 High Street
Tricia Conroy Smith, Off Broadway Travel, 18/20 Prospect Place
Filippo Mazzarella, Aqua Restaurant, 28 High Street
Adam Richardson, The White Horse, 30 Mill Lane
Dan Tubbs, The Wellington, 1 High Street
Steven Hastings & Jenny Havill, Lemon Plaice, 21 Church Street
Gill Ewing, Simmons Bakers, 34 High Street
Peter Morgan, Peter Morgan Hairdressing, 4 Codicote Road
Martin Bishop, Bryan Bishop Estate Agent, 6a High Street

Dawn Somerville, Essie & Betsy, 12 Church Street
Tanya Thanyaphon East, Thai Legacy Therapy, 27 High Street
Morwenna McDonald, Welwyn Osteopathy, 27 High Street
Gill Buszmanning, Comfy Soles Chiropody , 27 High Street
Kelvin Dean, Old Welwyn Clinic, 27 High Street
Deniz Gentle, Headmistress Hairdressing, 10 Church Street
Jay Miah, Taj Mahal Restaurant, 2 High Street
Claire Austin, Austin’s Funerals, 16 High Street
Laura Moyes, Laura Kate, 15 High Street
James Bainbridge, The White Hart, 2 Prospect Place
Lisa Green, Belvoir Estate & Lettings Agents, 9 High Street
Marianne Hawes, Danesbury & QVM Charity Shop, 4 High Street
Gobind Singh Lidhar, XO Wine Merchants, 6 High Street

Welwyn High Street – Plea for Consultation from Revd. Dr David Munchin

Open Letter to Hertfordshire County Council

I am writing as the Rector of St Mary’s Welwyn and on behalf of nearly all of the traders in Welwyn village who have signed the attached letter (Ed. see separate Post) about the COVID19 restrictions. I should also add that after the final draft, Austin’s funeral directors, another important local business, wrote to say that they would wish to be included.

Whilst we understand that there was pressure to make quick decisions and that public safety was paramount, we also know that now you are looking to revise arrangements on a semi-permanent basis. As the photograph demonstrates, footfall is now so low in the village that the present measures in place are clearly disproportionate. Therefore as the letter states, we would like to see full consultation with local stakeholders including traders, and a major scaling back of the measures.

If I might add by own alliterative contribution, there are three other concerns: buses, beer and bicycles.

Whichever way the one way system goes, many people, including most of our elderly residents, rely on buses to access the village and its services. They cannot be dropped off half a mile from the doctors surgery, for instance – this needs to be thought through.

Brewery lorries need to access the village (historically Welwyn owes its existence to the coaching inns). In particular a south bound one-way along Mill Lane would mean beer could simply not get to the White Horse, and would make it difficult for other pubs.

Perhaps more personally, any one-way system should make proper provision for cyclists. At the moment I can ride from the church to my house and church school at the other end of the High Street – 200 yards on a village road. Without proper provision this would become nearly a mile along the incredibly busy by pass, three roundabouts, including a ¾ turn at the ‘Clock’ roundabout entrance to the A1M. Hundreds of commuting cyclists use this route, and the risk of a rush hour accident would be very high.

Thank you for reading this. We understand that there are difficult decisions to make, but do be in touch if we can help with on the ground meetings. We are in touch with all the traders and could easily pull a consultation meeting together to help you with your planning.

Yours

David Munchin,

The Rev’d Dr. David Munchin,

Team Rector of Welwyn,

www.welwyn.org.uk

Welwyn High Street – WPAG Protest

Open Letter To Hertfordshire County Council

The Welwyn Planning & Amenity Group has been in regular conversation with Cllr Richard Smith with regard to the current and proposed COVID-19 restrictions in Welwyn village.

It has been our understanding that the current, unsatisfactory, arrangements would be amended as soon as possible. We appreciate that this has had to wait for clarification of central government decisions.

Current Chaos

The truly draconian measures in place are destructive to the community, its lifestyle and its operation.

