The Garden Village Preservation Society (GVPS) campaign group organised a protest march against WHBC's Emerging Core Strategy 2011-2029. It started from Green Lanes Primary School and made its way to Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council main office at The Campus, Welwyn Garden City.
Under the plan Hatfield Garden Village (HGV) would become completely encircled with 2,000 new homes and a gypsy and travellers pitch, which would be built on the Green Belt. Local residents have banded together to form a protest group, complete with websites and online petition. WHBC's plans are currently open to public consultation until 31 January 2013. However, this is just one of the sites in Hatfield.
The march started off from Green Lanes Primary School, Hatfield Garden Village at 10:00 (10 am).
Marchers setting off across the footpath off Green Lanes – by West Lodge
After the recent heavy rainfall the footpath was very muddy and flooded in places but it did not deter a very determined set of marchers
While the marchers' mettle was proved, some children's buggies struggled to cope with the conditions. Fortunately, there was always a willing pair of hands (or set of shoulders) to help out.
A reminder of the natural beauty and what we stand to lose – with 2,000 homes to cram in there's unlikely to be much space for large animals. The horse seemed a bit bemused by the march – usually it's not this busy on a Friday morning.
The tail end of the march makes it way across the footpath. If WHBC gets its way soon this will be little more than asphalt and houses – with nothing left but memories and pictures like this.
Marchers emerging along part of what was once the A1M of its day –the Great North Road.
Marchers at the roundabout of the Great North Road, Brocket Road and Stanborough Road. Another view of the same below.
After walking along Stanborough Road (A6129) marchers near the end of Parkway, Welwyn Garden City.
Marchers emerging from the underpass in front of WHBC offices on The Campus, WGC.
GVPS committee members, WHBC councillors and officials, reporters and marchers in front of the council offices.
View of the marchers and protestors in front of WHBC offices from across The Campus.
A closer view of a section of the crowd estimated to be 50-100 strong.
After handing in a petition GVPS committee member Karen Ware and WHBC councillor Mandy Perkins (Con, Welwyn West) addressed the crowd.
Karen Ware addressing the crowd. A reporter from local radio station Jack FM accompanied the marchers.
Another view of the crowd clustered around the speakers.
Councillor Perkins addressing the crowd. The smaller, green and white placard reads 'Keep Green Belt. Save Garden Village'. The other bears the URL of one of the group's websites (details on links page).
Another crowd shot with the John Lewis store in the background.
Marchers who crossed the fields were often left with muddy badges of honour.
Close up view of a section of the crowd.
Having been advised this was not yet a 'done deal' and that the consultation was still open (until 31 January 2013), the council official handing out response forms was mobbed by people eager to ensure that they got the chance to make their views known.
Marchers posing for a photographer from the local press on the steps to the council offices before making their way home.
Please note: WHBC's consultation on their Emerging Core Strategy 2011-2029 is open till Thursday, 31 January 2013.
People can respond online via the WHBC Planning Portal. Further information on how to do so and links to it can be found on the Garden Village Preservation Society website (details on links page).