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Following numerous incidents in Hatfield Town Centre in recent months, the Labour group on Welwyn Hatfield Council have demanded answers, and received none.falling_apart.jpg

At a full council meeting on 10th September, Councillor James Broach asked the Conservative leader of the Borough Council, John Dean - “Why is Hatfield Town Centre falling apart ?”

It is as simple yet important question, one that anyone would ask, if they had seen newly refurbished glass panes and store fascias fall without warning

Cllr Dean’s response was not that as composed as the one he later provided to the Welwyn Hatfield Times.

To gasps from other Councillors present, he accused Cllr Broach of ‘scoring political points’ and ‘talking Hatfield down’. He went further to imply that members of the public were exaggerating, there was nothing wrong, the glass panes that fell were toughened so it hadn’t shattered (until impact), no one was hurt so it wasn’t a big deal.

Councillor Broach responded by asking if this did not give cause to examine the details of contracts and plans going forward to make sure no corners had been cut.  Cllr Dean would not be drawn into giving an answer on this either.

Following this meeting, there have been reports of residents tripping on uneven paving in Hatfield Town Centre, causing injuries and highlighting that there are numerous significant hazards that appear to have emerged recently in areas of the town centre recently worked on.

Labour leader Councillor Kieran Thorpe has reported this to the Council and said

“Every time these issues are brought before Councillor Dean and his Conservatives, every time – they respond by attacking the person raising the concern and say they are talking Hatfield down.

“The truth of it is this is a Conservative administration utterly out of ideas, in its fifteenth year they simply don’t care about Hatfield and we’re at the point that panes of glass falling and nearly hitting a child and mother don't even get a proper explanation.

“It’s the façade they care that’s again fallen down, and residents can see exactly what their safety and Hatfield mean to the Tories.”

Conservatives refuse to accept failings in Hatfield Town Centre

Following numerous incidents in Hatfield Town Centre in recent months, the Labour group on Welwyn Hatfield Council have demanded answers, and received none. At a full council meeting on 10th...

On Monday 11 September, in a meeting of Welwyn Hatfield Council - Labour put forward a motion that would have this Council reinforce it's opposition to the Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner's plans to merge the Police and Fire service under his control across Hertfordshire. Plans that our local MP Grant Shapps supports, despite every other level of Local Government objecting to them.

Labour put forward:

    • "This Council is disappointed in the decision of the Police and Crime Commissioner to submit his intention to the Home Secretary to align Police and Fire services within his remit.
    • This Council notes that ahead of any decision by the Home Secretary, the office of the Police and Crime Commissioner is advertising a vacancy for a senior position to facilitate "the potential change" in governance.
    • This Council resolves its previously expressed opposition to these plans and re-affirms its previously passes resolution that there should be no reduction to existing fire service provision on Welwyn and Hatfield."

Labour Councillors spoke in favour of this motion, highlighting how important it is that we keep our fire service intact and calling on Conservative and Liberal Democrat members to join and support this motion.

The motion was passed unanimously, rightfully reasserting Welwyn Hatfield Council's opposition to this plan and fully supporting our Fire Service.

You can read Councillor Kieran Thorpe's full speech below:

 

Thank you madam Mayor,  I raise this important issue tonight because I feel it is important for this council to underline its view on this matter.

I would like to thank the cabinet for making their previous statement in opposing this plan

And I bring this motion to council tonight to allow other Councillors the opportunity to endorse that view.

Put simply, not only here but up and down the country,

The strange oddity that is the concept of a Police and Crime Commissioner is being used as a tool to make cuts to our Fire Services.

Those members who have read through the business case for Hertfordshire, will have seen that is contained scarcely any detail of any efficiencies that could be made.

Which is understandable given people generally react badly to being told their emergency services are being cut.

The case also talks up potential opportunities for services to work closely together,

But actually these services already are working closely together.

Welwyn Hatfield has seen its fair share of fires, indeed sometimes very serious and large fires in recent years.

But our firefighters are regularly called to attend serious road accidents, all too frequently.

We’ve seen the fire service already impacted by austerity, and regardless of these plans being approved by the home secretary, even if the fire service stayed as it is, further cuts could still be made.  

But what we cannot abide, what we cannot agree to,

is a situation where this happens without any scrutiny of Councillors – and that’s the point.

We may not agree on many things here in this chamber, and that’s the case at County Hall too. But that is the basis of our democracy at a local level.

Issues are raised, detail is argued and everything is done in public before a decision is made democratically.

I’ll give you an example of the alternative, of what happens when you don’t have that level of oversight  -

A job vacancy advertised on the police commissioners own website for a senior position, with a salary far exceeding that of any regular firefighter or police officer

With a remit among other things, to carry out this merger BEFORE the decision has been made by the home secretary.

That is not how our emergency services should be managed,

that’s not open, transparent democracy.

I hope all members can join with me in sending a clear message to the home secretary that this is not in the best interests of residents of Hertfordshire or Welwyn Hatfield and that we back the Cabinet of this Council in objecting to this service cutting proposal.

Political parties unite to fight Police&Fire merger - But why won't our MP?

On Monday 11 September, in a meeting of Welwyn Hatfield Council - Labour put forward a motion that would have this Council reinforce it's opposition to the Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner's...

Welwyn Hatfield Labour Party sends our best wishes to our Councillor Glyn Hayes while he recovers in hospital.Glyn.jpg

Councillor Hayes was involved in a motorcycle accident this month and was taken to hospital for emergency treatment. Councillor Hayes faces a lengthy recuperation from his injuries.

Representing Hatfield Central, Councillor Hayes was first elected in 2014 and has most recently worked hard on holding the Conservative Council to account during the creation of ‘the local plan’.

Labour Group Leader Kieran Thorpe said

“Glyn is not just our colleague, he’s our friend. We will miss his considerable presence at council meetings but I look forward to his return.

I know Glyn is well liked by those across the political spectrum, and the messages of goodwill he has received have underlined this.  Glyn is one of the good guys and we will do everything we can to support him as he recovers from this terrible accident.”

Glyn said

“I will come back from this more determined than ever to campaign for the people who saved my life, the people who make up our fantastic NHS – without them I wouldn’t be here and I will never forget that.“

Get well soon Glyn!  

Get well soon Hatfield Labour Councillor Glyn Hayes

Welwyn Hatfield Labour Party sends our best wishes to our Councillor Glyn Hayes while he recovers in hospital. Councillor Hayes was involved in a motorcycle accident this month and was...

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