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From Jo Simson - 29th January

Local Plan Public Meeting:
The Village Hall was packed for the Public Meeting called by the Parish Council last week to discuss proposals in North Herts. District Council’s Draft Local Plan for over 400 houses and a primary school to be built on Green Belt land at the edge of the village. Over 350 people were there and the vote was overwhelmingly against the proposals. The deadline for responding to NHDC’s consultation is next Friday February 6 and you can do so at http://www.north-herts.gov.uk/localplan.

Village Dental Practice Comes of Age:
It is 21 years since Liz Stringer founded the Village Dental Practice in Station Road. The practice is thriving and many of us have reason to be grateful for Liz’s dentistry skills. Liz is now handing over the reins to Dr. Sachin Shah, who takes over on Monday February 2. Liz will continue to work part-time during a handover period, but is no longer contracted for NHS work.

Let’s Get Messy:
Families are invited to a craft and activity session, short act of worship and shared meal in St. Martin’s Parish Centre and Church this Sunday February 1 at 4-5.30pm for the first Messy Church of 2015. All more than welcome, 50p per head to cover costs. This is the first Messy Church under the leadership of Mark Clifford in his new role as part-time Children’s Worker.

Quizzically Speaking:
The Winter Warmer Quiz Season continues. Next up is Knebworth Players Quiz in St. Martin’s Parish Centre next Friday February 6. For tickets/details contact Sue George on 01707 330274 and sueandclive1@tiscali.co.uk. The other drama group in the village KATS (Knebworth Amateur Theatrical Society) is also presenting a ‘fun’draising Quiz Night on Saturday February 28. Talented duo Austin Willett and Martin Willoughby take time out from treading the boards to take on the role of Quizmasters. There’s a fish’n’chips supper included in the price and licensed bar. The fun starts at 7 for 7.30pm. Teams of 8, or we’ll find you one to join. Tickets £9.50 from Jo Simson 01438 814166, jo.simson@ntlworld.com.

Centenary Tea Dance Musicians Sought:
St. Martin’s is celebrating its 100th birthday this year in November. Celebrations include a Tea Dance in the Church itself on Saturday November 14. A ‘tea dance band’ is sought to give an authentic flavour. If you think you might be able to play, or know someone else who might, contact Penny Paton on 01438 313241 and pennyandgeorge@o2.co.uk.

Jo Simson

From Jo Simson - 22nd January

Knebworth Walking Group’s next outing:
Their last walk has been dubbed the muddiest ever, so Knebworth Walking Group got twice the exercise for the same effort. Next Tuesday January 27 they meet in the Village Hall Car Park at 10am to arrange car shares for a walk centred around the Three Horseshoes Pub in Willian. The walk is about 4 ½ miles and you are promised that most of hit will be on hard ground. All welcome, including well-behaved dogs on leads. Just turn up.

Quizzically speaking:
If you don’t get out and exercise much during these dark, cold tedious months of the year, there are plenty of opportunities to exercise the little grey cells. First up is the Welwyn Twinning Association Quiz this Saturday January 24. At 7.30pm in the Welwyn Civic Centre. Teams of up to 8, Tickets £10 (members £9), but it will cost you £1 more on the door. You can get those advance tickets from the delightful Hill & Co. violin shop in Welwyn High Street. Your ticket price includes a fish’n’chip or vegetarian alternative supper. Bring your own drinks and glasses. For further details contact nigel.jeffery@welwyntwining.org.

Quiz season continues:
Sunday February 1 sees the Royal British Legion Pub Quiz taking place in Gun Lane, Knebworth. There are cash prizes for this one, it costs £1 to enter and you only need a team of four. The Quizmaster starts firing the questions off at 7.30pm.

Knebworth Players Quiz:
The two drama groups in the village, KATS and Knebworth Players, are both taking time out from treading the boards during the winter months to present quizzes. Knebworth Players is first in production – Friday February 6 in St. Martin’s Parish Centre in the heart of the village at 7 for 7.30pm. Tickets need to be booked in advance. All welcome. Your £8 ticket includes a jacket potato supper, bring your own drinks and glasses. Book your seat from Sue George, 01707 330274, sueandclive1@tiscali.co.uk.

