The purpose of the Society
At a time of still greater change and still greater challenges, the principles behind the town remain no less valid today. Indeed, the Society maintains that these are perhaps as relevant as ever – SUSTAINABILITY has become the buzz word of the era. Welwyn Garden City was conceived at a time when this was the norm. Its design, for example, had decentralised local shopping precincts throughout so that residents did not and still do not have to jump into a car for immediate groceries: they can be found close by.
The town represents a development that was based on good design and attention to detail in all matters – issues that too often get overlooked today but which grate and irritate ordinary people. After all, these are the people who are paying their taxes and who rightly demand that these are spent with care.
At a different level, it is important to ensure that the harmony of the place is maintained – this includes homes and street scenes, as inappropriate development only damages the look of the place and will affect property values: the latter is important to many residents as their home is their principal asset. Equally, we believe that those who rent their homes should benefit from that same harmony and their properties should be managed with the same diligence as owner occupiers.
In recent years the town centre has seen some degradation in its upkeep and management. This is an issue which the Society is now acting on. We want matters improved.
The town represents an ideal to all urban designers – one that proves that with care and forethought, designers can create thriving communities. There is no need to frustrate that intention and the Society seeks to ensure that proper attention is given to design issues so that they are fully thought through before building work starts.
Aims of the Society
The Society aims to ensure that the town is a more interesting and beautiful place in which to live. It believes that it is important that we safeguard and value what we have, as well improving matters where errors have been made.
So, with the help of our members, we aim to represent local public opinion as well as preserve and conserve the environment and local heritage, ultimately striving to create a ‘modern-day Garden City’.
Despite the social changes that have taken place since the town was first founded – such as mass car ownership and the growth of out-of-town shopping – the founder’s original vision is still sound though constantly under pressure and attack.
So it is therefore more important than ever to safeguard what we at present enjoy. This does not mean that we are solely concerned with preservation or conservation. Certainly, we do have to watch closely what is being planned but we feel strongly that with a bit of forethought ‘change’ can usually be readily adopted to support the ‘ethos’ of the place.
Above all, we feel that it is quite unnecessary to damage the ‘garden city’ by doing things that are out of keeping with its design or which have not been thought through.
Finally, we are not affiliated or linked with any political party. We believe that this gives us an independent view that is not partisan and nor are we linked to commercial interests. However, we see no reason why we cannot work with anyone if we feel that it is in the best interests of the town.