Keep to the Hatfield plan - letter from Hobday

PUBLISHED: 14:15 29 December 2008 | UPDATED: 22:17 26 October 2009

SIR – Borough council leader John Dean s announcement in the Welwyn & Hatfield Times that the council will go back to the drawing board over Hatfield town centre is an absolutely disgraceful one. His plan, for a new and presumably much smaller town cent

SIR - Borough council leader John Dean's announcement in the Welwyn & Hatfield Times that the council will "go back to the drawing board" over Hatfield town centre is an absolutely disgraceful one.

His plan, for a new and presumably much smaller town centre, will inevitably involve a whole series of unnecessary costs to be paid by local council taxpayers.

We will have to endure a fresh planning consultation, a new planning application, potentially a second, year-long process to obtain a new compulsory purchase order and, possibly, a search for a new developer to build the new town centre.

Certainly, the council's budget for consultancy advice is destined to go through the roof.

All this is happening when the council has a perfectly good town centre plan waiting to be implemented.

We have a developer standing ready.

We have an excellent shop, Wilkinsons, signed up as an anchor tenant for a major unit in the new town centre.

We have an approved planning application and a confirmed compulsory purchase order.

There is no need whatsoever to abandon all these in favour of some unknown and second rate future town centre.

Hatfield residents and businesses deserve better than this from the local council.

It is clear a new town centre is not going to be built in the middle of a global economic recession. But, when the economy starts to recover, we expect the council to promote the town centre we were promised, not some half-sized and second-rate alternative.

I can understand how Grant Shapps MP wants to score party political points by pretending that this is all the Government's fault.

But John Dean has a wider responsibility to local people that should go beyond his political cause. He was elected to run the council on behalf of local people. He should start to listen to what they have to say.

Mike Hobday,

Labour Party,

High View, Hatfield.


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