Welwyn’s Community Cafe Celebrates Eight Successful Years!

The following Report was prepared by Sandra Kyriakides, WPAG Project Manager and former Welwyn Hatfield Borough Councillor who took all the photos.

A very popular event in the Welwyn Social Calendar is the weekly “Get Together” at Welwyn’s Community Café, held in St Mary’s Church House every Tuesday morning from 10:00am to 12:00 noon.

On 3rd November 2017, the Community Café celebrated its 8th year of successful operation and, to mark this occasion, visitors this week were treated to complimentary delicious home-made sausage rolls and yummy cakes from Katie’s along with their teas and coffees.

The project was the joint venture of the Welwyn Parish Plan Group and St Mary’s Parochial Church Council.  It was launched in 2009 and has grown from strength to strength in popularity and attendance and has created a vibrant facility for residents from Welwyn and surrounding areas to socialise in an informal and friendly atmosphere.

Delicious freshly brewed coffee, biscuits and toasted teacakes are on offer at a very reasonable price.  All are welcome in an ambiance that buzzes with lively conversation and provides the opportunity to meet up with existing friends and to make new ones.

Local volunteers staff the kitchen under the joint guidance of volunteer supervisors Jean Perriman and Lesley Watson.  Since taking over the running of the Community Café from Barbara Spencer in February 2017, Jean and Lesley have been doing a wonderful job with impressive efficiency, combined with their boundless enthusiasm and friendliness.


The Project Manager Reports – Crime and Public Safety Update

The following Report was prepared by Sandra Kyriakides, WPAG Project Manager and former Welwyn Hatfield Borough Councillor.

There have been incidents of car vandalism as well as two recent burglaries on Welwyn High Street over the past month.

The police are aware and I have asked for a meeting with our local community police team leader to discuss policing in the area in general.  I will report back as and when I have any further information on this.

The police have reverted to the earlier method of policing, with designated officers to ward areas and, when I know who ours is, I will pass this information on to you.

In the meantime, please do all you can to ensure your personal safety and that of your property.  Have good lighting, keep windows and doors locked. Keep an eye open for anything or anyone suspicious and if in doubt, report to the police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.   If you have not already done so, join Neighbourhood Watch and receive OWL (Online Watch Link) messages that keep you informed about crimes or antisocial activities in your area. This is the season where there is likely to be an increase in opportunist crime, so please be aware and vigilant.

The Project Manager Reports – Re-Cycling U-Turn

The following Report was prepared by Sandra Kyriakides, WPAG Project Manager and former Welwyn Hatfield Borough Councillor.

As most of you reading this report will now be aware, Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council has made a dramatic U-turn on the ruling about food waste going into Brown Bins.

In the interest of clarity, I am letting you know that all your food waste can now go into your Brown Bin; either wrapped in a paper bag or loose.  WHBC are also looking into the possibility of accepting the biodegradable plastic recycling bags but this has yet to be confirmed, so please do not use them until an official announcement is made.

For those who do not subscribe to the paid-for Brown Bin collection service, and do not have facilities to home compost, I am sorry to say that you will need to continue to dispose of your food waste in your black bin.  This goes to landfill, is expensive and is environmentally and ecologically unfriendly.  However, WHBC still do not have funding in place or plans to introduce a food waste collection service before 2020, so we have no choice but to go along with this, unsatisfactory as it is.

Tewin Orchard and a life of Badgers – a Talk in Welwyn on 22nd November 2017

Michael Clark, the distinguished Hertfordshire natural historian and author, will speak on ‘Tewin Orchard and a Life of Badgers’.

Badger and bramleys Tewin Orchard Photo Michael Clark

Michael is the author of Badgers (Whittet Books) one of the most popular and authoritative studies of the species, which was re-published this year in a revised edition. He is also the author of Mammals, Amphibians and Reptiles of Hertfordshire, published by Hertfordshire Natural History Society in 2001.


The 2017 Gerald Salisbury lecture – organised jointly by Welwyn Natural History Society and the Hertfordshire Natural History Society– will take place on Wednesday 22 November from 8pm to 10pm at Welwyn Civic Centre, Prospect Place, Welwyn, AL6 9ER

Wine, fruit juices and snacks will be served. 

There is a £3 admission charge for non-members of the Welwyn Natural History Society.

Organised by: Hertfordshire Natural History Society. For full details got to the HNHS website.erts

Local Plan – The Inspector is already on the Case

Following the submission of the Local Plan for independent examination on 15th May 2017, Melvyn Middleton has been appointed as the government planning inspector who will conduct the independent examination into the the soundness of the Local Plan.

And he has already started!

