Welwyn Parish Council was formed in 1894 and the first meeting was held in St. Mary’s Hall, Welwyn, on New Year’s Eve 1894. Mr. Samuel Wallace was appointed first Chairman and Mr. G. A. Deards was appointed as first Clerk – a post held until 1904. Mr. Thomas Hassard followed him until 1947 that, in turn, was followed by Mr. Philip Maidment until 1974. Mr. Bill Bonner was Clerk from 1974 until 1988. This Council was comprised of twelve Councillors and the Parish was divided into four wards. Council met on the last Thursday of each month, and the meetings took place at the Welwyn Rural District Council offices.
At this time Council was responsible for street lighting and in 1896 levied a 2d. in the £1 rate, this produced £30 for gas street lighting. The Parish Council was also the fire fighting authority and was responsible for building the fire station in 1936. A local architect, Mr. H. G. Cherry, who also designed the QVM Hospital, designed this building. The first fire engine purchased by the Council was painted green.
The Council was responsible for the provision of playing fields in the Parish, and in due time acquired seventeen acres of land now known as the Welwyn Playing Fields. Even in those days, there were two Football pitches, a Hockey pitch, Cricket Square, two hard Tennis Courts, Basket Ball pitch and a fully equipped children’s play area. In 1964 the Council provided a Bowling green and Pavilion in this area.
Council is also a burial authority for all denominations. In I960 the sum of £5.3s.6d. enabled a parishioner to purchase a family grave. Council is responsible for the upkeep of St. Mary’s Churchyard, which is a Closed Churchyard, which means that no further burials may take place. In addition, it also maintains the Welwyn War Memorial.
In 2000 part of the original Welwyn parish separated to form Woolmer Green Parish Council.
Today Welwyn Parish Council consist of eleven councillors and five members of staff. Residents elect Councillors every four years. The Council elects a Chairman and Vice-Chairman annually at the Annual Parish Council Meeting usually held in May. The Council reports to the electorate at the Annual Parish Meeting. Councillors are unpaid. Councillors commit their time to improving Welwyn Parish and maintaining it as an attractive and sustainable place in which to live, visit and do business. Elections were last held in May 2015. The next election will be in May 2019. The business of the council is overseen by our Parish Clerk and her staff who manage the day to day running of parish matters and keep councillors abreast of developments and legislation.
Welwyn Parish Council is here for the benefit of its residents and maintains and develops amenities and infrastructure within the parish, the cost of which is funded through the Parish Precept. We provide venues for hire, sports grounds, children’s play areas, allotments, car park, access to toilets, and a cemetery. The Parish Council also leases land to Welwyn Tennis Club, Welwyn & District Bowls Club and Sports & Social Club at Ottway Walk and Acorn Play Group and Pre-school.
Apart from our Full Council meetings (usually held on the last Monday of the month), we have five sub-committees: Finance, Leisure Facilities and Open Spaces, HR, Planning and Licensing, and Community Engagement. Welwyn Parish Council also sits on the Burnham Green Joint Management Committee. For the timetable of all council meetings please see the calendar on the home page. In addition councillors represent the Parish on various outside bodies and on working groups for community organisations, localism and highways.
Thanks to Audrey Maidment for providing some of the historical facts from the records that were kept by her late husband, Philip.