A single pink rose was left in tribute to Una Stubbs, at the memorial sculpture of Ebenezer Howard in Howardsgate.
Una Stubbs, who died earlier this month, had a career in film, television and theatre that spanned decades. In 2013 she took part in the BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are? programme to learn more about her family and found not one but two connections with Welwyn Garden City.
Never having met her paternal grandparents even though they didn't die until she was in her twenties, Una, who was the face of Rowntree's Dairy Box in the 1950s, discovered that her grandfather worked for the chocolate manufacturer thirty years before. When increasing mechanisation put her grandfather out of a job, the family relocated to Welwyn Garden City. By extraordinary coincidence Una's maternal great grandfather was Sir Ebenezer Howard, founder of the Garden City movement and the creator of Welwyn Garden City.
Angela Eserin, local historian and a Trustee of the WGC Heritage Trust, was invited by the Who Do You Think You Are? producers to participate in the filming of the programme, talking to Una on her visit to Welwyn Garden City.
“I found her to be a genuinely lovely person. Not the least bit "actressy", but modest and unassuming and really easy to talk to. She instantly put me at ease. She did say how proud she was of her great grandfather and how beautiful she thought Welwyn Garden City was.
At the end of the filming she said goodbye and walked into John Lewis and I remember thinking it unlikely that anyone in the store would realise that the small figure in the black coat and beret was the wonderful actress Una Stubbs.”
Welwyn Hatfield's Development Management Committee, which decides the fate of planning applications, is now due to meet on Thursday 9th September 2021 to discuss the first of the Broadwater Road high rise developments. This will consider the proposed development on the BioPark site, which is planned to be densely packed apartment blocks up to 9 storeys in height.
Having cancelled an earlier meeting the Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council website states:
"We have recently received further communications from members of the public and want to allow for further consideration of these before DMC meets.
As there is significant public interest in this application, we are taking the opportunity to consider an alternative venue where the meeting can be held in a safe and Covid-secure way. The meeting was, as usual, scheduled to be webcast but we are aware that some members of the public may still prefer to attend in person.
Please note that any further comments received between now and the new date of the committee will be taken into consideration."
The WGC Society would like as many people as possible who are concerned about the proposed Broadwater Road area planning applications to assemble in the Cherry Tree car park outside the Council Offices at 6:30pm on Thursday 12th September. The Society says "We need to be well behaved and patient, and, we suggest, smartly dressed. We will be together with our friends from the Keep the G in WGC group and the Heritage Trust. We are unlikely to be admitted to the Chamber, so it would be advisable to bring something to sit on, as the plan will be to have as many people outside at the end of the meeting as we can. The meeting will start at 7:30pm and last for at least an hour. We will try to broadcast an audio version of the meeting into the car park so that there will be something to listen to. It is really important that councillors are clear about the weight of opposition there is against these proposals. We hope that as many of you will support us as possible."
Welwyn Garden City is facing a monstrous threat from the developers of the northern half of the Shredded Wheat site. They are trying to get permission for tower blocks of up to 10 storeys. Together with existing approved plans this would mean inserting around 4,000 new residents, virtually a whole new ward, and bring the population density to a level comparable to Manhattan! The plans completely ignore the SPD (Special Planning Document) created by the council as the definitive statement on the Shredded Wheat site.
Comprising entirely apartments and with little green space the plans contradict everything that defines a Garden City. There is no social housing offered in the mix and only 0.6 parking spaces per dwelling. Views of the iconic silos will virtually disappear and the view of the Town Centre from the east side blocked by the huge towers.
WGC Heritage Trust and our sister organisation the WGC Society are leading the fight and badly need high profile objections lodged with Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council by 31st March. Please help prevent the devastation of arguably the most beautiful garden city in the world.
However, even more has just come to light as the developers of the southern section have sent in a further application that would increase the number and size of tower blocks and population even further!
To help you create a powerful statement of your concerns we have created a list of suggestions below.
GROUNDS FOR OBJECTION
The Broadwater Road Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), the SPD (Supplementary Planning Document), adds further detail to the policies in the Local Plan. It provides guidance for development on specific sites, or particular issues, such as design. SPDs can be a material consideration in planning decisions but are not part of the development plan. The SPD for Broadwater expects all proposed development to be respectful to the silos and not exceeding 5 storeys.
Key planning issue – if you have a plan you stick to it.