For details, and to learn more about  the process, please look at the Borough Councils Newsletter which follows:

Local Plan Newsletter September 2017 (1)

The Project Manager Reports – Local Plans should be Appropriate

The following was written by Sandra Kyriakides and published in the Welwyn Hatfield Times on August 9th 2017 p.22 under the headline ‘How many houses needed after Brexit?’


I was deeply concerned to learn that the Planning Inspector has claimed that WHBC’s Local Plan “falls far short of meeting the identified housing need”.  I am the first to criticise the Borough Council for many things that it does but the plan it has submitted is already way in excess of what the Borough’s residents feel the area can sustain.

Central Government seems to have no awareness of the fact, or chooses to ignore, that we in Welwyn Hatfield have major traffic problems, inadequate medical provision, not enough schools and definitely not enough infrastructure to cope with the 12,000 homes that WHBC has put into the plan – let alone one or two thousand more.  Is the Inspector totally oblivious of the fact that there is only one proper hospital, which constantly works to capacity?  There are no provisions for another one.

Where are all the people in these homes going to work and how are they going to commute?  We have appalling links to London; the A1(M) is blocked with accidents on a daily basis; the M25 is one of the world’s slowest ring roads; the only bus to London (797) was stopped two years ago and other bus services have been drastically reduced.  As for the trains: mostly unreliable and pretty appalling and Govia’s plans for the future do not make encouraging reading.  Parking anywhere is more and more difficult – especially at train stations, not to mention the exorbitant cost.

So what does the Inspectorate want to achieve?  Cram more and more homes into the area regardless of the fact that the facilities are just not there to support them?

The “elephant in the room” that no-one mentions is Brexit!  How can anyone accurately “assess” future housing requirements when no-one knows how Brexit will affect this?  The OANs (objectively assessed needs) were calculated before the Brexit vote!  There will certainly be a slow-down in residents coming from Europe, and many currently here may decide to return home or relocate due to changes in workplace.

Central Government should take stock of the situation and see how it develops.  It should build new towns with good transport links to major cities and stop forcing local councils to ruin beautiful areas by cramming housing into every nook and cranny regardless of consequences.

Sandra Kyriakides

Project Manager, Welwyn Planning & Amenity Group

Former WHBC Councillor (Independent) for Welwyn West

Dr John Reay 1932 – 2017

It is with great sadness that we record the death of our colleague John Reay, a member of the Committee continuously from 1978 – 2017.

Over those years John held many positions, and early Minute Books record the many positions he held:

1975 – 1984 auditor

1978 – 1982 Treasurer

1982 – 1984 Chairman

1993 – 2002 Chairman

2001 – 2010 Secretary

During his terms of Office as Chairman, with his trade-mark extensive knowledge, wide experience and sound judgement, John undoubtedly helped to shape the community that we all enjoy today. He always led from the front with tenacity and energy.

A notable example arose in 1982, when as a resident of Danesbury, and in his first term of office as Chairman of the WPAG, he played a major part in forming the Danesbury Residents Association with the initial prime purpose of raising sufficient funds to employ Counsel to fight the Appeal by Rialto Homes to build 650 homes on Danesbury Park. Working with the Parish Council and the then District Council, and representing both the Danesbury Residents Association and the Welwyn Planning & Amenity Group, John addressed the Inspector at the Appeal.

The appeal was successfully fought and it pays us all to stop and consider for just one moment what a significant difference it would have made to the village today, had the Rialto development of 650 houses succeeded.

And then, in 1992, before commencing his second term of office as Chairman, John gave a clue to those subjects dearest to his heart when he gave the Annual WPAG AGM Presentation on the subject of ‘The Environment and Us’. He focused his talk on three topics which he pursued vigorously throughout his time here in Welwyn:

  • The A1(M)  motorway
  • The Mimram River
  • The situation regarding waste disposal and litter.

They were just a few of the ‘big issues’ that John was involved with in his 9 years second term of Office as Chairman of the WPAG.

Apart from the Welwyn Planning & Amenity Group, a fuller research would uncover many other Committees and organisations in Welwyn that felt John’s influence over the years.

What is beyond doubt is that the Community will miss John’s influence and his wise counsel. We all owe him a huge debt of thanks for his kindness and wisdom and for the help and encouragement he gave to others who had the temerity to try to follow in his footsteps.

Other Organisations that John was involved with are as follows:

Welwyn Parish Council

(To be researched)

Welwyn & District Road Safety Committee

John was an active member of the Welwyn & District Road Safety Committee for many years.

Danesbury Residents Association

Since 1982 when John as Chairman of the WPAG was instrumental in setting up the Danesbury Residents Association to fight the Rialto Housing development on Danesbury Park, he has remained a Member of the DRA Committee without interruption from 1982-2017, a total of 35 years. During all that time the Committee has enjoyed the benefit of his counsel, advice and extensive knowledge developed over all the years he has been an active and leading member of this community of ours in Welwyn.




