Aug 24

‘Kiss-and-ride’ comes to Hatfield…

It seems Hatfield station is to get a Kiss-and-ride, according to a new planning application. You might imagine that  this is some saucy new taxi service, reminiscent of Carry on Cabby,  or perhaps something more seedy offered as a ‘personal service’ in the small ads of the Welwyn Hatfield Times. But fear not, it seems to be the new buzz word to describe the passenger drop-off area at the redeveloped Hatfield train station. About time too of course, for a University town Hatfield station has long been sadly lacking. The planning application says:  “Erection of 378 space multi storey car park, laying out of new bus interchange including cycle parking, taxi and ‘kiss and ride’ facility, one new access and one new egress onto Great North Road and material alterations to station building through creation of additional floorspace for three retail units”

So pull your finger out Network Rail and finally give Hatfield a railway station it can be proud of! You can see pictures of the proposed station parking area here, and the planning application here.

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Aug 05

42 roundabouts to get advertising billboards – What do you think?


It has come to this site’s attention that the WHBC appear to have a cunning plan, perhaps devised by Baldrick himself. It’s what Arthur Daley might have called ‘ a nice little earner’.



You have until Wednesday 29th August to comment on these proposals, why not do so now?

UPDATE: Click here to see all the WGC locations on Google Maps, click each location to go to the planning application. Hatfield locations to follow.

On Friday the council applied to itself for planning permission to put advertising boards on 42 roundabouts across Welwyn Hatfield. The majority being placed in Welwyn Garden City. Some are on busy roundabouts, and some are on roundabouts with very little traffic.

The planning application contains the following statement:

WHBC Statement about roundabout advertising

WHBC Statement on roundabout advertising

 Read the actual  document here.

So the plan is to sell advertising space on 42 roundabouts. This is surely about making money, as opposed to preventing illegal advertising on roundabouts. If companies advertise illegally they can be traced and fined by the council’s planning enforcement team. Many of the roundabouts they seek to plant signs on are well out of the way, no company would see any benefit in advertising on those.


This picture shows the dimensions of the signs. They are far bigger than the usual small plaques that roundabouts sometimes have elsewhere:


Sign dimensions for Welwyn Hatfield Signs

Not exactly small plaques (sizes in millimeters)


The council is applying to itself for permission to erect these signs, the consent period if permitted is five years. You would imagine the chances of it approving its own application would be quite high. But we are in the consultation period and we residents have a right to object if we want to. The council  clearly feels there is revenue in this scheme, and at a time when the reserves are dwindling fast they are obviously employing some creative thinking. But at what cost to the visual amenity of our environment? Should roundabouts be about safely directing the traffic, or should they also be trying to sell us something?

This is actually unneccessary street clutter. Back in 2010 Philip Hammond, Transport Secretary said in a press release:

“We all know that some signs are necessary to make our roads safe and help traffic flow freely. But unnecessary street furniture is a waste of taxpayers’ money and leaves our streets looking more like scrap yards than public spaces.

“We have written to councils to remind them that it need not be this way – we don’t need all this clutter confusing motorists, obstructing pedestrians and hindering those with disabilities who are trying to navigate our streets.

“Empowered local communities working together with councils can bring an end to this blight on our national landscape.”


You wonder if our council read their letter from Mr Hammond.

In addition, Eric Pickles said at the same time:


“Our streets are losing their English character. We are being overrun by scruffy signs, bossy bollards, patchwork paving and railed off roads wasting taxpayers’ money that could be better spent on fixing potholes or keeping council tax down. We need to ‘cut the clutter’.


The full press release from the DCLG website can be read here.

This move by our council then seems to be in opposition to central government policy to reduce street clutter.  All the more odd when you consider that both are controlled by the same political party and that our council is not a ‘rebel’ local authority  that usually opposes Whitehall dictat. Quite peculiar.

If you are happy with the signs proposal then fine. If you are not, you can object from now until the 29th August.

Below is a list of all the proposed locations. Because the applications have all be made separately all of them will require objections, and multiple objections if there is any hope of blocking the application. This makes things tedious, but perhaps that was the aim of those who organised it.

It makes sense then to object to multiple applications, that’s what cut & paste was invented for!

See below to object now, and feel free to pass the link to this page on to your local friends:

In the list below:

Click on the planning application number on each location to go to the relevant page on the council web site. At the bottom of that page is a button marked COMMENT. Click on that to go to the page where to enter your objection. Add your words, tick the the right box, and press submit. It takes just a few minutes.

In the spirit localism, if residents make their voice heard the council will have to listen. The main page on the council website for these applications can be found here, but you might find it easier to use the below list.