The High Street traders and shops, as well as residents, are seriously affected by what has been imposed on the village. In order to allow Welwyn to survive at all, the current restrictions need to be reversed and, if another scheme must be introduced, replaced with something as minimally invasive as possible. Residents have coped until now with social distancing and really the only precaution that is necessary is for everyone to wear a face covering when inside a shop and to queue one metre apart where necessary.

The WPAG Position

The Welwyn Planning & Amenity Group fully supports:

We sincerely hope that due account will be given to this matter, urgently.

Yours sincerely,

Sandra Saunders (Kyriakides)

CHAIRMAN, WELWYN PLANNING & AMENITY GROUP

The Draft Local Plan – site allocations

Comments and Response to the Consultation on the proposed changes to the submitted Draft Local Plan 2016 (site allocations) 2020, submitted on behalf of the Welwyn Planning and Amenity Group

WPAG’s comments fall into three parts.

Part 1 – Comments on the overall Draft Local Plan

We agree with the approach taken in revising the Draft Local Plan at the end of January 2020.  The consistent application of this approach’s guiding principles across all proposed developments in the borough is welcomed by WPAG.

We note that the nature of the Local Plan process is such that the development merits or drawbacks of individual sites are considered in detail, whereas the wider implications of a development site on surrounding areas (such as the ability to deliver supporting infrastructure by agencies other than WHBC) are only assessed in broad terms.  It is vital, therefore, that these wider implications are assessed realistically and sufficiently as part of the assessment for each site in the Local Plan.

Those sites for which it is feasible to provide adequate and sustainable infrastructure, as well as passing the other tests inherent in assessing the Local Plan, should be taken forward into the Plan.  Such infrastructure should be deliverable by all its various agencies in keeping with the growing needs of the site as it develops – ie not retrospectively after the end of the development, leaving new residents waiting for it to be delivered.  It should be sympathetic to the needs of its community, both existing and new – WHBC communities are well established and often steeped in history, with strong community identities too, and they should not be provided with inappropriate, insensitive new infrastructure.

Where supporting infrastructure cannot be delivered in a timely manner, or in a form that is relevant to the existing community style and ethos, then that should be a strong reason to reject any new site advanced into the Draft Local Plan.

Part 2a – Sites Wel1, Wel2, Wel6 and Wel15 in Welwyn – Direct comments

These four sites (Wel1, Wel2, Wel6 and Wel15) were not selected for the revised Draft Local Plan, but they were originally offered in the Call for Sites and were considered suitable for allocation by WHBC officers, and so they were submitted to the CPPP meetings in January 2020.  They are still mentioned in Appendix 1 of the submitted Draft Local Plan, and we wish to note several points of concern regarding how these sites are still regarded positively within the process.

We consider the original selection of these four sites to have been inappropriate, and that the assessments of these sites were neither sound nor legal for the following reasons.  The assessment makes it clear that these four sites are only viable if taken together as a bloc.  We have objections both to each site individually (this section), and together (next section).

Looked at individually, the Sustainability Appraisals in the Site Selection assessment (2019) for these four sites contain substantial errors.

For Wel1 and Wel2, under “Significant positives” in the Sustainability Appraisal, it is claimed that issues 4.2 (“Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from transport”) and 4.3 (“Helping to avoid/reduce air pollution”) are both addressed by the sites being “within 400m of four bus stops providing a six day a week service.”  We believe that there are no such bus stops within 400m of any point on these sites.  It appears that this assessment may have incorrectly copied its assertions from other promoted development sites for which they are true (eg Wel 6 and Wel15 are within 400m of bus stops on nearby Codicote Road).  Alternatively, they may be referring to ad hoc bus stops within the Hawbush area of the village which provide small-scale shopping transport to Welwyn Garden City only three times each week – the roads around these bus stops cannot accommodate a full-size bus, and there are not even any physical bus stops in Hawbush.  If so, what the assessment fails to mention is that these bus stops have a total of three timetabled services over the course of an entire week, and this is not a bus service that could be used to ease private car traffic from these developments.  Hence it is incorrect to state that this constitutes a “significantly positive” contribution to these promoted sites’ sustainability.

