Town centre improvement work is already in progress

Sir – In reply to open letter from D M Fuller (WHT, November 12): I was very pleased to hear that that your correspondent applauded the work being carried out in Hatfield Town centre on behalf of the residents of Hatfield. I originally held a meeting in

Sir - In reply to open letter from D M Fuller (WHT, November 12):

I was very pleased to hear that that your correspondent applauded the work being carried out in Hatfield Town centre on behalf of the residents of Hatfield.

I originally held a meeting in Hatfield last summer with local traders and residents to explain the current position regarding the town centre development and to give people the opportunity to voice their concerns for the future. A number of very good ideas came out of that meeting and we agreed to set up the Hatfield Town Centre forum to address issues and to come up with solutions.

Since we first met in July, this council has earmarked the sum of £400,000 in this financial year to make the improvements suggested by the Town Centre Forum.

I assured the forum members that I would do all I can to get the £400,000 programme completed by the end of December 2008 and I am very pleased to confirm that this target will be achieved for the great majority of these works.

Improvements include: l CCTV l public toilets l children's play area l regular newsletter l continuation of the farmers market l refurbished seating and waste bins l tree and shrub improvements including replanting l repairs to damaged brickwork and walling l repairs to damaged paving l repainting of rails, pillars and lamp posts l cleaning up of telephone boxes l painting over graffiti l murals painted by local young people l improvements to the subways

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We have also developed an events programme to encourage shoppers into the town centre. The first event was held over the recent half term and this will be followed by a special Christmas event on December 13 which will include activities for children and at 3.30pm a carol service for all the family to join in.

I have written to all the local businesses asking them to support us financially with a full programme for next year.

Regarding this Christmas, local children were asked to design a Christmas light decoration - the winning design is currently being manufactured and will be displayed on White Lion House.

We will be installing new Christmas lighting in the town and on the recently erected Christmas tree. Work on Christmas decoration has only just started and we are working towards the final scheme being in place by the beginning of December.

My position is that Welwyn Hatfield Council remains totally committed to the regeneration of the town centre in Hatfield and I believe this is evidenced by the huge amount of resource we have put into this project from the start. I still firmly believe that the town centre must be redeveloped to make it into a vital and exciting place to visit, work and live in.

However to achieve all that is required to revive Hatfield Town Centre we require the support of the traders and the local community, so if your correspondent would like to contribute I would ask him to write to me with his ideas and his name and address and I will ensure that he is invited to join us at the next town centre Forum to be held on December 4.

John Dean, Leader,

Welwyn Hatfield Council.

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