  1. App. No.:   N6/2012/1456/AD       Site Address:   Roundabout at junction of Stanborough Road and Parkway
    AL8 6XE       

  2. App. No.:         N6/2012/1457/AD  Site Address:  Roundabout at junction of Bericot Way/Lysander Way and Lincoln Close
    AL7 2NN        

  3. App. No.:          N6/2012/1458/AD   Site Address:   Roundabout at junction of Sylvan Way/Moors Walk and Russett Wood
    AL7 2JL            
  4. App. No.: N6/2012/1459/AD Site Address: Roundabout at junction of Haldens/Knightsfield and Bessemer Road
    AL7 1DB
  5. App. No.:        N6/2012/1462/ADSite Address:    Roundabout at junction Codicote Road and Church Street
    AL6 9ND       

  6. App. No.:         N6/2012/1463/AD  Site Address:  Roundabout at junction of Parkside and Welwyn Bypass
    AL6 9DQ        

  7. App. No.:         N6/2012/1464/AD  Site Address:  Roundabout at junction of Chequers Field/ Howlands and Chequers

  8. App. No.:        N6/2012/1465/ADSite Address:    Roundabout at junction of Heronswood Road/ Cole Green Lane and Howlands
    AL7 3DG
  9. App. No.:         N6/2012/1466/AD  Site Address:  Roundabout at junction of Parkway/ Turmore Dale and Rooks Hill
    AL8 6HZ        

  10. App. No.:         N6/2012/1467/AD  Site Address:  Roundabout at junction of Sylvan Way/ Bericot Way and Wellington Drive
    AL7 2NJ         

  11. App. No.:          N6/2012/1468/AD   Site Address:  Roundabout at junction of Tempsford/Sylvan Way and Shackleton Way
    AL7 2PA         

  12. App. No.:        N6/2012/1469/ADSite Address:    Roundabout at junction of Mundells and The Boulevard

  13. App. No.:         N6/2012/1470/AD  Site Address:  Roundabout at junction of Herns Lane and Moors Walk
    AL7 2AG        

  14. App. No.:         N6/2012/1471/AD  Site Address:  Junction of Blackfan Road, Cypress Avenue and Sylvan Way

  15. App. No.:         N6/2012/1476/AD  Site Address:  Roundabout at junctions of Chequersfield and Eddington Crescent
    AL7 4SX        

  16. App. No.:         N6/2012/1477/AD  Site Address:  Roundabout at junction of Sylvan Way, Birchall Wood and Forresters Drive

  17. App. No.:         N6/2012/1480/AD  Site Address:  Roundabout at junction with Broadwater Road and Chequers

  18. App. No.:         N6/2012/1481/AD  Site Address:  Roundabout at junction of Shackleton Way and Waterbeach

  19. App. No.:         N6/2012/1482/AD  Site Address:  Roundabout at junction with Bericot Way, Douglas Way and Rivenhall End

  20. App. No.:         N6/2012/1483/AD  Site Address:    Roundabout at junction of Digswell Road and Knightsfield

  21. App. No.:         N6/2012/1484/AD  Site Address:    Roundabout at junction with Panshanger Drive and Black Fan Road

  22. App. No.:         N6/2012/1485/AD  Site Address:    Roundabout at junction with Bessemer Road and Shire Park
  23. App. No.:       N6/2012/1486/AD  Site Address:     Roundabout at junction of Waterside and Mundells
  24. App. No.:         N6/2012/1487/AD  Site Address:    Roundabout at junction with Moorswalk and Hardings

  25. App. No.:         N6/2012/1489/AD  Site Address:    Roundabout at junction with Bessemer Road and Hertford Road
  26. App. No.:         N6/2012/1492/AD  Site Address:    Roundabout about junction with Nursery Hill, Blythway and Bessemer Road

  27. App. No.:         S6/2012/1460/AD  Site Address:     Roundabout at junction of Hawkshead Lane and Bluebridge Road
    North Mymms HATFIELD        

  28. App. No.:         S6/2012/1461/AD  Site Address:     Roundabout at junction of Cavendish Way/Bishops Rise and College Lane

  29. App. No.:         S6/2012/1472/AD  Site Address:     Roundabout at junction of Wellfield Road, French Horn Lane and Queensway

  30. App. No.:         S6/2012/1473/AD  Site Address:     Roundabout at junction of Birchwood Avenue, Drovers Way and Homestead Road

  31. App. No.:         S6/2012/1474/AD  Site Address:        Roundabout at the junction of Birchwood Avenue, Chelwood Avenue and Crawford Road

