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Road congestion around Watford hospital

The county council have established an experimental one way system in Vicarage Road, which is massively increasing journey times (adding anything up to three quarters of an hour at certain times).

Watford councillor Stephen Giles-Medhurst is on the case and trying to get Herts CC to see sense.

You may want to review journey times and anyway avoid the area unless absolutely necessary.

Emergency engineering work on Thameslink

Due to emergency engineering work by Network Rail to carry out essential repairs to overhead power lines between City Thameslink and St Pancras International, there will be no services between London St Pancras and London Blackfriars for the rest of the day and cancellations and delays on the rest of the Thameslink route.

Please use alternative routes where possible; Thameslink tickets will be accepted on London Bus services and London Underground via any reasonable route and East Midlands Trains.

We would like to apologise for the delays our passengers will experience this evening. If passengers are delayed by 30 minutes or more, they are entitled to compensation. Please visit for more information.


Winners of St Albans and Harpenden Food and Drink Awards 2015

Residents’ favourite food and drink businesses were honoured at St Albans and Harpenden Food and Drink Awards 2015 on Monday 5 October.

The award-winners were announced at the end of St Albans and Harpenden Food and Drink Festival in a ceremony in Sopwell House Hotel.

The festival and awards were organised by St Albans City and District Council with the support of a steering group of advisors.

Earlier this year the public was invited to select their favourite food and drink businesses. Members of the steering group then visited the shortlisted venues anonymously to judge them against specific criteria for each category.

The names of the winners were announced at the awards ceremony and are:

  • Best Bar – Mokoko Cocktail Bar & Grill, Verulam Road, St Albans
  • Best Independent Food/Drink Shop – BEER:shop, London Road, St Albans
  • Best Café – Barrisimo, St Peter’s Street, St Albans
  • Best Newcomer – Dylan’s at the Kings Arms, George Street, St Albans
  • Best Local Producer – Hedges Farm Shop, North Orbital Road, St Albans
  • Best Local Restaurant – Lussmanns Fish & Grill Restaurant, St Albans
  • Best Pub – The Boot, Market Place, St Albans
  • Best Takeaway – Lebanese Kitchen, Stanhope Road, St Albans
  • Most Family Friendly Venue – Relish Real Burgers, Civic Close, St Albans.

Two further awards were presented on the night:

  • The coveted award for Food and Drink Champion of the Year was presented to Sean Hughes of Dylan’s at the Kings Arms.
  • Sean Hughes of Dylan’s at the Kings Arms also received the Kate D’Arcy Award for Exceptional Customer Service. This award was given in memory of Kate D’Arcy, a much-admired local restaurateur who died in 2010.

District Council stands ready to welcome Syrian refugees

Press statement from the district council

St Albans City and District Council has signaled its commitment to supporting Syrian refugees as part of the Government’s recently announced scheme.

Over the past few weeks, lots of local residents and groups have contacted the Council offering help and seeking information.  Many local people are clearly concerned for the plight of the refugees, and keen to offer help.

The Council is ready to play its part in any nationally agreed and coordinated approach to supporting refugees.  

Following the Cabinet meeting on Thursday 24 September, leaders from all the Council’s political groups met to discuss the matter and give their support. 

Overall, the Government has indicated that it will be taking 20,000 people over 5 years.  If shared equally across all areas of the country, this might mean about 100 people a year coming to Hertfordshire, or 10 per District. It is not yet clear how decisions on where people will live will be made so it could be more or fewer.

We will be talking to neighbouring councils to ensure support offered is joined up.  Where possible, we hope to be able to welcome people from the same family or community to help people feel more at home. We recognise this is a long term commitment if conditions in Syria remain as they are.

Locally, the Council’s most pressing need is to find suitable self-contained accommodation.  

We have received offers from local people who want to offer refugees rooms in their family homes.  The Home Office scheme does not extend to shared accommodation of this type.  This is because there are various issues to consider related to the safeguarding of vulnerable people.  

