Welwyn Hatfield

Liberal Democrats

















RELEASE DATE:    11 September, 2008

Embargo: None



Mobile: 07790 634 204    Email: louise.lotz@gmail.com


LibDems call for proper scrutiny of environment and ecology at Stanborough Park


Following the by now well-documented problems with the Lombardy Poplars at Stanborough Lakes, and their apparent neglect by Finesse Leisure, the private company set up five years ago to run the council’s outdoor leisure facilities, the Liberal Democrats are calling for the council to exert some control and scrutinise how Finesse manages its environmental responsibilities.


At the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee, on 10th September, Cllr Louise Lotz asked that this issue be scrutinised by the committee, specifically in relation to the trees and the ecology of Stanborough Park. 


Said Louise:  “My contention is: surely the council should be overseeing Finesse's work in the park from an environmental and ecological angle, so that problems can be anticipated early and dealt with appropriately.  There is also the issue of the reed marsh, the trees adjacent to Stanborough School and the general ecology of the park, including the stinking algae problem in the model boat lake.”


The committee agreed to request a report and presentation from Carol Rigby, Head of Community Services, who monitors the management agreement with Finesse Leisure and acts as a liaison person with Finesse.  The committee agreed that scrutiny was an option that could be considered after the presentation has been given.


There are several issues that we should be concerned about in relation to the poplars, and Cllr Lotz wants to make sure that the council pays this issue the attention it deserves.


There may be reason to look not just at Finesse’s role, but also that of the council, who have handled the possible loss of these landmark trees very poorly indeed.


“If the trees are likely to topple in high winds, according to a survey conducted two years ago, why was no action taken then?  Has the council simply allowed this to continue, without informing the public that their children might be in danger when playing at the Lakes?  They themselves have said they are on a potential ‘manslaughter charge’,” commented Cllr Lotz.


We hope that following proper review a plan can be brought forward to deal with the safety issue and create a gradual re-planting of the car parks without creating a major eyesore. 


As Louise says: “Our beautiful neighbourhood is being turned into a nightmare wasteland.  This situation needs an urgent root and branch examination.”




For further information, please contact Louise Lotz, Malcolm Cowan, Tony Skottowe or Paul Zukowskyj. Further contact details at