  32. App. No.:         S6/2012/1475/AD  Site Address:     Roundabout at junction of French Horn Lane and Great North Road

  33. App. No.:         S6/2012/1488/AD  Site Address:     Roundabout at the junction of Travellers Lane, Millwards and Southway

  34. App. No.:         S6/2012/1490/AD  Site Address:     Roundabout at the junction of
    Queensway, Briars Lane and Lemsford Road HATFIELD                

  35. App. No.:         S6/2012/1491/AD  Site Address:     Roundabout at junction of Queensway

  36. App. No.:         S6/2012/1494/AD  Site Address:     Roundabout with junction at Travellers Lane, Woods Avenue and Oxlease Drive
  37. App. No.:         S6/2012/1495/AD  Site Address:     Roundabout at the junction of St Albans Road West and Ellenbrook Lane
  38. App. No.:         S6/2012/1496/AD  Site Address:     Roundabout at the junction with Cavendish Way, Comet Way and St Albans Road West

  39. App. No.:         S6/2012/1497/AD  Site Address:   Roundabout at the junction of Coopers Green Lane and Green Lanes

  40. App. No.:         S6/2012/1498/AD  Site Address:   Roundabout at the junction of A1000/Dixons Hill Road Roundabout

  41. App. No.:         S6/2012/1499/AD  Site Address:   Roundabout at the junction of Great North Road
    AL9 5JX
  42. App. No.:       S6/2012/1493/AD    Site Address:  Roundabout at junction with Woods Avenue and Bishops Rise

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Jul 29

An Olympic start

The queen drops in

The queen arrives in the traditional manner












It’s estimated that about twenty seven million people in the UK watched the Olympic opening ceremony last night. It was indeed a triumph, and most of the critics agree. It really was one of those rare moments when you realise that this country is a great place to live. This small island has made a huge contribution to global sport and culture, way beyond expectation for its size. The media narrative is often about knocking everything, and telling us it will only ever get worse. Even if there is a ring of truth about that, last night was about celebrating Britishness and the rich cultural seam that is still being worked throughout the land, year in and year out. We are not a nation that likes to tub thump and chest beat on the whole. We cringe when we see Americans routinely do so. Last night’s ceremony told the world that we’re still here, and reminded those abroad that a fair chunk of what constitutes global popular culture still has ‘Made in Britain’ stamped on it, JK Rowling being an example. In the technological innovation stakes we were reminded that British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee helped create the medium within which you’re reading this now.

The ceremony was forward looking; placing the next generation to the fore, perhaps with the exception of Paul McCartney who seems to be getting mixed reviews. The whole thing could have been a bit stuffy and elitist, but with Mr Boyle in charge it was always going to be populist. The segment applauding the NHS was very poignant in this time of great changes to health provision for all of us. I’m sure Mr Cameron paused for thought, and considered how his manifesto pledges of ‘No reorganisation of the NHS’ now ring hollow to most people. Of course, our area is being hit harder than most by these top down changes to the NHS with the loss of many of our local hospital services at the Queen Elizabeth II.

All involved did a great job, especially those who dreamt it all up. It was a festival of cultural reference points which segued into one another moving the story along to its finale of the ingenious torch lighting. Even Bond, who was there, guarding Ma’am of course, must have been shaken AND stirred. It wasn’t cheap, £27 million quid, about the same number who watched it, quite a coincidence. With the spectacle and the awe you could almost sense a sigh of collective relief… we pulled it off, and spectacularly. Had we not, gargantuan embarrassment and calls for heads to roll would have surely followed.

Outdoing Beijing on scale was never really an option, but we managed to connect with the mass of the people, and tell our story, far more effectively than the Chinese dictatorship could ever manage. It was certainly our biggest moment of national unity and pride in the last few decades.

Even Boris Johnson became emotional, what this short clip:

As the teams filed on to the track you had to wonder about the countries with just a few team members. What are the stories behind how their athletes won a place on the team?  You can bet fair play was sometimes absent, those who are sent out to represent crooked and oppressive regimes are probably not all chosen on sporting ability alone. It was encouraging though that for the first time every team comprised at least one woman, even Saudi Arabia. It was at this point that Welwyn Garden City got a mention by the BBC commentator. The Afghan team are staying/training in Welwyn Hatfield. This six person team of five men and one woman seem to be enjoying our area which I’m sure is a refreshing change to the environs of Kabul. The lone woman Tahmina Khohistani was interviewed in the Telegraph on Saturday where she commented favourably on our area:


“The people will never accept me and what I am going to do. But it is different here because I am running in the Olympic Games and I need to be relaxed with my clothes.” She is relishing her first visit to the UK, enjoying training in Hatfield. “There was no one to disturb me, no one to look at me. That was the very best for me.” Kohistani is most struck by how much everyone smiles. “It is the thing I have learnt from your people – when I go back home I am going to do this with my people also. It is the most wonderful thing.”