Since we already have a long waiting list for housing in our own council properties, we are looking to accommodate refugees in the private rented sector.  

We are therefore particularly keen to hear from anyone who is able to offer self-contained accommodation to house a refugee family locally.  To contact the Council about this, please email,  or telephone 01727 819355.

Some people may be able to offer accommodation for free. But the Council also wants to hear from people with appropriate property to rent, as we expect the Government will provide a contribution towards that cost. We are awaiting further details from the Government about this.

Remember to complete your electoral register household enquiry form

Electoral canvassers will shortly be visiting homes which have not yet returned a completed household enquiry form.

All households in St Albans District were sent household enquiry forms in July. Completed forms help the Council keep the electoral register up to date. Reminders were delivered last month to households that hadn’t yet replied..

Over the next few weeks, canvassers from St Albans City and District Council will visit the 14,000 households who have yet to respond.

Mike Lovelady, Electoral Registration Officer for St Albans City and District, said: “If you have not responded to the household enquiry form, please do so as soon as possible. Just check the information on your form and respond by email, post, phone or text, either confirming it is correct or advising us of any changes. A canvasser will call at every property where no response has been received.”

The Council is making sure the electoral register is up-to-date and needs your completed form, even if there are no changes.

You can return your completed form or respond online, by freephone or by text. Details of how to do this are shown on the form together with the security codes that you will need for registration.

If you are not registered you will not be able to vote in elections.

Elections for St Albans City and District Council and Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner are being held in May 2016.

Residents who have questions can contact the elections’ team by email at or by telephoning 01727 819294.

HCC postpone resurfacing – only days after they first announced the timetable

It is with regret that I have to inform you that the following sites have unfortunately been postponed due to delays caused by the knock on effects of previous adverse weather, and will be reprogrammed as availability allows, within the current financial year. Once the new date has been established I will let you know.

  • Harlesden Road, St Albans
  • Glenferrie Road, St Albans
  • Blenheim Road, St Albans

Investment in parking in St Albans District

Note from the district council

Major equipment upgrade for District’s parking facilities, funded by changes to parking charges

Car parks owned by St Albans City and District Council are being revamped to make them more user friendly.

Details are included in a performance update report to St Albans City and District Council’s Cabinet at its meeting on Thursday 24 September.

Investment – off-street car parks

Twenty state-of-the-art pay machines are being installed at various Council fee paying car parks in the District. The improvements will increase the availability and reliability of parking machines and provide a better service for residents and visitors. In addition, contactless payment options will now be available in addition to the pay-by-phone technology recently rolled out.

The changes will include a pay-on-exit system at the two largest car parks serving St Albans City centre, Drovers Way and Russell Avenue.

These two adjoining multi-storey car parks – which hold 888 vehicles – will have new exit and entrance barriers as well as new pay machines.

The new software captures usage data to help manage the service, monitor performance and continue to improve it.  In addition, in the event of a fault, the real-time pay machine technology will send out immediate alerts to staff so issues can be rectified quickly. Continue reading

Massive government cuts to highways budget in Hertfordshire

Over £7m could be cut from the county council’s highways budget in the next five years according to a shock announcement from the Government, reported to the county council’s Highways Panel this week.

The Government has already announced it will give Herts County Council £500,000 less for each of the next 5 years.

Now it says it will receive at least £2.5m over the next five. On top of that a further £4.6m at least will be cut if the county council does not meet performance targets set by the Department for Transport.

Liberal Democrat Leader and Highways spokesperson Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst said: ‘This is shocking news and comes when Herts County Council has a massive maintenance back log that will take almost 80 years to clear and a contractor that has been fined for poor performance.

‘Cuts of this size will affect our infrastructure and economic development and I am concerned that the Conservatives at county hall are just rolling over and accepting these cuts to our funding.  At the Highways Panel they dismissed my idea that we should protest at these cuts – cuts that a fully Conservative Government is bringing in.’