Welwyn North Rail Users – Timetable Consultation – Hurry

The following report is extracted from an email from Parish Councillor Peter Neville

Govia (the local rail operator) have opened a consultation into the weekday timetables to be introduced in December 2018 (i.e. in about 18 months’ time). Weekend timetables will be shared later in the year.

Go to Welwyn North Draft Time Table for details of the draft time-table.

Details of other routes (e.g. Moorgate-WGC) are available at https://www.transformingrail.com/download-timetables

In summary the draft timetable provides  for half-hourly trains from Welwyn North calling at WGC, Hatfield, Potters Bar, Finsbury Park, St Pancras and thence via Farringdon, the City and Blackfriars to destinations in Kent (sadly not Gatwick or Brighton as originally hoped – we would have to change at Finsbury Park or St Pancras for those).

In the rush hour, additional trains run Welwyn North NONSTOP twice-hourly to KingsX in the morning. And correspondingly in the reverse direction, with similar fast trains northbound in the evening rush hour.

The consultation runs until 5pm on Thursday 27 July 2017.

Comments on the proposed timetable can be sent by email to <moc.y1511032492awlia1511032492rtg@n1511032492oitat1511032492lusno1511032492celba1511032492temit1511032492.rtg1511032492>.

To assist the consultation from a personal perspective, the railway company recommend a visit to their journey checking tool on www.transformingrail.com/

But the tool excludes journeys in the Peterborough direction, which will lose its through service from WGC/WN!


WPAG Subscriptions for 2017-18 are due

To All Supporters of the Welwyn Planning & Amenity Group

Annual Subscriptions are now due.

Membership is due on 31st March each year and we now seek your 2017/2018 Annual Subscription of £4 per individual, or £6 for family membership.

We are aware that with the loss of our long-running Treasurer we have been negligent in recent years in collecting Subscriptions from all our members. If you are not a fully paid-up member we have decided that we will impose a moratorium on all overdue subscriptions and start again for the current year and, with your help, try to do a better job in future years.

For those of you who enjoy the website, and who receive our occasional Newsletters for free, we ask you to consider joining as paid-up WPAG members. We are a Registered Charity, (No. 272277), and we have no other source of income other than from subscriptions.

Our organisation is non-profit making and is run by an elected committee of volunteers for the community.  Membership subscriptions are intentionally very low and cover our basic administrative costs for website, stationery, printing etc., although the website costs are likely to climb.

So, for a very small outlay, please help us keep it going, as we think it is worth it and we have a renewed mission within the community of Welwyn.

How to pay your Subscription? – Go to the Membership Page

We are trying to move away from the need for you to write a cheque, mail it to the Treasurer, and get a receipt in the post. This takes time and money and for most of us is no longer necessary.

So from 2017, you have a Four choices of payment method.

Choice 1   Paypal  – One off payment

Choice 2   Paypal  –  Recurring payment

Choice 3   BACS payment direct to the WPAG account and make it annually               recurring.

Choice 4   Contact the Treasurer and arrange to send a cheque.

Why your support is worth it.

1. Continued Community Involvement.

We have recently undergone some major administrative changes.  We now have two ex-Borough Councillors serving on our committee, bringing with them years of local knowledge and experience, together with specific knowledge of planning and licensing requirements.  They are: Carl Storer (now WPAG Chairman) and Sandra Kyriakides (WPAG Project Manager).

Formed in the 1960’s, the Group works closely with Welwyn Parish Council and has two members co-opted onto the WPC Planning and Licensing Committee.  We monitor all proposed Planning Applications for their potential impact on the character of Welwyn and the amenities enjoyed by its residents, and we work to maintain the continuing protection of the Welwyn Conservation Area.  We are proud of this good relationship and our ability to work together for the benefit of the local community.

2. WPAG website – what we offer

Our website has also undergone radical change.  WPAG takes an active interest in all aspects of life in and around Welwyn including community services, and recreational facilities. Through the website we encourage and support the activities of local Clubs and Societies and offer local groups the opportunity to use us to advertise their activities and forthcoming events, thereby putting local information at your fingertips through our web pages.

Our Project Manager will post regular updates on matters of concern, local issues and interesting developments.

Visit us at the Welwyn Festival Fun Day 

For the first time this year, we will have a table at the Welwyn Festival Fun Day on Singlers Marsh.  This will be inside the Welwyn Parish Council Tent and we hope you will take the opportunity to come and talk to us and to sign up for membership on the day, if you have not already done so.

One final reminder. We are a Registered Charity and a non-profit making organisation run by an elected committee of local Welwyn volunteers for the benefit of the community. Membership subscriptions are very low and cover our basic administrative costs for website, stationery, printing etc.

Please continue your support, and become a fully paid-up WPAG member.