Welwyn Garden City day centre ‘will not close’

A COMMUNITY centre in WGC will not be closing, according to the leader of Welwyn Hatfield Council.

Councillor John Dean has reassured staff and volunteers at Douglas Tilbe House that the facility, which provides a base for social groups for elderly people, will not be closing amid speculation that it was for the chop in the wake of the council’s �1.7m budget cut announcement in July.

But that’s despite the council’s own newsletter claiming it will be closing and moving to Hatfield.

At a full council meeting at Campus West in WGC on Monday, Cllr Dean pledged that only the kitchen facilities – which provide the borough’s meals on wheels service - would be closing at the Hall Grove facility, following an impassioned speech from centre volunteer Derek Pettit which received a round of applause from councillors.

“It’s not our intention to close Douglas Tilbe; it’s our intention to close the kitchen,” Cllr Dean said. “The activities referred to so eloquently are not to be closed as far as we’re concerned.”


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But Cllr Dean added he was “disappointed” that fears over the closure of the entire building had become widespread – a comment interpreted by some councillors as a barb at the WHT.

But it seems the confusion over Douglas Tilbe’s future extends to council level.

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The latest edition of Team Talk – the council’s internal newsletter – states on its front page that Douglas Tilbe “will be relocated to Jim McDonald Centre in Hatfield and will include transport for users of Douglas Tilbe House.”

Labour councillor Maureen Cook said she could understand the confusion over the future of the centre.

“One minute we’re told it might be closing, then we’re told it’s just the kitchens. But then the council newsletter says it’s moving to Hatfield.

“I wish they could just send out the correct information.”

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