For each of Wel1, Wel2 and Wel15, issue 6.6 (“Provision of training, skills development and lifelong learning”) in the site selection assessment’s sustainability appraisal is supported by stating that each site “is within walking distance of education establishments”.  The only such establishment (in the singular) is Welwyn St Mary’s Primary School, which provides children’s primary education but neither training, skills development nor lifelong learning in any obvious sense.

For Wel15, the response under “Significant negatives” issue 4.5 (“Conservation/enhancement of the borough’s character, historic environment, and heritage/cultural assets”) fails to make any mention of the major archaeological significance of this site.  Hertfordshire County Council’s experts and the professional archaeological community agree that this location is the likely heart of the original Roman and pre-Roman (Iron Age) settlement that underpins Welwyn’s 2000+ years of history and continual settlement.  The Site Selection assessment makes no mention of this very significant factor against development of Wel15.

WPAG believes that these errors and omissions should be recorded for these four locations, and should be fully considered if the sites are ever brought forward again for development consideration.

Part 2b – Sites Wel1, Wel2, Wel6 and Wel15 in Welwyn – Combined effect on Singlers Marsh

These four sites were considered together as a bloc in the 8th January 2020 WHBC proposals when justifying the proposed changes to the nearby road network to support the additional vehicle traffic arising from these sites.  In the 2019 consultation process, submissions were requested from various statutory, advisory and voluntary bodies about the direct effect of developing each individual site on its own natural environment.  The proposed Draft Local Plan (8th January 2020) assessed these four sites together when considering road network capacity.  Together, it was felt that they warranted widening a stretch of Fulling Mill Lane and replacing the existing Singlers Bridge.  As well as losing the bridge’s charming period character, widening the bridge and the road would have had to be made at the expense of the neighbouring Singlers Marsh, which it was confirmed would yield up some land to accommodate the widened infrastructure.

It is our belief that the possibility of developing part of Singlers Marsh and replacing Singlers Bridge (in order to widen Fulling Mill Lane to provide access to these four sites) was not consulted upon. We have seen no evidence that Opinions from the various organisations that would have a view about the effect of such development were either sought out, or otherwise provided.

In the CPPP session held on 23rd January 2020, during the Q&A session with the borough councillors, Cllr Thusu asked Colin Haigh (WHBC Head of Planning) about residents’ concerns regarding the proposal to widen the lane at the expense of the marsh and the bridge, and whether there had been any consultation with wildlife bodies about it (this question can be seen at 1 hour 39 minutes into the webcast recording of the session, as available on the WHBC website).  Mr Haigh responded (at 1 hour 42 minutes into the recording), saying “We would have consulted key ecological bodies – the Environment Agency, Natural England, and various others: Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust, Hertfordshire Ecology and other local bodies on our database.  And in terms of the regulatory and the statutory bodies (Environment Agency, Natural England side of things) there was nothing particular said that gave us cause that something couldn’t be done in that regard.

The proposal to widen the lane was not included in the 2019 consultation, and was only revealed when the Draft Local Plan was published on 8th January of this year.  It is not obvious how those bodies’ opinions about a January 2020 proposal could have been sought during the 2019 consultation.  Following Mr Haigh’s statement, WPAG made a Freedom of Information request of WHBC to reveal any consultations that had taken place about the proposed widening of the lane at the expense of the marsh and bridge.  WHBC’s response to this FOI request referred only to the responses to the 2019 consultation.

On this evidence, WPAG feels it must therefore conclude that no such consultation actually took place.

