Hatfield councillor pays to meet residents
A COUNCILLOR who wants to hold meetings closer to his constituents is paying to host special surgeries himself. Mike Alder represents the large ward of Hatfield Central on Welwyn Hatfield Council but was concerned some of his elderly residents would have
A COUNCILLOR who wants to hold meetings closer to his constituents is paying to host special surgeries himself.
Mike Alder represents the large ward of Hatfield Central on Welwyn Hatfield Council but was concerned some of his elderly residents would have a long walk to reach him.
All councillors are asked to meet their constituents on the first Saturday of every month, to hear their views and help with any issues they have.
Hatfield Central currently holds these at the Bill Salmon Centre in the town centre.
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But the ward also stretches out to the Birchwood estate, where Mike himself lives.
He said: "It's a wonderful estate, but it's something that's been bugging me for ages.
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"The surgery is located, very badly to my mind, in the caf�, it's cramped and far from private.
"My two fellow councillors [Maureen Cook and Colin Croft] feel that a town centre venue is vital and I don't disagree.
"But there should be a regular surgery at Birchwood.
"It can be a trek to the town particularly for the old folk."
Despite raising the issue with the council, it was unwilling to pay for two venues, but agreed to Cllr Alder hosting an informal surgery of his own.
Cllr Alder agreed, paying for the hire of the second venue himself.
He added: "I'm not doing it for my own kudos."
A council spokeswoman said Cllr Alder's idea was admirable but it could not be funded.
She said: "More rural wards, such as Hatfield East that covers parts of Hatfield and Essendon, which are more sporadic in layout, warrant the split of surgeries across different sites, as one site may be less convenient or accessible to residents.
"Although Hatfield Central is a large ward, the area still maintains good access routes to the town centre."
Cllr Alder's first surgery will take place at the Wellfield Room, Birchwood Leisure Centre, from 10am to 10.45am on Saturday .