Chair’s report for AGM 2020-21

By | 30th May 2021

Our AGM will be held at our June meeting on Wenesday 9th June 2021. If you would like to attend please let us know in a comment and we will send you the link to the online meeting.

That almost sums up the year: Everything was online. March 2020 was our last event, the Alban Way litter pick and our next event was the ride held in May 2021, our first organised ride since October 2019. All our planned rides to and from Wewlyn Garden City were postponed to 2021. What an extraordinary and challenging year.

Digswell Park Road at Welwyn Viaduct
Digswell Park Road, calmed by bollards funded by Covid money for cycling

You will be unsurprised to learn that we have not been idle and we continue to successfully lobby for new cycle routes and route repairs in our towns. Highlights of the 2020-21 year have been:

  • The Alban Way roots are gone and repairs were made in summer 2020, following Chris and Ian’s Root-O-Meter campaign from 2019.
  • The A602 works at Sacombe (a side project for the Chair) commenced with planning agreed for the cycle path under the road at this key junction for people cycling from Hertford north into the lanes around Dane End and Bennington. However, in early 2021 we were very sad to hear of the death of Jon Crosby (Cycling UK South Herts) who had lobbied so tirelessly to get this project to happen. We have suggested to Hertfordshire that the route be named after him.
  • A second new route we have gained by objecting to another ill thought out scheme is at Hilltop Hatfield, where a short but essential cycle path will be constructed along High View as part of the redevelopment of the shops. In due course this will join up to a new path on Bishops Rise and then the Woods Ave path to the town centre.
  • And a third is the much needed route around the north end of Hatfield Town Cente, extending the Wellfield Road route to Queensway, approved in April 2020 with building work, we hope, starting summer 2021. It is extraordinary that although the extension has been agreed, we don’t yet know if a crossing of Queensway will be constructed. More to lobby for.
  • The Chair has been working with Sustrans on their plans to divert National Route 12 in Hatfield where sections are no longer deemed safe enough to be a national route. The Woods Ave cycle route will provide a quick win alternative, bringing long distance riders into the town which is of course good for business.

In Summer 2020 the Government made money available for some cycling works. However, this was jam thinly spread and some of the works controversial. The best work was the bollards on Digswell Park Road which combined with an excellent island crossing on Bessemer Road provides a safe new link to Digswell village. An extension to Welwyn North station is needed.

Cycle path on Hunters Bridge ending too soon at waitrose
The Hunters Bridge bollards, Welwyn Garden City

The Hunters Bridge bollards were much less successful, not going far enough into town to help cyclists and incuring the wrath of motorists who were convinced this would cause traffic problems, not that we have seen any. In Hatfield, bollards on Link Drive help keep traffic away from Onslow School but the bollards on Queensway really achieve very little and do nothing for the more dangerous north bound lane. It reamains to be seen what comes of the consultation on these routes now the May elections have happened.

Finally we should mention some useful publicity:

In the summer of 2020 a keen new cycling journalist at the Welwyn Hatfield Times, Charlotte Mclaughlin, wrote several pieces about local cycling and experienced the Queensway / Woods Ave roundabout cycle lane at first hand. A video of the Chair on site was added to her story. Unfortunately for us, her excellent work was rewarded with a promotion to another paper.

The new activity map

As the year ended, the new Welwyn Hatfield Activity Map came out. Roger Moulding our Treasurer had worked very hard to get this project funded by the WGC Centenary budget and then updated and printed. For local cyclists, we now have a map which accurately shows current routes rather than those of 2005, something we can give out when we can go back to running stalls at events. If you would like a copy, Roger will deliver. Like all cyclists, any excuse for a bike ride!

WelHatCycling would not function were it not for the tireless endeavours of the small but agile committee. So my thanks are to Roger Moulding (Treasurer), David Dixon (Secretary and web site), Chris Whitehouse and Ian Gregory (our link to Cycle Herts of which he is secretary). If you read this and think this is a group you could contribute to, do please get in touch.

Adam Edwards

Chair, WelHatCycling