Singlers Marsh is formally designated as both a Wildlife Site and a Local Nature Reserve.  The Mimram river which flows through it is a globally rare chalk stream which is known to host an increasingly precarious ecological system.  In fact, the river has dried up twice in the past fifteen years, and is currently still recovering from the most recent such event – we understand that the Environment Agency are not planning to restore rescued fish to the river until 2021 to allow sufficient time to recover from that 2019 drought.  Singlers Marsh also borders the presumed centre of the Roman-era settlement from which the village of Welwyn has grown over the past 2,000 years.  It is therefore of interest to the archaeological community in its own right.  In addition, it received a substantial amount of land spoil from the cutting that was made when nearby Link Road was built – archaeologists now recognise that this spoil will have contained a large amount of archaeological remains from Roman Welwyn, and possibly the Iron Age era that preceded the Roman settlement.

On Fulling Mill Lane itself, by the road junction with Riverside at OS grid reference TL 2294 1643, is a piece of World War 2 archaeology, in the form of a partially buried concrete mortar emplacement (as described on the Archaeology Data Service’s website at https://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archives/view/dob/ai_full_r.cfm?refno=13405).  The ADS is a key UK agency concerned with the preservation of digital records of the historic environment, and its records are referenced internationally by the heritage community.

It appears that none of this rich natural, environmental, archaeological and historical heritage has been considered at all in preparing the 8th January 2020 proposal to widen Fulling Mill Lane in order to provide access to these four possible development sites.

In WPAG’s opinion, it is imperative that all of this be noted on the record, and that it be fully taken into account before any future attempt is made to revive any development possibilities for any site near to Singlers Marsh.  In the absence of any consultations about these matters, it seems clear that any proposal to develop any part of Singlers Marsh or Singlers Bridge, or to modify Fulling Mill Lane, would be neither sound nor legally compliant with the planning process.

Moreover, the entirety of Singlers Marsh is a much loved public amenity enjoyed by a great many local residents, and it plays host to popular community events every year.  During the current coronavirus lockdown, access to its open land surrounded by fields and low density housing has never been more enjoyed in living memory.  Singlers Marsh is also the only place along the entire course of the Mimram where it flows through public land – nowhere else can the members of the public enjoy its riverside setting for themselves.  The immense value and pleasure that the local community gains from having Singlers Marsh at its heart in its current extensive form in a tranquil and peaceful location must not be lightly discounted.

Many residents in Welwyn have expressed their concern at WHBC’s proposal to develop Singlers Marsh without consultation, and several petitions have been successfully raised against this possibility.  A good way to restore residents’ confidence in the future of their public land would be for WHBC to transfer both ownership and stewardship of it to Welwyn Parish Council, and to seek to protect it for the future by supporting an application for it to receive Village Green status.

We trust that all the points in this submission will be recorded against the current promoted development sites around Singlers Marsh, and also be readily available for consideration against any future proposals that might arise in this area.

In WPAG’s opinion, for all the reasons stated in this document, development of none of these sites around Singlers Marsh would be either sound or legally compliant.

Russell Haggar

Vice Chair, Welwyn Planning and Amenity Group

The River Mimram – life starts to return?

Fish were rescued as the River Mimram dried up last autumn. Now, with the very wet February and March, the river is full and flowing faster than it has done for years. Clear water bubbling along and clearing some of the silt which has built up over time starting to reveal the gravel bed of a chalk stream. The river is fed by the underground aquifer and the chart shows the highest level of groundwater for several years. (On the chart, the Green band is Average)

However, all the ‘river life’ was either rescued or died last autumn, so it looks pretty dead. The Environment Agency (EA) expect it to take three or four years for ‘river life’ to return to normal. (Does this sound familiar?) The hope is that fish will migrate downstream from parts of the river that did not dry out, such as the mill pond towards Kimpton.

So the plan is to conduct a series of ‘electro’ fish surveys throughout the year to see if the fish do return. To do this they hold a ‘wand’ with a low electric current in the water, which stuns the fish long enough for them to be counted and measured without doing them any harm.

The first of these surveys was done recently and, while they didn’t find much, they did find several bullhead fish – a start. And some tadpoles!

If the fish population does not recover over the next few years, they will restock the river with breeding fish.

However, in 2020 it seems to be one extreme or the other, in April we only got 24% of the average effective rainfall and May looks likely to be the driest May on record. Already the river level is starting to drop……

Bullhead Fish