Cash – Don’t Throw it Away

The Commercial Case

The whole village was shocked when we learned that Barclays Bank was to remove their ATM in Church Street, when the Branch itself closed (‘for commercial reasons’) on 29th March 2019.

High level meetings were organised with our MP and senior representatives of the Bank to try to get the Bank to change their minds.

Perhaps we could negotiate?

But the 29th June proved to be an inauspicious date for anybody with the word ‘negotiate’ in their minds!

Who are the Losers?

It isn’t just retailers, businesses and others, particularly the elderly, who used the Bank branch on a regular basis, and who are left high and dry when it comes to meeting their normal banking needs. Just about everybody is now left with the need to make alternative arrangements to meet their need for cash.

At a Parish Council meeting, one Councillor famously suggested that villagers without a car could catch a bus up London Road to the BP garage to use their ATM! No further comment is needed on that one.

But some 1,184 local people signed a petition organised by Christina Raven saying that they wanted to keep an ATM, and it is on that basis that a few things are happening.


The Welwyn Parish Council Response

The Welwyn Parish Council have agreed in principle that the only practical alternate site in Welwyn Village would be at the Civic Centre in Prospect Place, and they await the results of a special Barclays Bank survey to learn if the Bank will agree.

The Parish Council also arranged for the Bank to use the Interview Room in St Mary’s Church House, on Tuesday mornings when the Hall is open for the Community Cafe, which has a regular assembly of many elderly villagers. But this is not for cash transactions.

The Barclays Response

The Bank survey of the Civic Centre site can be expected to cover many aspects including access and security for Bank Staff, (who have to service the machine), and for Bank customers themselves because the site could be considered vulnerable, even though perhaps no less vulnerable than the original site in Church Street.

Tesco Stores Response

Tesco Store in the High Street is the only other alternative option should the more favoured Civic Centre be adjudged ‘unsuitable’ either by the Parish Council or by Barclays Bank. Tesco management are still considering the prospect of using their Store, but there are clearly serious issues that they would have to address.

Your Response – Have your Say

So, in anticipation of a decision (yet to be forthcoming from Barcays) how will the Parish Council decide whether the Civic Centre site is ‘suitable’ in their eyes?

The fact that 1184 villagers signed the Petition to say that they want to keep an ATM in Welwyn would seem to be a clear enough message – but the Parish Council needs to be convinced.

The Welwyn Parish Council are therefore to raise the question at their Annual Parish Assembly on Wednesday evening 17th April, which starts at 7.30 pm. at the Welwyn Civic Centre.

So – if you have strong views on the matter, whether or not you signed the Petition, you are encouraged to attend the Welwyn Parish Council Annual Assembly on Wednesday 17th April 2019 to voice your views.

Water Water everywhere but (perhaps) not a drop to drink?

The following is extracted from papers produced by Affinity Water.

Within the next five years and beyond there may not be enough water to meet increases in demand, unless we make some changes.

Affinity Water have recently completed a Public Consultation to ensure that there is enough water for future generations. They now invite you to respond to their revised draft Water Resources Management Plan (dWRMP) further consultation.

Doing nothing is not an option.

We need to act now to ensure there is enough for future generations. Affinity Water plans include:

  • Helping customers reduce their water usage
  • Fixing even more leaks
  • Further improving rare chalk streams
  • Building a new reservoir to store water
  • Transferring water from another area via an existing canal
  • Working with other water companies to solve the challenge.

Affinity Water need your views to help shape our service to you. Their consultation period runs from 1 March – 26 April 2019.

Go to the Consultation Document and have your say on our plans to meet this challenge! Affinity Water really do want to hear your views.

Click here to have your say – it will only take a few minutes

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.oc1555687408.ooha1555687408y@tte1555687408gdapd1555687408ynoht1555687408na1555687408

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.vo1555687408g.ccs1555687408treh@1555687408tceri1555687408dstre1555687408h1555687408 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.gr1555687408o.gap1555687408w@reg1555687408anamt1555687408cejor1555687408p1555687408

Community Cafe – from strength to strength

Ian Skidmore reports on the success of 2018

The Community Cafe makes a surplus each year. The surplus has grown slightly over the years even though the cost of coffee, biscuits and teacakes has increased. This is because, as the message gets around, more people come here on Tuesday  and also because increasingly people come back for second helpings!

The surplus this year was a little over £1200, this is divided between the PCC who provide the facility and the Parish Plan. The Parish Plan share goes towards the projects we run.

Go to the Parish Plan Group for more information about the background to the formation of the Community Cafe, and a fuller report for 2018.

Herts Police & Crime Commissioner – wants to hear from you

Those of you on the Neighbourhood watch OWL system will have received the following notification a few days ago. (If you are not on the OWL system please go to https://www.owl.co.uk to register).

Dear Watch Member,

Hertfordshire’s PCC is refreshing his Community Safety and Criminal Justice Plan: Everybody’s Business and wants to hear your views.

At the beginning of his second term, Police and Crime Commissioner, David Lloyd, set out his ambition and vision for community safety and criminal justice across the county over the coming years.

The Commissioner is starting the process of refreshing his Plan that will lead to a refreshed edition in spring 2019. He is asking for feedback from the public and partners on the current Plan ahead of consulting on a new version over the coming months.

David Lloyd said:

 “I want to hear the public’s views on the issues that are important to Hertfordshire and what my strategy should continue to prioritise to help me shape the new Plan and direction for the county, so please do take the opportunity to have your say.”

  • What should the PCC’s refreshed Plan continue to focus on over the years ahead?
  • What are the new and emerging issues that should be included in the refreshed Plan?

The public can read the current Plan (http://www.hertscommissioner.org/plan) and share their views by responding to the questions above via email – ku.vo1555687408g.nnp1555687408.ccp.1555687408streh1555687408@nalp1555687408.eht1555687408

You can also send your comments by Letter to the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, 15 Vaughan Road, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, AL5 4GZ by 10th January, 2019.

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.

Welwyn’s Neighbourhood Plan – an immediate update


A start has been made to undertake online research into the methodology of approach followed by Parish Councils around the country.

At the 20th November 2018 meeting of the WPC Planning & Licensing Committee, a representative from the Codicote Parish Council was invited to share their experiences, which was extremely helpful. 

The Welwyn Parish Council has since established a Neighbourhood Planning Working Party, to be chaired by Cllr Mark Castle, with Ian Skidmore (Chairman Welwyn Parish Planning Group) as Vice-chairman.

It is expected that at least two members of the WPAG Committee will be invited to join the Working Party, and we are advising on suitable wider membership. 

We will report on the progress of this Working Party.