Efforts continue to bring Welwyn Garden City booths back to former glory
PUBLISHED: 07:00 19 November 2018
The Welwyn Garden City Society is continuing years of work to bring the town's poster booths back to their former glory.
This month, society members took it upon themselves to roll up their sleeves and tidy up the booths as an interim measure ahead of the poignant Remembrance Service.
Many hours were spent stripping off the many years and many layers of fly-posting.
Members then gave the bare wooden panels a coat of paint.
Society chairman Will Davis said: “The WGC Society does not own the booths or have any responsibility for them currently, but like most residents we were fed up watching them continue to dilapidate.
“We now hope that the fly-posters will refrain from filing them up again with unsolicited and unauthorised posters and flyers.
“We think they look a bit better now, but of course we still plan to facilitate their full refurbishment.
“We are working on finding a way to get them refurbished and back to their former glory.
“This has taken several years already and we know that many residents are dismayed that the they remain an eyesore.
“Breathing life back into them has proved a very complex affair and there are many different strands to doing so, all of which have to line up in sequence.
“We believe our perseverance is slowly paying off and are working hard behind the scenes to make it happen as soon as possible.”
The society has been informed it may be able to purchase the two remaining booths from the Crown Estate.
The booths reverted to the Crown Estate following the previous owner of the booths, a local business, going into administration in 2006.
The society is pushing for the legal title of the booth sites to be re-issued but this comes at a price.
The society will have to pay the Crown Estates’ legal fees, its own legal fees, and the actual purchase price.
To help fund this and the refurbishment, a bid will be made to the National Lottery Heritage Fund (HLF).
However, it is proving tricky obtaining the funding without being able to prove ownership.
Once the booths have been obtained, the plan is use them as information points to highlight the town’s heritage.
Mr Davis said: “We are also exploring the idea of an augmented reality phone/tablet application with a local innovator who is passionate about the town and keen to extend the story of the town into the cutting edge of the virtual online world.
“This may not be deliverable ultimately, but it is certainly worth exploring as there is no cost to the project to do so.”