Comment: Don't be hard on Hatfield
PUBLISHED: 13:46 29 August 2017
Last week saw St Albans, Welwyn and Hatfield featuring in yet another list of top commuter towns.
This particular Evening Standard selection was limited to places in Hertfordshire within a 30-minute commute of King’s Cross. Cheshunt was the only other town to feature. It was a very short list.
St Albans regularly crops up in these sorts of stories – it was named one of the Standard’s 25 ‘commuter hotspots’ in July, and in January it came fifth on property consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle’s list of commuter destinations not served by the beleaguered Southern rail network (Harpenden topped that one).
Hatfield doesn’t crop up as regularly on these sorts of lists, so it was nice to see it getting some recognition. Apart from much of what it was being recognised for was negative.
In fact, the article’s author seemed to really hate the place, causing many readers to wonder why it was even featured.
“Hatfield is one of the post-war new towns,” she wrote. “Sadly the planners of that era did a pretty poor job of trying to create a new world in the form of its now lacklustre town centre and its dismal social housing. The more recent Galleria shopping centre is not much better.”
Hardly the most glowing of endorsements for one of the ‘top four Herts towns for schools, commutes and price growth’.
The fact that she feels Hatfield ticks those particular boxes doesn’t mean the author has to like anything else about the place of course. And better to tell it like it is (in her opinion) than sugar-coat it. But the final quip about Hatfield’s “poor shopping and lack of nightlife” – before comparing it unfavourably to “lovely” St Albans – felt harsh and unfair. St Albans, as the Evening Standard knows all too well, is very, very expenseive for many reasons. If Hatfield’s hot, tell us why, don’t slate the place.
Me, I’m just back from the Galleria and it was great.