After a long winter it seems that spring has sprung a bit late. But at least it’s arrived. And arriving too were the builders now in the process of beginning the long awaited start to Phase 1 of the town centre redevelopment. Presently, they seem to be concentrating their efforts on the former Bill Salmon Centre where 19 apartments and five shops are to be built. Four more flats and two shops will also be built at the end of The Arcade.
The Phase 1 development is scheduled to take up to 15 months and, at a cost of £3million, is about one twelfth of the overall scheme costing £40million. It has not yet been announced when Phase 2 will start. Clearly it is going to be a very long process with the developer dictating the pace of construction with their caveat, “When markets improve”.
With County Council elections coming in May, opposition parties are aware that the local press have begun their campaign of support for the Conservative’s who rule at Government, County Council, Borough Council and Town Council levels. It started with our MP Grant Shapps hailing the business park on the former BAe aircraft site as a great success. Mr Shapps explained that more people are now employed there than they were when Hatfield manufactured and developed some of the world’s finest aircraft; space rockets and missiles too.
Whilst his figures are debatable, there is no doubt that many thousands of workers – largely unskilled – are now employed there. Of course a very high percentage of these are not what could properly be termed ‘local’ people. Thousands of them are transient migrant workers and thousands more travel here from the previous bases of their companies who relocated to Hatfield eg EE (ex Tmobile) from Borehamwood; Eisai from Hammersmith; Pitney Bowes from Harlow, and now, we are told, the soon to open ARLA depot are advertising many of their 600 ‘local jobs’ in Poland!
To compare the new business park with the old BAe aircraft site is ridiculous. Not one of the new businesses, no matter how large, provides so much as a football team, let alone a social club or meaningful sponsorship to a local cause.
Working practices change, but the aircraft industry provided quality jobs, proper training and apprenticeships, also a plethora of sports and social clubs and it saw itself as a true community partner. Perhaps Mr Shapps would like to comment about this aspect?
Football Stadium For Hatfield?
Hatfield Town FC were forced to leave town six years ago so that they could take up a promotion from the Herts County League to play in the Spartan South Midlands. Initially, they relocated to ground share at Harpenden Town’s modest stadium, because the Spartan League demand that clubs have certain facilities such as floodlights and grandstands etc, but Hatfield, shamefully, provided no ground at all. Our flagship club have since played their ‘home’ matches at the grounds of WGC, London Colney, Hitchen Town, Hertford, Colney Heath, and are now based at Gosling in WGC. But all this could soon change if the University
re-open the sports ground at Angerland Common; which they closed to the community nine years ago. It will cost the Uni around £250k to reinstate the now overgrown playing pitches and a further £800k to build a replacement changing room block for the original one they
demolished to make way for their large Park & Ride on the site. Although the University have a legal ‘106’ obligation to restore Angerland, it now seems that they will be using this money – and more – to provide a permanent home ground for both Hatfield Town FC and Hatfield QE Rugby club plus their reserves and youth teams.
If this scheme is delivered in a financially fair, non-onerous way, then these clubs have much to be grateful for and due credit should be accorded to the University. We look forward to seeing the details of their forthcoming planning application.
Mike Watts, Community Editor
12:02pm Thursday 6th June 2013
Officers had been called at 3.45pm to reports of a man seen with what was believed to be a gun in Howlands, Welwyn Garden City. A short time later, officers arrested a 40 year old man near to Hatfield Train Station. A replica weapon was also seized....
6:33am Sunday 28th April 2013
Police are appealing for witnesses and information following a robbery in Welwyn Garden City on Saturday (20th April 2013). A 70-year-old woman from Welwyn Garden City was walking along an alleyway near Panshanger Drive at around 3pm when a man has run passed from the direction of Moors Walk...
5:57am Sunday 21st April 2013
Police are appealing for witnesses and information following a number of burglaries in Hatfield. Between March 30 and April 13 two properties on Comet Way were targeted by offender(s) who have forced entry and taken items such as games consoles, games and jewellery. The offences were committed at student accommodation whilst people ...