You can read the whole interview here,  Tahmina’s road to the Olympics was clearly very rocky and fraught with dangers, she is to be much admired.

The only fly in the Olympic ointment was Conservative MP Aiden Burley who tweeted during the ceremony  “Thank God the athletes have arrived!  Now we can move on from leftie multi-cultural crap.”  See the full story here.  I would imagine Mr Burley’s political career has now peaked, he can probably now no longer look forward to his Christmas card from Number 10.

Overall the ceremony kicked off the Olympics in grand style, and without national embarrassment, we couldn’t ask for more. No doubt there will be a host of gaffes and muddles as the thing rolls on, but in the starter for ten, we scored the perfect 10.

You can watch the opening ceremony on Iplayer for the next few days here:


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Jul 27

Just for laughs…

Jeremy Hunt Olympic bell

Spot the bell-end (Because some pictures are just too good to go uncommented)

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Jul 08

Olympic torch relay passes through…


Today was the big day, the day that the Olympic torch came through our area on its way to the London 2012 opening ceremony on the 27th of July, more about that here.

The weather tried hard to disrupt things but our spirit won out. We expected rain and a cold wind…it’s mid summer after all. Huge crowds turned out in both Welwyn Garden and Hatfield to see the torch relay motorcade on this leg of its 8,000 mile journey around Britain. In WGC it was hard to get a good vantage point above the crowds but it was still possible to witness the spectacle at close quarters. The procession was headed up by the fancy coaches of the Olympic corporate sponsors. Their mega-buses with music, dancing girls (and boys), arrived some minutes before the runners carrying the torch. Warm up men and circus performers also led the way. This spectator couldn’t bring himself to whoop and cheer the sponsors’ buses as we were all urged to do. I still can’t make the connection between the brown sugar water in the red tin with just under 9 teaspoons of sugar per can, and a sporty healthy lifestyle. Perhaps it’s just me?

Welwyn Garden town centre was packed, and the food festival went down very well. The lovely aromas of a dozen different cuisines wafted through the town and many a hearty appetite was satiated.

The big deluge came about half an hour after the torch relay had passed and only then did the crowds start to disperse. It was a good day, and well done to Oaklands College for putting on the food festival to capitalise on the visitors turning out for the torch relay, good thinking.

The Welwyn Times has some nice pictures here.Top marks to Heart Radio who have 64 pictures taken in Hatfield HERE, and 48 taken in WGC HERE.

If you have any good pictures from the day, particularly from Hatfield, email them in to and they can be displayed on this page.

Below is a short video of the torch coming along Parkway in WGC, it was all quite exciting, as the cheers from the crowd testify. The torch bearer is Richard Sutton from Brookmans Park.


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Jul 05

Bad hair day

We all have a bad hair day now and again, except perhaps those that are folliclly challenged. Sometimes, well known people are caught with an unflattering coiffure due to the camera shutter firing at precisely the wrong moment.

This picture of our MP Grant Shapps, near the bottom of the page on the website of our local independent councillor Sandra Kyriakides is almost worthy of a caption competition. It’s a good photo…a wild-haired man wielding a pair of scissors in a crowd is always going to stand out, whoever you happen to be!

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Jul 02

Tewin Village fete

Tewin village held it’s annual summer fete this Saturday on the village green. The weather was fine and the crowd filled the green entirely. It was a genteel and relaxed affair which aimed to raise money for charity and support local community amenities.


Tewin village fete

In full swing


The organisers held a charity auction for a signed streetsign, signed by the cast of Eastenders no less. The auction winner bought the sign for £205, interestingly it has a notice in small print on the back of it that said it could not be sold on without the permission of the BBC.  Below is a picture of the auctioneer and his keen helper as the auction was underway:


Eastenders sign auction













The lucky winner had the bonus of having his prize handed over by none other than Eastenders actor and local resident Jake Wood, the lovable rogue Max Branning in the soap. In the picture below you can see Jake about to hand over the sign to the man in the white T-shirt, he had to sign for it first of course!


Jake Wood, Eastenders Max Branning

Max Branning in our midst!














The Tewin village fete was once again a low key and relaxed lazy afternoon. It’s often easy to forget we have such attractive villages on our doorstep.


