Welwyn Garden City reacts to £1.5m town centre regeneration plans

PUBLISHED: 12:36 25 July 2017 | UPDATED: 12:46 25 July 2017

A visual mock-up of what Stonehills could look like after the changes.

A visual mock-up of what Stonehills could look like after the changes.

Archant

Plans for a £1.5million regeneration of WGC town centre have sparked mixed reactions, with some residents praising the plans while others voiced concerns over loss of parking.

The borough council unveiled its initial proposals last week – which will largely be funded by Hertfordshire County Council – with the aim of alleviating congestion and improving the shopping experience.

Key changes could include enforcing a 20mph speed limit, pedestrianising Stonehills and part of Wigmores North, resurfacing the town centre’s footways and carriages, and introducing more seating areas and planting.

Hollybush resident Alex Hedges said: “I agree with the proposals. The amount of times I’ve driven through there and nearly hit people when they just step in front of you.

“Not only that, parts of the town’s roads are way too tight for cars and are an accident waiting to happen.”

However, among the changes could be moving the cabbies’ rank from opposite The Howards Centre to Stonehills.

Belinda Yeldon, 23, who works as a business manager for NHS England, said: “I live on Stonehills and can already hear the taxis loudly, as they leave their engines on, talk outside their cabs and play music.

“These properties developed just months ago only just passed the sound approval ratings and I’m concerned moving the taxi rank closer will mean they would fail.”

Another controversial element is the potential loss of up to 50 parking spaces – mostly those in Stonehills – although a borough council spokeswoman said that number could be lower, depending on which proposals are formally adopted.

Panshanger resident Emily Hills, 23, said: “That would be a bit of a nightmare. I can understand why they are trying to get rid of it [parking in Stonehills] because you do get traffic build-up all the time, but that’s a popular place where people would park.”

Pollards Close resident Sally Anne, 25, said: “There is nothing wrong with our town centre, in fact it’s a beautiful town and nothing needs to change.

“Put the money into something we and our families and people from outside the town would benefit from.”

A borough and county council spokeswoman said: “We’d like to thank everyone for their views and encourage people to get in touch if they haven’t yet told us what they think; this is your chance to help shape future plans.

“All feedback will be taken into account before any decisions are made on further development of the project.”

Feedback can be sent until Monday, August 7, by email to WelwynGardenCityTownCentre@hertfordshire.gov.uk.

*Email your thoughts to letters@whtimes.co.uk

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