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The purpose of this section is to give local groups, clubs and organizations an additional way of advertising (free of charge) a forthcoming event taking place within the parish of Watton-at-Stone.

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NEWS articles

February 2018

E.ON offers free cavity wall and loft insulation for homes across Britain

  • E-on OFFER

    January 2018


    In addition to "your questions answered" below, see letter from Jo Johnson MP, Minister of State (Department of Transport) to Sir Oliver Heald MP

  • Train services from Watton-at-Stone – your questions answered

    1. Is our station closing?

    No. There is going to be some disruption while a new platform is built at Stevenage to receive trains coming from Hertford and Watton but our station is not closing!

    2. Why do they need a new platform at Stevenage?

    A brand new timetable being introduced from May 2018, including trains running direct from Stevenage to Gatwick and many South Coast destinations, and an increase in trains from Hertford North to Moorgate, means that there will not be enough platform space at Stevenage for Hertford/Watton trains to stop and turn round, so a new bay platform is required.

    3. When will the new platform be built?

    The government has committed to the new bay platform being built at Stevenage. Detailed plans have started to be drawn up in consultation with our train service provider, Great Northern. Once the planning has been advanced we will have a clearer idea of when work will begin.

    4. Does this mean that Watton services to Stevenage will continue as normal until December 2018 at the earliest, with no replacement buses before then?

    Trains will continue to run from Stevenage to Hertford North until December 2018. From May 2018, one train per hour will run between Stevenage and Hertford North (currently 2 trains per hour in the peak and 1 train per hour in the off-peak).

    5. I’ve heard that the new timetable you refer to, will be “staggered” and not implemented all at once. If that’s the case, why can’t our Watton trains continue to Stevenage until the whole timetable is implemented?

    It is due to the phased introduction of the wider GTR timetable that platform space will remain available at Stevenage to allow trains to continue to run between Stevenage/Watton-at-Stone/Hertford North. However, it will not allow the same platform capacity as is currently available, so the peak time train service will be amended.

    6. Why can’t the new platform be built without disrupting our services from Watton?

    Extensive engineering works are required to build the new platform, integrate it into the current Stevenage station and into the surrounding track and signals. This includes works to the track between Langley Junction and Stevenage to take our trains to the new platform without using the existing East Coast main line which will be required for all the other services.

    7. Can’t this be done “out of hours” while the trains aren’t running?

    Unfortunately not. Apart from the complex infrastructure mentioned in answer 6, there is on average a gap of only 4 hours between the end of service on one day and the start of service on the next day. This isn’t long enough to get all the required machinery and manpower in place, and offsite again for long enough to carry out all of the required work. So the only option is to do the work all at once and try to reduce the period of disruption to the shortest possible.

    Network Rail have started to carry out detailed planning to include the latest technology and engineering techniques to make the platform build time as short as possible to minimise disruption for passengers. And they will be making maximum use of so-called “white” periods – Bank Holidays etc – to get as much done as quickly as possible.

    8. So what does all this mean for Train services to and from Watton?

    May 2018:

    • Services from Watton-at-Stone via Hertford North to Moorgate will double to two trains per hour in the off-peak – currently only one train per hour.

    • There will be an hourly peak service from Watton-at-Stone to Stevenage (this is a reduction in the current half-hourly peak service but is unavoidable due to the platform capacity issues at Stevenage). There will be no change in the hourly off-peak service to Stevenage.

    • Rail replacement bus services will not be introduced between Watton and Stevenage before December 2018. There will be no replacement bus services from Watton via Hertford North to Moorgate (except when normal engineering work at weekends etc requires them).

    December 2018:

    • Rail replacement bus service between Stevenage and Watton-at-Stone, and Stevenage and Hertford North, Monday to Saturday. One train per hour between these points on Sundays.

    • Rail services between Watton-at-Stone via Hertford North to Moorgate, will continue.

    9. When will the planning for the new bus services start?

    In spring 2018, and there will be an opportunity for local people to provide their feedback via local representatives.

    10. Are there any plans to improve Watton-at-Stone station?

    Great Northern agrees that Watton-at-Stone station can be improved and will look at what improvements can be made to make the station a more user-friendly place in the future.

    When the buses are introduced, passengers travelling from Hertford to Stevenage will be advised to transfer onto the rail replacement bus at Hertford North, not Watton-at-Stone.

    11. We used to be able to get service updates direct to our mobiles from Great Northern but were then referred to a national service provider from whom we get nothing. What is happening?

    The service provider that used to provide SMS updates during journey disruptions no longer operates. Customers are recommended to use the Great Northern app as it advises real time updates on services and is more accurate than the previous SMS service.

    12. Is there anything else you can tell us at this point?

    Yes, two things. Firstly, Great Northern and I will ensure you receive regular monthly updates on this report, even if there is little to add. Great Northern are determined to improve their communication with their customers.

    Secondly, and most importantly, the fact that a new platform is being built to accommodate trains coming from Hertford and Watton is proof, if any is needed, that our services are secure for the future. Neither our station, nor the Hertford Loop, is closing whatever the rumours say to the contrary!

    Michael Freeman

    East Herts District Councillor for Watton-at-Stone

    January 2018



    - Tai Chi and Yoga classes change to Tuesday mornings from January 2018



    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."