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