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Jun 30

Big events in July

The height of Summer is upon us (somebody tell the weather controller!), there are many outdoor events taking place in July.  We may not be able to influence the weather for them, but we can help make them a success by turning out and supporting them. This site wishes all of them the best of luck and thanks all the volunteers who will be giving up their time to make them happen.

Sunday July 1st:

Mill Green Museum is having a party to celebrate a significant birthday: and everyone’s invited!

In 2012 Mill Green Mill turns 250 (in its current guise), although a mill has stood on the site for more than 1,000 years!

Read more about it on the borough council website here.


Saturday 7th July:






















Sunday 8th July:























This event also coincides with the Olympic Torch coming through WGC town centre so you can attend two events in one day without even trying!

The WGC Olympic Torch route map can be downloaded here.

Note that parking in council car parks will free on Sunday. That is, the car parks that use the number plate recognition system.

At the same time in Hatfield,

12:00 – 4:00pm.  A Family Fun Day takes place, including an African market, sporting events and activities including a BMX half-pipe, climbing wall and inflatable fun!  An entertainment stage will also be located in the town centre.

You can find out more about the event here. If you have a flyer please email to this site for display!

The Olympic Torch will also come through during the event, download a map of the route here.
































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Jun 24

Famous names in our midst

In our celebrity driven popular culture claims to fame and local connections to well known faces abound…currently the most well known  being Lewis Hamilton and Alesha Dixon. Recently two more have come to our attention. One internationally famous and living, the other less so but still a worthy mention here. Anthony Buckeridge (1912 -2004) wrote 25 books about the errant and cunning schoolboy Jennings.  As a child, once you had read all the Just William books, and you were hitting teenage years, the adventures of Jennings were very appealing. Jennings books were laden with humour and ill conceived schoolboy schemes which inevitably went wrong. You could aptly summarise the adventures of Jennings with a lyric from Baggy Trousers by Madness ‘All I learnt at school, was how to bend and break the rules’. Jennings books were funny and well written page turners. Anthony Buckeridge moved to WGC as a child in 1924 and lived in Handside Lane and then Russellcroft road. He was a playright who also acted in local theatre group productions. He moved away before finding serious fame with the Jennings series which sold in their millions. The books are ageless and are still available to buy on Amazon today. You have to wonder how much his formative years in WGC influenced the stories and characters in his books. Perhaps we have another blue plaque candidate here?

Jennings schoolboy reading












Mike Leigh probably needs no introduction. A prolific playwright, film director, and social commentator. His many films dig deep into the British psyche and examine issues of class, race and gender. Britain has produced many successful film directors and many have been lured by Hollywood. Not Mike Leigh, his films are usually character led stories bounded in gritty working class British settings. His contribution to British film and the arts is phenomenal and his exploration of contemporary social issues and human relationships is almost without equal. Abigail’s Party, Secrets and Lies, Vera Drake…there are many more. He has directed 23 films to date.

Mike Leigh, born in Welwyn Garden City












It appears that he was born at Brocket Hall in 1943, although he was raised in Salford, Greater Manchester. His mother was admitted to Brocket Hall which operated as a Red Cross maternity hospital from 1939 to 1949. Brocket Hall took in many expectant mothers from City Road hospital in London, which was bombed several times during the war.  There is a detailed synopsis of Mike Leigh’s work on Wikipedia here.

Mike Leigh clearly spent a very brief time in Welwyn Hatfield, but as he recently picked up an honorary degree from Manchester’s Metropolitan University he was recognised as being a son of our area. See local paper article here.

We hope that Mr Leigh still has many more cinematic social explorations up his sleeve.

There of course many other famous names associated with our area, these are just two.

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Jun 22

Events this weekend

It’s a busy weekend in our area,  a couple of events are listed below:


Saturday: 1.15pm–5pm
Welwyn Village FAMILY FUN DAY Singler’s Marsh, Codicote Rd.
Coconut shy, smash the china, boules, racing ferrets, marching band, tea tent, food van, sweet stall, clown, Punch & Judy, carousel, bouncy castle, pony rides, inflatable slide, beer tent, hog roast, Thai food, ice cream van, zumba  demonstrations, kids’ races and tug-of-war, charity and independent stalls offering games, toys and jewellery, etc, and much more, including the family games area, which was new in 2011 and proved extremely popular. Download full festival programme here.



Sunday: Save The Children are holding a Garden Party at 5 Russellcroft Road,WGC on Sunday 24 June from 2pm to 5pm, £2.50 entry. Home made cream teas, home made cake, plants for sale. Live music and a visit from the mayor. For more information tel Lynn Schindler 01707 394234


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