The Danesbury Residents Association (DRA) was formed on 25th May 1982 to assist in the defeat of an Appeal to the Department of the Environment by Rialto Homes against planning refusal to allow them to build 400 dwellings initially, and later 650 dwellings, on the land adjoining Danesbury Park.
To enable professional assistance to be obtained, all founding members of the Association donated £25 to a fighting fund. The appeal enquiry was held in October 1983 and the development proposals were refused by the Department of the Environment.
The Association has remained in force ever since to continue to look after the interests of the residents of Danesbury Park Estate.
1982 – 1983 Ken Wadsworth
1983 – 1989 Roy Jacklin
1989 – 1998 David Matthews
1998 – 2002 John Roper
2002 – 2004 Roger Writer
2004 – 2020 Peter Branchflower
2020 to date Jane Coates
The original Constitution has remained unchanged.
The Committee is re-elected each year, and the objectives remain to be:
- Reactive to issues raised by Residents
- Pro-active in Committee
- Informed on all relative issues
- Prepared to represent all residents responsibly
1983 Resisting the Appeal to build a further 650 houses
Following the initial success in opposing the Rialto plan to build 650 more houses, the DRA had continued to thrive and was seen as a responsible body by the various local authorities which makes sensible representations on behalf of the residents of Danesbury.
1996 Study into the Future role of the DRA
A questionnaire was distributed to all houses and achieved a return of 35.3%. Of those returned, 87% still felt that the DRA ‘served a useful purpose’ so that a ‘process’ was in place which would enable representation to be made quickly on any topic which might affect the residents of Danesbury. Regarding social functions, 69% of respondents thought this was ‘inappropriate’ although 26% were in favour.
1998 Committee restructured
All Committee members were given a reporting role, or portfolio, upon which to focus and report. The reporting lines included: Environmental issues, Direct Services (incl.highways & footpaths), Indirect Services (incl. Borough & National influences), Village – quality of life, Promotion/Publicity, Danesbury Park Work Parties, Neighbourhood Watch.
Welcome Packs and Newsletters introduced
All new householders now receive a ‘Welcome Pack’ on arrival, containing information about the Association, services in and around Welwyn, and a copy of the latest Parish Guide. The Welcome Pack includes details of the flourishing Neighbourhood Watch scheme.
The first Newsletter was published In the Autumn of 1998, and planned to be produced in the Spring and Autumn of each year.
2000 Millennium – Tree Planting Project
In the absence of enthusiasm for ‘Street Parties’, the Committee decided upon a Millennium Tree Project, for Danesbury Park, to replace those native specimens which had fallen in the great gale of 1997.
Roger Writer led a sub-group to drive the project, funded by donations from residents. Sponsorship was provided by the Welwyn Parish Council, Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, the Groundwork Trust, the Welwyn Natural History Society, and local business houses including D. Smith Builders, Putterills Estate Agents, and Royston Express. Sufficient funds were collected to enable 8 trees to be planted, each with a (green) commemorative plaque depicting its botanical name.
The official ‘planting’ was conducted by Cllr. John Mansfield, Chairman of the Welwyn Hatfield Council, Cllr Arthur Jones, Chairman of the Welwyn Parish Council, and representatives of the sponsoring business houses.
The picture shows Pat Watt Planting the Oak sponsored by the Welwyn Natural History Society, and DRA Chairman John Roper with Cllrs Mansfield and Jones
The nominal £1 joining fee for all households was dropped.
2002 The Queen’s Jubilee – Tree Planting Project
Utilising a surplus of funds from the Millennium project, the committee agreed to purchase further trees to commemorate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee with renewed sponsorship help from the Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council and the Welwyn Parish Council agreed.
A copse of 3 limes in the ‘motorway’ field was planted. As with the trees planted for the Millennium, the WHBC agreed to be responsible for monitoring the welfare of these trees, which of course are on their land.
The ‘official’ plantng was conducted by Cllr Maggie Scarff, as Chairman of the Welwyn Hatfield Council officiated, supported again by Cllr Arthur Jones, Chairman of the Welwyn Parish Council and other Parish Councillors. Appropriately, gold coloured plaques were chosen to present the trees’ botanical names.
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