Thameslink update

From 21:00 this evening we are closing the Thameslink tunnel between London St Pancras and Farringdon. This is to allow Network Rail engineers access to try to repair damage caused by a reoccurring water leak. Throughout the evening peak we will be running a heavily reduced service, mainly as a result of the problems but also to place on both sides of the river ready for this split service.

The route between Farringdon and St Pancras will remain closed until Network Rail assures that we can run a full service again.

We would like to sincerely apologise for the continued severe disruption you are experiencing if travelling on Thameslink.

Ticket acceptance is in place with East Midlands, Southern, LUL, Great Northern, Southeastern, London Buses, UNO buses, Metrolink, Arriva and Tramlink. We are also running shuttle services between Great Northern and Thameslink routes between Welwyn Garden City – St Albans and Hitchin – Luton/Luton Airport Parkway.

Advice for this evening:

  • Northbound passengers to travel from London St Pancras
  • Southbound passengers to travel from London Blackfriars, Victoria or Waterloo

Work gets under way on repairs to 35 Market Place

St Albans City and District Council is about to begin work on restoring the façade of 35 Market Place.

At a meeting on 22 January, Cabinet will hear that contractors have been appointed to repair structural brickwork at the front of the grade II listed building. The work is likely to last four months.

Prior to the work beginning, the Council had to obtain listed building consent from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. This was granted in October last year.

A decision was made not to begin the work until 2015 to avoid disruption to neighbouring shops and market traders during the Christmas period.

The building’s tenants have been notified that the work will start shortly.

Residents First Weekend

Residents can visit attractions for free, take part in sports and other activities and sample tasty meal deals during Residents First Weekend on 24 and 25 January.

Keep a look out for your Residents First Weekend brochure that is being distributed to homes in the District. It has been put together by St Albans City and District Council and lists all the offers and events available at visitor attractions, leisure facilities and restaurants. The brochure includes a Residents First Card. To take advantage of the offers, you will need to present your Residents First Card, to participating venues.

Full details of all the offers and deals are available in the Residents First Weekend 2015 brochure which is available at: http://www.stalbans.gov.uk/community-and-living/community_events/residents_first/.

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Highway repairs scrutinised by District Councillors

An item on the agenda of St Albans City and District Council’s Local Services Scrutiny Committee on 8 January was the performance of Hertfordshire County Council in maintaining the District’s highways.

The Committee decided it wanted to consider the matter following a presentation by the County Council’s Executive Member for Highways and Waste Management, Cllr Terry Douris, in September 2013.

The Committee was keen to follow up the recommendations agreed at the earlier meeting and receive updated information on the performance of the County Council’s main contractors.

Cllr Anthony Rowlands, Chair of the Council’s Local Services Scrutiny Committee, said: Continue reading

Temporary Closing of Sopwell Lane, St Albans

Notice from the county council

NOTICE is given that the Hertfordshire County Council intend to make an Order under Section 14[1] of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, to prohibit all traffic from using that length of Sopwell Lane, St Albans from its junction with Thorpe Road north westwards to its junction with A5183 Holywell Hill, a distance of approximately 285 metres.

The purpose of the Order is to enable utility maintenance works to take place.

The section of road will be closed for approximately 3 days during the period 16 February 2015 and 18 February 2015, when signs are in place. An alternative signed route will be provided for traffic whilst the road closure is in place.

If you have any queries about the utility maintenance works or the temporary road closure, please contact Tony Perring tel. 07875116993 at UK Power Networks Ltd or David Parkinson tel. 0300 123 4047 at Hertfordshire County Council.

 

Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire Hospitals under great pressure

Message from Herts Valleys CCG (NHS)

Emergency health services across Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire are experiencing major pressures this week.  Accident and Emergency departments are being stretched by the number of patients arriving at their doors, as is the ambulance service.

The situation is so serious that health bosses and the most senior doctors from Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire have united to deliver a hard-hitting message to the public Dr Nicolas Small, Chair of Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group said:  “The Accident and Emergency departments at our hospitals only have the capacity to treat people who have serious, life-threatening or dangerous conditions.  Ambulances should only be called in genuine emergencies.  If you use emergency services incorrectly you are risking the lives of others and won’t get the best treatment for your illness.

“If you have a minor complaint or injury you should not come to A&E in Hertfordshire or Bedfordshire: your care will not be a priority and you may even be sent away.  If you call 999 for an ambulance and your life is not at risk, you may be endangering the life of another person in desperate need of emergency care.

“More than 240 people arrived at Watford General’s A&E department yesterday, including several people who thought they may have flu asking for prescriptions, people with toothache and some women asking for the morning after pill or a pregnancy test.  Accident and Emergency was not the right place for them.

“Please do not attend our hospitals with common winter illnesses, such as chest infections, coughs and colds, diarrhoea or vomiting.  We have never seen our hospitals under such pressure before which is why it’s vital that everyone understands the urgency of the situation and what you can do to protect our essential hospital services this winter.”

There are other excellent services that can help – including some that provide instant access if you, a family member or a friend feel ill:

  • Click on to NHS Choices website – for trusted advice and information on how to look after yourself and your family. It covers  thousands of illnesses and conditions:  www.nhs.uk
  • Visit a pharmacist – for expert advice and low-cost medicines to ease your symptoms and help treat your condition. Every area has a late opening pharmacy and most have consulting rooms where you can ask for advice in private. Go to www.nhs.uk/service-search to find your nearest open pharmacist
  • Make a GP appointment.  If your GP thinks that you need to be seen at the hospital, then they will arrange a direct referral to the right specialist
  • Phone NHS 111 – for free, round the clock medical help when your GP is closed when it’s urgent but not a life-threatening 999 situation.
  • Please also remember that there is a Minor Injuries Unit at St Albans City Hospital (open 9am – 8pm every day) and an Urgent Care Centre in Hemel Hempstead (open 24/7 every day).