STUDENTS at the University of Hertfordshire would NOT recommend the institution to prospective new undergraduates – because there’s nothing to do in Hatfield.

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"“Most university students are able to enjoy life on campus and in and around Hatfield.
However, I’m sure that any success in developments such as the Mary Portas town centre bid will be welcomed by the whole community.”"

University of Hertfordshire Dean of Students Ross Renton, reacting to the focus group

That was the surprise admission by third year students during a focus group attended by the Welwyn Hatfield Times.

While they would recommend the uni based purely on its educational merit, the group said there was little in the way of shopping or leisure facilities to draw them to the town centre.

And most admitted they went home at weekends to socialise rather than stay in Times Territory.

The seven students had been brought together by Welwyn Hatfield Cllr Lynne Sparks, leader of Hatfield’s Town Team for the Portas Pilot bid.

She organised the focus group in order to gather feedback from students on what they would like to see in Hatfield town centre.

Suggestions ranged from designer and high street clothes stores and cafes, to cheaper bus fares, student-friendly pubs and leisure activities such as bowling and pool.

There was also a call for more lighting in the town centre, to make people, particularly young women, feel safer when walking alone at night.

There was a positive response to several of the ideas included in Hatfield’s bid, in particular, giving business students and entrepreneurs a chance to test their product using pop up stalls at Hatfield market, and making the town a wi-fi hotspot.

But all seven students said they never travelled to Hatfield town centre unless they were getting their shopping from Asda.

More worryingly, several students had never heard of Hatfield House, while others had no idea where it was located.

“The students had a lot of interesting stuff to say,” Cllr Sparks said after the meeting.

“We got a lot out of it and there’s a lot we can follow up.

“I was surprised so many students go home at weekends because there’s nothing to do, and it’s interesting that they want variety – they don’t all just want to go the The Forum [the uni’s student bar].

“They all go to Asda, but half didn’t know that anything else existed near it.

“They asked for better signage and information, which is in the bid anyway. A lot of what was said has really reinforced what we’re already doing.”

10 comments

  • Hatfield is a lovely place to live, and there is plenty to do around! In regards to pubs- head to Old Hatfield, the 8 Bells and the Horse & Groom are two fantastic places to drink. Even the Red Lion is nice if you don't mind the slightly higher prices. Closer to home for students the Hilltop serves a good pint in a safe atmosphere. The focus group wants somewhere to play pool- such a place exists right next to Iceland! Designer shops will sadly never move here as (as any business student will know)- there simply isn't the level of demand as will exist in St Albans, Welwyn, Watford, Stevenage or London- all of which are easily accessible from Hatfield at very cheap bus rates with the student card. I graduated from the university in 2009 and have been fighting hard for two years to be able to move back. Now that I am back I couldn't be happier and I don't intend to move anytime soon. Students- advice from an alumnus to you- get out and explore Hatfield. If your knowledge is based purely around Bishops Rise, the Forum and Asda, you are missing out at least half of what is a very nice town. Spread your wings- it's part of the UH experience!

    Report this comment

    James Broach

    Saturday, April 28, 2012

  • WelwynHatfield is a dead and alive hole even for every one else who has the misfortune to live in it.

    Report this comment

    Chris Reddin

    Friday, April 27, 2012

  • didnt think student were there to party...the whole point of university is to study

    Report this comment

    donna

    Friday, April 27, 2012

  • You should live in WGC nothing to here either for all parts of the community unless you cannot afford to go to the gym, Council does not like people relaxing and enjoying themselves and coming up with ideas. Look at the tesco plan this paper and others were so one sided in their view there was no hope for it to happen. At least Hatfield has entertainment at the Galleria for everyone's pockets.

    Report this comment

    QCGIRLIE

    Friday, April 27, 2012

  • Why does Chris Reddin stay. Apparently there's plenty of accommodation in Stoke (and a good football team). Make room for those,like James Broach, who appreciate the area

    Report this comment

    Pilgrim

    Sunday, April 29, 2012

  • WelwynHatfield is a dead and alive hole even for every one else who has the misfortune to live in it.

    Report this comment

    Chris Reddin

    Friday, April 27, 2012

  • WelwynHatfield is a dead and alive hole even for every one else who has the misfortune to live in it.

    Report this comment

    Chris Reddin

    Friday, April 27, 2012

  • Hatfield is a lovely place to live, and there is plenty to do around! In regards to pubs- head to Old Hatfield, the 8 Bells and the Horse & Groom are two fantastic places to drink. Even the Red Lion is nice if you don't mind the slightly higher prices. Closer to home for students the Hilltop serves a good pint in a safe atmosphere. The focus group wants somewhere to play pool- such a place exists right next to Iceland! Designer shops will sadly never move here as (as any business student will know)- there simply isn't the level of demand as will exist in St Albans, Welwyn, Watford, Stevenage or London- all of which are easily accessible from Hatfield at very cheap bus rates with the student card. I graduated from the university in 2009 and have been fighting hard for two years to be able to move back. Now that I am back I couldn't be happier and I don't intend to move anytime soon. Students- advice from an alumnus to you- get out and explore Hatfield. If your knowledge is based purely around Bishops Rise, the Forum and Asda, you are missing out at least half of what is a very nice town. Spread your wings- it's part of the UH experience!

    Report this comment

    James Broach

    Saturday, April 28, 2012

  • Donna, all work and no play makes students loose their marbles! I completely agree with this article. I go home as much as I can. If I want to do anything I feel I need to travel out of Hatfield to do it, except for the cinema. Every student i've spoken to has never heard of Hatfield House and doesn't know where it is, even though one of the entrances is opposite the station. I mainly use the town centre for Asda, no student I know goes else where in the town centre, except Asda, Subway and those other fast food place. That amazing Chinese restaurant is no longer there :( and is now a kebab shop. And I try to use the shops in Hatfield town centre as much as poss, but often find I need to travel to Welwyn or St. Albans to find what i'm looking for. Hatfield town centre is so run down, it was used as in the scenes for a deserted town in a BBC drama recently. Also I feel that Hatfield does need more student-friendly pubs, where are they? They don't have to be uni run, would mind even knowing of a decent old country style pub.

    Report this comment

    Emma Carroll

    Friday, April 27, 2012

  • WelwynHatfield is a dead and alive hole even for every one else who has the misfortune to live in it.

    Report this comment

    Chris Reddin

    Friday, April 27, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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