News Archive: 2018

Liberal Democrats Applaud PCC's Withdrawal of Hostile Takeover of Fire Service

Sustained Opposition Forces Re-Think

In a joint announcement issued today with Herts County Council, Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd agreed to abandon his proposal to take control of the Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, leaving the service under the governance of the County Council.

17/08/2018

If at first you fail, try, try again

"That seems to be the motto for Wetherspoons at 22 Parkway" says LibDem councillor Malcolm Cowan. "While it is smaller than the 2 previous attempts which were turned down unanimously by the Development Management Committee, much of the harm that was identified then continues. And how disappointing that they have chosen to reveal their plans during the summer holidays when so many people are away."

17/08/2018

Bungled Brown Bin Charge Rubbishes Welwyn Hatfield Recycling Rates

Letter to Welwyn hatfield Times

Twelve years ago as a Borough Councillor I was able to persuade our Council to start the process of a Climate Change Strategy and, after years of pressure from LibDem colleagues, to see positive moves towards increased recycling rates.

08/08/2018

Bungled Brown Bin Charge Rubbishes Welwyn Hatfield Recycling Rates

With reporting now complete on the first year since Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council rolled out a £35 charge for garden waste collection, the borough's overall recycling rate has plunged from 53% in 2016/17 to 43.4% for 2017/18. This sharp decline puts Welwyn Hatfield near the bottom of all Hertfordshire local Councils. At the top of the Herts league table is Liberal Democrat-controlled Three Rivers District Council, which achieved a recycling rate of 62.4%.

06/08/2018

Rail Compensation Scheme Misses Thousands

The offer of a one month refund to rail season ticket-holders misses thousands of regular travellers who pay for their tickets in other ways, says LibDem councillor and rail campaigner Malcolm Cowan.

24/07/2018

Report Harassment and Misogynist Abuse

Letter to Welwyn hatfield Times

I was dismayed last week to hear from a friend, a young professional woman who lives near the city centre of Welwyn Garden City, that she'd experienced two separate incidents of abusive behavior within the past two weeks.

16/07/2018

We Want Trains, Not Empty Promises

Letter to Welwyn hatfield Times

Perhaps our MP should be offering a month of free taxes to compensate Welwyn Hatfield constituents for the ineptitude of his party's government when it comes to ensuring a working transportation system.

09/07/2018

New "interim" timetable no better than failed one

"The new so-called improved interim train timetable, set to start on 15 July is no better than the current one that is failing so badly" says LibDem councillor and rail champion Malcolm Cowan.

"The current 2 ½ hour gap in trains from Kings Cross in the morning - 0921 followed eventually by the 1151 is an insult. There is also a 90 minute gap in the evening, and a 90 minute gap going into London just after lunch. Yet again, none of the faster Govia trains that rush through are being called in to stop, when there must clearly be spare track capacity given the number of trains not running.

08/07/2018

The Train Approaching Does Not Stop Here!

Letter to Welwyn hatfield Times

I had hoped that by now we would be seeing some improvements on the local rail services, but we are not. In fact, the problem is not lack of trains, it is lack of trains that stop at WGC or Hatfield - the vast majority thunder through.

01/07/2018

Why is Grant Shapps defending Failing Grayling?

That is the question many local rail users are asking, after a motion of No Confidence in Transport Minister Chris Grayling was defeated with not a single Conservative MP breaking ranks in the vote, despite many of them expressing their extreme concern in the debate. And Grant did not speak at all in the debate unlike MPs for Stevenage, for Hitchin and for North-East Herts, the areas sharing our pain.

24/06/2018

Govia Boss Resigns

It has been announced that Charles Horton, head of Govia, has resigned.

Malcolm Cowan, Liberal Democrat councillor, says "This is not before time. He has presided over chaos on Southern, through the attempt to force in Driver-Only Operation, and now brought chaos to our line and Thameslink through the botched timetable change, in which Govia were major culprits.

04/06/2018

Continuing Chaos Leaves Travellers in Dark

Train cancellations affecting Welwyn Hatfield have continued, with just a 50% service over the weekend of 2nd/3rd June and multiple cancellations on weekdays.

However, a joint letter from Network Rail, Govia and Northern has laid wide open that the chaos was known to be coming. Part of their statement says:

04/06/2018

Sorry, we forgot to empty your bin... 34 times!

Serco's failure to provide a proper bin emptying service is shown up by the appalling record at flats in Duncan Close WGC - 34 failures in less than 30 months.