‘The main listed structure of the CPUK silos should be incorporated as landmarks in the overall structure of development and the building heights of all blocks should have regard to the setting of these buildings. The silos, in particular, should stand out as the main landmark on the skyline and therefore no new development should adversely affect this role’. [Section: Height-6.15]
‘The Council's vision for Broadwater Road West is... To deliver an energetic and pioneering scheme of development which integrates the spirit of the garden city with the very best of high quality 21st Century design, seizing the opportunity to enhance the local environment and create a sustainable, supported neighbourhood of an appropriate scale, which successfully integrates with the local community’. [Section Vision- 1.5]
Below are a list of suggested objections - please edit and add your own twist. Object on: https://planning.welhat.gov.uk/Planning/Display/6/2021/0181/MAJ
1. The site and its effect on adjoining properties.
The new proposal increases the number of dwellings from the granted 811 units by over 50% to a massive 1241 units. Compared with the 2015 permission this is an increase of over 240% from original 851 units to a massive 1,241. The proposed building height is 10 storeys which contradicts the Council’s own SPD limiting building to 5 storeys.
2. Appearance relative to the area.
The further increase in size is inappropriate for this, the second garden city.
3. Plot size and spacing relative to the area.
The approach is too dense by far.
The design obviously does not take into account pandemic issues.
The development hides the Shredded Wheat silos and production hall. It will compromise the Broadwater Road street scene, overpowering the art deco and Mirage developments to the south. It is inappropriate for a Garden City, being too dense in nature. The proposed density is higher than Manhattan, New York – but at least they have the greenery of Central Park! It is 121 dwellings per acre compared with 57 for a typical London social housing estate). This is too dense, too high and detrimental to well being. It is lacking greenery and has no kinship with our unique town.
4. Effect on the street scene.
Overpowering. The proposals have no affinity whatsoever with this town.
There is inadequate greenery in the proposals.
6. Design of the buildings relative to the area.
There is no relationship – it is overpowering.
7. Traffic and access.
The local infrastructure is inadequate to sustain such a large development (including roads/ railway/ schools/ medical facilities, etc.). There is no example where a no-car/ bike-hub has worked. The proposals are large enough to create a new Council Ward!
8. Impact of the development, particularly on adjoining properties.
Overpowering. If this development is granted then all the adjacent areas will have proposals for high rise buildings. A massive 7 storey development is already mooted for Bridge Road East.
9. Other issues
Other sites within the borough, such as villages with high public transport accessibility, appear to have been ignored despite their suitability for development. Emphasise this as it is a curious fact that the main bulk of the new housing has been dropped onto WGC while leaving highly suitable sites elsewhere in the district untouched.
The public ‘consultation’ undertaken to date has been poor and there is a low level of public awareness.
Please resist the temptation to just copy & paste. You could omit some of the less damaging proposals and/or amend the text to put your own twist on the submission.
Welwyn Hatfield Planning – You can go direct to the relevant planning application by entering https://planning.welhat.gov.uk/Planning/Display/6/2021/0181/MAJ into your browser. Then follow the instructions. You are limited to 1000 characters but can attach a file containing additional remarks if this is insufficient. We recommend you get your attachment written before starting this method. The constraint of 1000 characters, not words, is very limiting and will only really give you the chance to list all the aspects you object to. However, the attachment allows free rein so make the most of it. If you are commenting on the planning application, you will be requested to provide your name, address and contact details.
(Illustration from Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing design and access statement showing north and south developments on the Broadwater Road site)
A reminder that you can follow WGC Heritage Trust's two digital town trails using your smartphone or tablet!
Simply scan our QR codes with your phone or tablet to see the history of that location and information on how to get to the next location.
You can start anywhere you can spot a QR code, but both the town centre trail and the Peartree trail officially start just outside the Howard Centre. The QR code is on your left as you exit the Howard Centre's main entrance on a lamp post in the grassy area (look for a plaque similar to the one pictured above). Full information on how to get started is on the plaque, or read on for full details...
The system, developed by the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust, uses well tried existing technology in a completely new way. Users with smart phones will now have access to our digital trails simply by scanning the QR codes on specially designed signs mounted on lamp posts. The system has been designed to work with iPhone, Android, Windows, Blackberry and Amazon Kindle mobiles and Internet enabled tablets. To scan the QR codes the system uses any one of a number of freely downloadable apps that will read the code on each sign and immediately link the phone to the Trust’s town trail website (http://towntrail.welwyngarden-heritage.org). Each sign has a unique code connecting you to information about the history of that location.
To ensure you get immediate access each QR sign provides a link for obtaining a suitable QR Code Reader. Simply by typing goo.gl/kvYDSY (written on each sign) into the browser of your phone a list of apps that we have checked work will be displayed. Download your choice of app from the list and you can start using the trails immediately. As far as research by the Trust has shown the system is not in use anywhere else in the UK and so gives Welwyn Garden City a ‘Digital First’.
In the future the Trust plans to offer sound and video in addition to the already provided text and photos to enrich your experience.
Now available to order: Live, Work & Play - A Centenary History of Welwyn Garden City by Mark Clapson.
