Letter from council leader John Dean

SIR - I want to update your readers with news about Hatfield Town Centre. Hatfield is a top priority for the borough council, as shown by large injections of cash in recent months. But the economic collapse at a national level has led us to rethink how

SIR - I want to update your readers with news about Hatfield Town Centre.

Hatfield is a top priority for the borough council, as shown by large injections of cash in recent months. But the economic collapse at a national level has led us to rethink how the redevelopment is funded. Because of this, our first line of attack was to push the project through with money provided by the Government's Homes and Communities Agency. We therefore applied for this funding.

We are a 'growth area' (with thousands more houses to be built because of Government targets), so there was a very good argument to say that the funding should be provided to help us go ahead with a vital local project. So, we applied for £25 million, over half of which was to be spent pushing the Hatfield project through. Other projects around the borough were also going to benefit.

However, I have just been told that the agency responsible for the funding has decided only to grant £3.1 million to Welwyn Hatfield - nearly £22 million less than we needed. This is a major setback. We now have to rethink how we approach Hatfield Town Centre and find another 'middle way'.


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With the economy and the Government providing barrier after barrier, the situation for Hatfield is very low. But we will not admit defeat for Hatfield. We will examine every new option.

I will consult with council officers and local residents, liaise with businesses and approach groups such as Action Hatfield. As soon as we have more options, I will make every effort to update local people and ensure that we work together to fight for Hatfield.

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John Dean.

Leader.

Welwyn Hatfield Council.

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