Welwyn Hatfield District Council (WHDC) was formed in 1973, alongside three existing local authorities – Hatfield Rural District Council (HRDC), Welwyn Rural District Council (WRDC), and Welwyn Garden City Urban Development Council (WGCUDC) – for the historic towns of Welwyn and Hatfield, and the relatively new town of Welwyn Garden City (founded after WWI, in 1920). The three original local authorities ceased to exist the following year.
The idea behind the merger was to create an area large enough so that it could be economically managed. However, there had been problems between Hatfield and Welwyn Garden City administrations – with the HRDC leadership actually boycotted the official opening of the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in WGC, even though it was meant to serve both towns from the outset.
In 2006, WHDC became Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council (which essentially meant the towns could have a joint mayor).
WHBC offices are based in Welwyn Garden City (main office shown above), although there are council offices in Hatfield.
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council is headed by 48 elected councillors.
Listed below is a breakdown of wards and the number of councillors.
Names of Hatfield councillors are also given:
HATFIELD WARDS – 14 councillors
Hatfield Central (3) - Maureen Janet Cook* (L); Colin Croft (L); Bukky Olawoyin (C)
Hatfield East (3) - Tony Kingsbury (C); Michael Long* (C); Bernard Sarson (C)
Hatfield South (2) - Linda Mendez (L); Kieran Michael Thorpe* (L)
Hatfield Villages (3) - Duncan James Bell* (C); Howard Morgan (C); Lynne Sparks (C)
Hatfield West (4) - Cathy Watson* (L); Caron Juggins (C); Kim Langley (C)
* elected / re-elected following local elections on Thursday, 3 May 2012 (overall Hatfield turnout 24.72%; WHBC turnout 29.86%) – a year after the previous local elections on Thursday, 5 May 2011.
WELWYN WARDS – 5 councillors
Welwyn East (3)
Welwyn West (2)
WELWYN GARDEN CITY WARDS – 21 councillors
OTHER WARDS – 8 councillors
Brookmans Park and Littleheath (3)
Northaw and Cuffley (3)
Welham Green (2)
As can be seen from this breakdown, the five Hatfield wards return only 14 councillors vs. 7 WGC wards returning 21 councillors (add historic Welwyn, and the total increases to 9 wards returning 26 councillors). These figures include an implied assumption that all of Hatfield's elected representatives stand up for Hatfield – and not put their political careers and party loyalties first. History suggests this is not a safe assumption so in reality the odds stacked against Hatfield are even greater.