Commissioned by WGC Heritage Trust and published by The History Press to coincide with the town’s centenary, this excellent and meticulously researched book is the first new history of Welwyn Garden City for over a decade. Variously described as authoritative, accessible and providing an essential text on the social history of the town, it also looks at the influence of WGC on the global garden city movement.
The book can now be ordered from WGCHT for £20. Not yet available in the shops due to the UK lockdown, arrangements are in place for local collection, or delivery for those self isolating, in the WGC area. For all other locations we can ship by post (UK p&p estimated £4). All handling by WGCHT will be with the greatest care in controlled conditions.
Angela Eserin, WGCHT Trustee, is a local historian and author. She is also currently part of the project team working to have a WGC Centenary Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2020 as part of the town’s centenary celebrations.
Angela is giving a talk at WGC Library entitled “1919: Prologue to a Garden City”, which looks at the year of intense activity that took place during 1919 to build Welwyn Garden City. The talk will take place on 14 October 2019, starting at 7.30pm and finishing at 8.30pm.
There will also be an opportunity to view documents and discover more about this important period in history. Tickets cost £3.00 and are available to purchase online and from the library (price includes refreshments).
This photograph of the Cherry Tree Restaurant is from Forty-One Pictures of Welwyn Garden City - published in 1923.
‘Keeping Up Appearances - Louis de Soissons, his life, his work, and his legacy’.
WGC Heritage Trust is hosting local resident Geoffrey Hollis's talk on the man who designed WGC. “I have consulted his family, trawled through archives online and in libraries, visited many of his sites, and discovered that I know well a great niece of Louis. As a result I will be showing previously unseen pictures of his family, and presenting new information which may lead to a complete re-evaluation of his life.”
An must for anyone living in WGC, with a love of architecture and design or both! An open discussion is planned after the talk so that anyone can add their knowledge or recollections of Louis de Soissons to the mix. Pictures, plans or any other relevant material is welcome.
The Focolare Centre for Unity, 69 Parkway, WGC, AL8 6JG.
Doors open 6:30 for 7pm start on Tuesday 4th September 2018.
On Tue 1 May at 7.30pm Letchworth Heritage Group presents the Ebenezer Howard Memorial Lecture. Ebenezer Howard's ideas from over a hundred years ago brought up-to-date. The lecture “A 21st Century Renaissance?”, by globally recognised garden city enthusiast - Lord Taylor of Goss Moor, will be in the Spirella Ballroom, Letchworth SG6 4ET, with music provided by the Garden City Band. Tickets £7.00 are available from David's Bookshop and Letchworth Tourist Information Centre.
You can now follow WGC's Heritage Town Trail using just your smartphone (or Internet Connected Tablet).
There's no need for maps or guides just scan our QR Codes with your phone and you'll see the history of that location and information on how to get to the next location. It's that simple.
You actually can start anywhere you can spot a QR code , but most people will start at Number 1 which is located just outside the Howard Centre. It's on your left as you exit the Howard Centre's main entrance on a lampost in the grassy area (look for a plaque similar to the one pictured above). Full information on how to get started is on the plaque, or read on for full details...
The system, developed by the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust, uses well tried existing technology in a completely new way. Users with smart phones will now have access to the Trust’s Town Centre Trail simply by scanning the QR codes on specially designed signs mounted on lamp posts. The system has been designed to work with iPhone, Android, Windows, Blackberry and Amazon Kindle mobiles and Internet enabled tablets. To scan the QR codes the system uses any one of a number of freely downloadable apps that will read the code on each sign and immediately link the phone to the Trust’s Towntrail website (http://towntrail.welwyngarden-heritage.org). As each sign has a unique code you will be connected directly to information about the history of that location.
To ensure you get immediate access each QR sign provides a link for obtaining a suitable QR Code Reader. Simply by typing goo.gl/kvYDSY (written on each sign) into the browser of your phone a list of apps that we have checked work will be displayed. Download your choice of app from the list and you can start using the Trail immediately. As far as research by the Trust has shown the system is not in use anywhere else in the UK and so gives Welwyn Garden City a ‘Digital First’.
In the future the Trust plans to offer sound and video in addition to the already provided text and photos to enrich your experience. A similar system will be installed in Peartree as soon as possible given how important that area was and still is to the town.
Visitors to our website can now listen to audio clips from the Trust's collection of oral histories about Welwyn Garden City.
This rare 1919 plan, labelled as "the portions of the Panshanger Estate situate adjoining the villages of Stanborough, Lemsfordmills and Digswell Water. Lots 1 to 25. The sale by auction by Messrs Daniel Smith, Oakley & Garrard", was brought along to the 'Where Do You Think We Played?' exhibition and temporarily loaned for scanning.