Letter to the Welwyn and Hatfield Times from Dennis Lewis
in the August 20th Edition.
present at the fiasco that was the so-called public meeting convened by the
Borough Council and Finesse Leisure last Thursday evening, attended by about
40 concerned residents and Councillors, I have a few comments to make.
was the Council's alleged proposal to fell nearly 700 Lombardy poplars at
the two car parks at Stanborough lakes, in September.
of the meeting was to inform and educate us about this alleged proposal and
to "explain the background". We were even invited by the Finesse official
who tried (unsuccessfully) to chair the meeting, to proceed to the south car
park and see what the trees looked like ! We were also shown "Exhibit A" - a
chunk of wood which was found in the car park - but no-one could tell me if
there had been a single claim arising from contact between a similar piece
of poplar and anyone's head.
Garden Society will be following up on this issue, and already we understand
that the six ward Councillors (Handside and Hatfield Central wards) have
been invited to a meeting with the Council's planners on August 29th - to be
"informed" and "updated". Public consultation will follow that in September,
and then I assume the Environment Committee will do its stuff and eventually
the Cabinet of 7 good Councillors and true will make a decision......a truly
democratic process singularly lacking from what has gone before, on this
concern and my purpose in writing is to ask that the public consultation in
September will deal not just with the Lombardy poplars in the Stanborough
Park car parks, but also those which are located in WGC town centre and in
other key places in the town's Conservation Areas e.g. Parkway Close and
poplars in Howardsgate and in Parkway are an essential element of the beauty
of our town centre. Their removal will tear the heart out of our Garden City
and would constitute an act of extreme civic vandalism. The Council has
stated (Welwyn Times 6 Aug 2008, page 15) that "there are no plans to remove
them during this three-year cycle". But I ask - where are we in that cycle,
and what plans are being hatched for the years after that ?
urge the Handside and Hatfield Central ward Councillors and the Environment
Committee to insist that ALL our Lombardy poplars are included in a new,
wide-ranging survey by a truly independent specialist, and that their remit
should be to come up with a plan that will meet public approval, as well as
being technically sound.
PS Did any
of your readers notice that the photograph of "poplars" on p 15 of last
week's issue of the Welwyn Times was actually a photo of whitebeams in
Parkway ??? Tsk tsk - another example of not being able to see the wood for
the trees ?