Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps has returned to in-person constituency visits after months of holding meetings and events virtually.
Mr Shapps said: “It’s great to be back on constituency days again. Being out and about in the constituency.
“Meeting people, visiting schools is vital work for any constituency MP and frankly the kind of thing which has been really difficult to do during COVID. It’s just not the same when you’re on a Zoom video- fantastic to be back out in person.”
On Friday, Mr Shapps’ first visited recently painted murals in subways by the station in Hatfield.
Two pedestrian subways in Hatfield have been transformed into works of art, to provide safe and attractive walking and cycling routes between Hatfield Station and Hatfield House.
Badgers, butterflies, balloons, and bicycles are just some of the colourful new images to be seen in the transformed subways, along with murals celebrating Hatfield’s role in the development of the aircraft industry.
The improvements to the subways have been undertaken by Hertfordshire County Council in partnership with Network Rail and supported by Hatfield House and the local community. The redecoration is part of a programme of works to brighten and improve pedestrian subways across Hertfordshire to make walking and cycling more attractive options for residents.
At the site, Mr Shapps- who is also Transport Secretary- said: “To bring together so many organisations and agencies to all work on the same project is really impressive. It’s also lovely to note that lots of school children were involved in creating these murals.
It supports something I’ve been saying for a long time- if you want people to active travel, their surroundings need to be pleasant, and well looked after. I’ve cycled through these subways quite a lot and I’ve got to say they’re looking so much better. My congratulations to all involved.”
Phil Bibby, Herts County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “Improving these subways in Hatfield is part of a wider programme to encourage active travel and reduce car use across the county.
Walking and cycling have so many direct benefits to both physical and mental health, and if everyone made a few more journeys on foot or bike, and a few less in the car, that would have a big impact on air quality, and therefore on everyone’s health. That’s why improving routes like these is so important to us.”
Next stop for Mr Shapps was Stanborough School in Welwyn Garden City, where he met with Headteacher Merry John to tour the school, check on its progress, and open a newly completed Music & Drama block.
The opening, at which teachers, governors and students attended, Mrs John said: “This new block is a fantastic base for our young musicians and performers- they deserve the best. I’m really pleased to see that during lunchtime, during lessons, it’s a thriving place for our students. Thank you so much to Grant for being able to join us for the official opening.”
Mr Shapps said: “I’m really excited about you guys getting to use this new facility, which looks absolutely amazing.
“Going around the school today, the change looks really great, especially these new blocks. I know there are great things ahead for all the students here. So, congratulations- let’s get this block open.”
A video was published by Mr Shapps about the day, which can be viewed below: