Heritage Fair stall last Saturday

Thank you to all those who stopped by our stall at the Heritage Fair on Saturday to share their thoughts about the town and find out more about what we do.

Welwyn Garden City Heritage Fair photo

Mayor Lynne Sparks visiting our stall, alongside Steve, Elahe and Will from the Society.

We were delighted to hear from so many who shared our passion for our Garden City. We had a number of new members join on the day which was great. Congratulations to the Fair’s organisers and the other groups attending. The event demonstrated that many people are passionate and interested in the history of Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield.  The event space in the Howard Centre worked very well with a constant stream of people visiting the various stalls throughout the day.


Birchall Garden Suburb and the Local Plan

We have issued a new letter and Press Release articulating our concerns about the proposed Birchall Garden Suburb. The letter has been sent to our local authorities, you can read more about it on our website by clicking HERE.


Local Plan Examination Stage 2

This week the government appointed Inspector, Mel Middleton, held the second stage of his planned hearings to examine the WHBC Local Plan. The plan  will be the blueprint for development in our borough up until 2031. The hearings took place over 4 days and were streamed live and can still be viewed as recordings.

All the sessions can be watched again via the WHBC website here: http://welwyn.nucast.live/

The final session on Friday was different in that was essentially the Inspector offering guidance to WHBC regarding the soundness of the plan based on what he’d heard during the week. His summary seemed to be that he didn’t think the plan was sound as it stands, but could potentially be so with the right modifications. He could not specify what those changes should be, but gave the WHBC some steer on the areas that he felt should be revisited.

That session lasted an hour and a half, and can be watched below:

The Inspector has not yet looked specifically at any of the proposed sites being put forward, including Birchall Garden Suburb and Panshanger, that is set to happen in December or in the early part of next year. Our letter concerning the possible contamination on the BGS site, and concerns others may express about sites proposed should all be considered at these future hearings. There remains a long way to go before these important future plans for our town are finalised, many areas of contention remain unaddressed.


Trees and Woodland Draft Strategy Consultation

WHBC currently have a public consultation underway seeking residents feedback on their new Trees and Woodland Draft Strategy. This document when finalised will replace the previous Tree Strategy. The consultation runs until the 15th November and can be accessed by following this link:



The full PDF document can be downloaded here: http://consult.welhat.gov.uk/file/4719373

The Society will be responding to the consultation and we also urge residents to do so. Feel free to share your comments on it with us by emailing wgcsociety@live.com. We will place our comments on it here on the website before the consultation closes. Trees and Woodland are obviously a major aspect of our Garden City and therefore the strategy for managing them is hugely important to the town and all its residents. This new strategy document also contains several charts. Below is the chart showing what varieties of tree were felled between 2010 and 2012, just to pique the readers interest!


Meet us at the forthcoming Heritage Fair on October 28th.

The Society will be having a stall at the Heritage Fair in the Howard Centre on October 28th. We will be on hand to talk about local issues and of course sign up anybody who wants to join us. Please see a poster for event below, please do stop by and say hello to us:


22 Parkway update re Wetherspoon

The property owned by Wetherspoon at 22 Parkway is back in the local news as a sign has appeared at the property proposing a new Cherry Tree pub, “subject to planning permission”. The sign itself required advertising consent from WHBC but Wetherspoon do not appear to have applied for such consent, WHBC is apparently investigating the matter.

Currently there is no new planning application for the site. As far as the Society is aware nothing has changed since the last two planning applications for the site were rejected by WHBC. We await the details of any new application that may be submitted by Wetherspoon for the site. There still appears to be some misleading chatter about the Society’s position on this subject, so we would like to clarify here. The WGC Society does not object to a Wetherspoon pub in WGC, there are apparently 895 Wetherspoon pubs in the UK and many in Hertfordshire. Wetherspoon itself is based not far away in Watford. The issue is their chosen location, and the impact a pub there might have on those living nearby, particularly, the residential flats nearby, and the town centre generally. The site sits outside the retail area, and we believe, within the EMS area. Whereas Wetherspoon pubs nearby, for example, Letchworth, Hatfield, Hertford and Hitchin, are located within the retail zone of the town, among the shopfronts and other businesses.

There is an interesting statement in Wetherspoon’s most recent annual report, on page 5 where they state: “We have sold, or terminated the leases of, 76 pubs, in the last 2 years, at a loss of approximately £45m, including previously reported impairments. Some mistakes are inevitable in site selection, but we hope to learn from these experiences, in order to try to avoid similar mistakes in the future.”

Clearly they are aware of the importance of site selection for their outlets. In light of this we hope they will look again at 22 Parkway, and look again at other sites that may be far more likely to meet local planning policy requirements. In summary, the Society is not anti-Wetherspoon. It is a matter of town planning and following the planning rules that have served the town well for many decades. Who knows…perhaps there may be scope for a Wetherspoon in the forthcoming Shredded Wheat site, just a thought.



Development Consultation Forum – Former Shredded Wheat Site

The Society has received the below message from WHBC, it details a public event in the near future (Monday Next) where the site owners will present their vision for the site, to coincide with a new planning application. This will be an early opportunity for residents to view their plans and presumably ask questions about it. This is a major development for our town and we would encourage residents to attend for an update on the future of the site. We are pleased to note that the appropriate re-development of the site appears to be moving closer to fruition. The message from our council is below.

“A Development Consultation Forum (DCF) event that will take place on Monday 2 October at 7pm in the Council Chamber at Campus East.

The DCF has been requested by the new owner of the former Shredded Wheat Factory site on Broadwater Road in Welwyn Garden City in order that they can present their ideas for the site with a view to submitting a new planning application later in the year. Full details of what a DCF is and how it works can be found on the Council website at http://www.welhat.gov.uk/article/3910/Development-Consultation-Forum

This will be a public meeting with the aim to enable councillors and the public to obtain more information and understanding of what is proposed.

A short introductory report will be available on the Council’s website in advance of the meeting.”


Monthly Tree Felling list


The Society recently approached the council asking for the reinstatement of the monthly tree felling list for Welwyn Hatfield. The list was published in the past but ceased to be so a few years ago. The list is helpful to residents as you can view which trees are due to be felled, or have been felled, and the reason for doing so.

We are pleased to report that WHBC responded promptly to our request and they have now published the full tree felling list on their website. You can view it in full on this link:


We look forward to this list being updated monthly as it is a useful resource for residents with queries about tree being felling in their locality. Thanks to WHBC for putting this information back in the public domain.


Our chairman writes…

The Society’s new chairman for the current year, Will Davis, has written an introductory article the our website which can be read by clicking HERE.


Society AGM – a successful evening.

Thanks to everyone who attended our AGM on the 26th. It was encouraging to see such a good turnout, which in itself is a sign of civic pride in our town. The committee took on board the points raised on the night and will consider them carefully over the coming months. Special thanks go to our guest speaker, the chairman of the Welwyn Garden City Centenary Foundation, Mr Paul Roberts. Paul gave an engaging and enlightening talk, explaining the Foundations’s plans for celebrating the town’s 100th birthday in 2020. The Centenary Foundation has it’s own website which is also very informative on the subject, that can be found here: http://www.wgccentenary.org

The Society looks forward to the coming year and continuing its work on existing projects and new.