"That's 12 flats not getting a proper service" says local LibDem councillor Malcolm Cowan, who has often been asked to intervene.

24/05/2018

Panshanger Community Hall Closure

Letter to Welwyn hatfield Times

The sudden and unannounced closure of Panshanger Community Hall after the council demanded a massively increased rent was a shocking betrayal of the community, the groups who used it and the local population. At the protest meeting, we were told by senior councillors that the issue had been being discussed for around 3 years.

14/05/2018

A Triumphant Night for WelHat Lib Dems

It was a triumphant night for Welwyn Hatfield Lib Dems in the local elections on May 3rd. We held on to three seats and gained three new seats, giving us eight seats on Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council: our strongest representation in the Council's history.

03/05/2018

Tory Rent Hikes Trash Community Services

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council has effectively run a local charity into the ground and obliterated a number of community activities and resources by attempting to exorbitantly increase the rent on the Panshanger Community Centre, in Moors Walk shops, Welwyn Garden City.

01/05/2018

Tories "Dumb-down" Building Control

At the Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council meeting on Monday 9th April, the Conservative controlled Council finalised their decision to transfer their statutory building control functions to Three Rivers District Council, in the face of strenuous opposition from both the Liberal Democrat and Labour parties. Three Rivers District Council will now carry on this function on WHBC's behalf.

15/04/2018

Why vote Lib Dem on May 3rd?

The Tories have been in control of Welwyn Hatfield since 2002. You only have to look around you to see failure after failure. Change is long overdue and the Liberal Democrats can deliver that change.

If you want a council that listens to you and acts in the best interests of Welwyn Hatfleld, vote Liberal Democrat in the local elections on May 3rd 2018.

13/04/2018

Council says walk more, drive less - unless you plan to shop at Aldi

How exactly does a Council for a Garden City, that claims to want us all to drive less, allow a major new supermarket to open that has no pedestrian access? How does the County Council's Highways department, which bears the responsibility for reviewing access and travel plans and raising any problems, also fail to notice?

11/04/2018

Full of Holes

Experienced Liberal Democrat councillor, Malcolm Cowan, writes to the Welwyn Hatfield Times to point out that not only are our roads and paths falling apart and full of holes, so too are the tired excuses offered by the Conservatives for their failure to address these widespread problems. These are failings that could potentially put lives at risk.

09/04/2018

Slower not Faster: New Rail Timetable under Fire

The new rail timetable starting in May and just published has plenty of disadvantages for WGC and Hatfield travellers, says LibDem councillor Malcolm Cowan.

"First, the so-called fast trains from Kings Cross will take a new record slow time of 35 minutes compared with 26 or 27 minutes at present; this is a massive slow down with no explanation. Ironically the poster in the cafe on platform 3 at WGC shows pre-war trains taking 23 minutes, so we will be 50% slower from May.

01/01/2018

50 bags of litter picked up in Peartree and Handside!

Last Saturday (10th March), 30 young members of the Focolare Community took part in a mass-litter pick in Handside and Peartree. The young people were at the Focolare Centre for Unity for a weekend themed #BeyondAllBorders where they focused on how to make a positive difference to our environment.

12/03/2018

Welwyn Hatfield Lib Dems select next Parliamentary Challenger

Liberal Democrat County Councillor Barbara Gibson has been selected to fight the next General Election for the Lib Dems. She was confirmed as the Party's Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Welwyn Hatfield by local party members at a specially convened meeting on 28th February.

Barbara was elected as County Councillor for Haldens Division in Welwyn Garden City last May. A former university lecturer and business woman, Barbara is a relative newcomer to politics, joining the Liberal Democrats less than two years ago.

06/03/2018

Have your say on Parking

When we speak to people on the doorstep, parking is an issue that often comes up and it is clear that in large parts of Welwyn Hatfield, there is insufficient parking provision for today's car-owning society. Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council has started a consultation on parking in the area to try to gain a better insight into specific parking issues that residents have.

03/03/2018

Address to the full budget meeting of Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council

Helen Quenet, Monday 5th February 2018

The approach of the end of the financial year, is a good time to review any organisation. To look at what has gone well, and what needs to be improved upon. Here are four things in which we should aspire to do better in 2018/19.

14/02/2018

Unhappy New Year for Rail Travellers

The start of the New Year has yet again brought fare rises well above wage growth as the Tory government see rail users as easy target. LibDem councillor Malcolm Cowan says "While the private rail companies force passengers to endure over-crowding day after day, their chiefs pocket millions in pay and bonuses".

01/01/2018