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NEWS articles


UPDATE following Public Meeting held on 7th September 2017


Many people in the village may know that train services from Watton to Stevenage will be disrupted from May 2018. A lively meeting, organised by District Councillor Mike Freeman, was held on 7 September where representatives from GTR (Govia), who provide our train services, attended to explain the new arrangements.

The demand for train services across the whole South East has increased enormously over recent years and a critical point has been reached in our area. From next May it will no longer be possible for trains from our branch line to arrive at Stevenage and wait until their timetabled return time as the rail track space is needed for other trains to pass through Stevenage. The train company representatives likened it to ‘parking a car on the M25’.

Network Rail had received funding some years ago to install a new platform at Stevenage to facilitate trains from Watton to ‘park’ allowing our services to run as normal. Unfortunately, due to other projects overrunning and increased costs, Network Rail decided to delay this plan. Govia have worked very hard with the Government and Network Rail to have this funding reinstated and a decision about this is expected in the next few weeks. Even if funding is made available, it will be some considerable time before the new platform is built.

This means that, from May 2018, trains will no longer run from Watton to Stevenage and back on weekdays. A replacement bus service will be introduced and Govia would like input from villagers on the best way to run this bus service. A working group will be set up and Govia would like representatives from the village to be included. Those at the meeting interested in taking part were asked to email Mike Freeman.

On the positive side, the number of trains from Watton to London running off peak will be doubled to two an hour and new rolling stock will be introduced. The rush hour timetable will remain at two trains per hour and very early morning and very late evening services are not affected. There will also be a normal train service on Sundays.

If you would like any more information, please contact Mike Freeman. Regular updates will be featured in the Parish News.

CVS Community Car Scheme


Watton Ramblers

Newsletter - September 2017

FOREVER ACTIVE - come and join us.


Watton-at-Stone Parish Council

Completion of Annual Audit for the year ended 31st March 2017

Please follow this link: Audited accounts for the year end 31.03.2017

  • Concludion of Audit notice
  • Completed Annual Return for the year ended 31st March 2017
  • Issues arising report from the Auditors

  • NEW HOMES BONUS FUNDING - Extract from June 2017 Parish Council minutes concerning funding.

    Parish Councillors considered if they wished to enter another round of funding awards for this year for village organisations. After discussion, Councillors agreed not to do so until the Watton-at-Stone Neighbourhood Plan is finalised as we may need to keep funds in hand to support items such as sporting facilities, play areas and car parks.

    The Parish Council would also like to be able to support the Scout and Guide Group with the rebuilding of the Scout Hut in Mill Lane.

    A Healthier Future Let's Talk

    Please see below details of consultations being put forward by NHS East and North Hertfordshire and NHS Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), the organisations that plan and fund health services in Hertfordshire.

    The CCGs are asking for your views on a series of proposals designed to make best use of the money available to the local NHS, while helping as many people as possible to live healthier, longer lives and avoid preventable illnesses.

    The proposals are about:

    You can view or download the documents and give your views by going to the following web address. www.www.healthierfuture.org.uk/nhsletstalk.

    The consultation closes on Thursday 14th September 2017, and as part of the consultation there are a series of public meetings to seek your views on these proposals, and details of those events can also be found on the website above.

    If you need any more information, please feel free to contact the CCG by calling 01707 685 140 or emailing: engagement@enhertsccg.nhs.uk

    Woodhall Estate Exhibition

    Recently, residents may have received a flyer from the Woodhall Estate advertising an exhibition which will be hosted by them in the village in May. The exhibition is regarding possible housing development in Watton-at-Stone on their land.

    In response to this, the Watton-at-Stone Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group would like to make the following statement:

    "The Parish Council and Neighbourhood Plan steering committee wish to make it very clear that they have not 'engaged' Woodhall Estate to put forward land for development. The Estate team has had a few meetings with the Neighbourhood Plan team but they have not had any greater degree of access to them or insight into their emerging thinking than anyone else, and is certainly not being preferred over any other option. The process of deciding whether any land (and if so, which plot) might properly be released from the greenbelt remains very much under discussion. Following the public consultations, professional advice on the greenbelt issue is being sought. No decisions have yet been made. The Woodhall Estate has apologised for this misleading error in their flyer."