Songs of Praise:
Rev’d. Jim Pye has hit upon a novel form of exercise – for the lungs. Sunday February 22 is his designated Songs of Praise day. The 10am Service in St. Martin’s in the heart of the village and 4pm service in St. Mary’s up in Knebworth Park will be chosen by the congregations. This can also include you, if you cast a vote and come along. You can download a voting form at

Jo Simson

From Jo Simson - 15th January

Save Rural Knebworth:
A campaign group has been set up to oppose North Herts. District Council’s proposals to build more than 400 new homes on Green Belt land around the village. This would increase the size of Knebworth by 25%. The group is urging villagers to respond to NHDC’s Local Plan consultation and write to  MP Stephen McPartland before the deadline of February 6. A Public Meeting will be held in the Village Hall, Park Lane at 8pm on Tuesday January 20. For more information contact the group on
Web Site: www.facebook.com/saveruralknebworth
Web Site: www.saveruralknebworth.co.uk
Email: jeremy@saveruralknebworth.co.uk

You really must come for coffee:
Knebworth is getting into the swing of things now that the holiday season is behind us. Your chance to catch up with everyone comes this Saturday January 17 at the Knebworth Family of Churches Coffee Morning from 10am-12noon in St. Martin’s Parish Centre in the heart of the village. Unlimited refills of tea and coffee, home-made cake, chat and fairly traded goods are all on offer. All more than welcome.

You really must come for lunch:
A week later, on Sunday January 25, the family of Churches will be joining together in St. Martin’s Church for a United Service in the week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The service starts at the very civilised time of 11am and will be followed by a Bring and Share lunch. All more than welcome to both or either.

Calling all music lovers:
Singer in the bath? Love going to concerts? January is a good month for you. Undeterred by the rapid passing of time, Stevenage Symphony Orchestra are performing their annual New Year concert at in St. Martin’s on Saturday January 24 at 7.30pm. Conductor Phillip Brunton will guide them through, amongst others, Dvorak’s New World Symphony. Tickets £9 (£7 concessions) from Gower House Interiors in London Road www.stevenagesymphony.org or on the door. Stevenage Choral Society, meanwhile, have a ‘New’ Year resolution to look for new singers. If you’d like to have a go – no audition required - come along to their Open Rehearsal on Monday January 26 at 7.30pm in Nobel School, Mobbsbury Way, Stevenage.

Jo Simson

From Jo Simson - 8th January

Knebworth’s own Brian Worthington started the New Year in style. Brian has been awarded a much-deserved MBE in the New Year Honours List. His name will be familiar to many as one of the prime movers in Knebworth Village Festival and Knebworth Community Chorus, and his award is for services to the Arts.

Walking back to happiness:
In the dull days of the turn of the year, walking can help to beat the blues. The Knebworth Walking Group’s New Year’s Day walk attracted over 45 people – or perhaps it was the lure of the mince pies provided by the ladies of the WI. Your next opportunity to get out there and walk off some Christmas calories is next Tuesday January 13. The walk will be centred around the Crown Pub in Aston End (not to be confused with Aston proper). Meet at the Village Hall Car Park at 10am to arrange environmentally-friendly car shares.

Seasons of the Woodland:
The ladies of the WI don’t confine themselves to making mince pies for walkers. They hold monthly meetings on the second Wednesday of the month with fascinating talks and themed competitions. The first meeting of the year is thematically-linked to walking, though. Photographer Barry Kauffman-Wright is giving an illustrated talk on ‘Seasons of the Woodland’ on Wednesday January 14 at 7.45pm in Trinity Church Hall, Park Lane. New members and visitors welcome. The competition will be ‘A photograph of a Winter scene’.

Tai Chi:
Another exercise opportunity for the New Year. Tai Chi is a Chinese Martial Art, I gather, which can be used both for defence and physical fitness. Stephen Halls runs a beginners’ class in Knebworth Village Hall (Park Lane) on Wednesdays evenings at 7.30pm. Cost is £6 for an hour’s session. For more information contact Stephen on 01438 318734. 

Public Meeting – proposed Green Belt development in Knebworth:
North Herts. District Council is consulting on its preferred options for housing with a deadline of 6 February. These include two Green Belt sites on the outskirts of Knebworth which would have a combined total of 414 dwellings and a primary school built on them in the period to 2031. Knebworth Parish Council is holding a Public Meeting on this contentious issue on Tuesday January 20 at 8pm in the Village Hall to examine the issues.

Jo Simson

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