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District Council statement on Clarence park steps

We have been trying (so far without success) to replace the ramp and steps at Clarence Park. Sadly we have been very badly let down by our contractor and our agent and this will impact on our future choices of expert. We are still trying to resolve the issue but it is proving very difficult.

The structure has for some years now been in a state of decay and has been declining. You may recall that we spent thousands of pounds stabilising it 3-4 years ago. We have recently been undertaking regular inspections in an attempt to keep open the ramp and steps for as long as possible. Paul Gallagher carried out an inspection this morning and found significant areas of concern. As a result we had to close the structure immediately. It was not therefore possible to give any advance warning.

Although we have been carrying out spot repairs we have now reached the stage where economic repair is no longer viable. Paul has estimated that between £3K and £5K will need to be spent to deal with the current problem but that will not guarantee the safety of the structure. It is also possible that these costs will increase if we uncover further areas of rot. For your information, yesterday we had a report that someone had put her foot through the bottom platform of the ramp & steps. We don’t believe she was hurt but we haven’t heard directly from her so we don’t have all the details.

As the senior officer responsible for health and safety I cannot knowingly allow an unsafe situation to exist. Therefore it will be necessary for the structure to remain closed until we find a solution, either in the short or long term.

Emergency closure of Victoria Street

Message from the County Council

I am writing to notify you of the forthcoming Highways Maintenance works due to take place on B691 Victoria Street, St Albans.

Due to the sudden deterioration of the carriageway surface nearby the Station, it has been decided that these works will need to be completed as soon as possible, to prevent failure of the carriageway besides major disruption to the local area and road users alike.

In addition to this, there have been longstanding issues concerning the signal timings in this area, resulting in significant delays on a regular basis.  In view of that, the Traffic Loops in this area must be reinstalled to improve its performance and will be carried out under the road closure to avoid further disruption at a later date.

The works are due to commence on Monday 13th February and are programmed to take approximately 5 Days to complete.  Given the likelihood of danger to the public whilst the works are being undertaken, it will be necessary to close Victoria Street between the junctions of Marlborough Road / Upper Marlborough Road and Station Way.

There is likely to be congestion in the area whilst the road closure is in place, however,  the works have been carefully phased and sequenced to mitigate delays.  Activities will take place between 09:30 – 15:30  and the highway will be clear at all other times.

Liberal Democrats Party Political Broadcast – ‘Groundhog Day’

The Liberal Democrats new party political broadcast airs tonight on BBC 1 and ITV1.

The broadcast is inspired by the classic Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day and features a couple waking up to a radio news bulletin on the morning after the European referendum. As the days pass the morning routine stays the same but the couple are greeted with different news – from the election of Donald Trump in the US and the rise in racist incidents following the referendum to warnings over the NHS winter crisis and reports of Labour backing Brexit – and worry about what is happening around the country and the world.

Tim Farron addresses the audience with a clear, unapologetic pitch to the millions of people who do not support what this government is doing, and look at Labour and don’t see an effective opposition.

And for those watching closely there’s a David Cameron gag in there too.

A Liberal Democrat spokesperson said: 

“There are millions of people across the UK who are being let down by this Conservative Brexit Government and their plans for a hard, divisive Brexit. They are people who voted Leave and Remain, Labour and Conservative, and do not feel they are being represented.

“If you wake up every day with a sinking feeling about the way our country and our world is going, then we are the only party standing up for you.

“The Liberal Democrats are fighting for an open, tolerant and united Britain. We are holding this government to account on Brexit and the under-funding of the NHS. The Liberal Democrats are the real voice of opposition this country needs now Labour are left fighting amongst themselves.“


Notes to Editors

The PPB can be viewed here

Hertfordshire Liberal Democrats announce six key priorities ahead of May’s County Elections



Hertfordshire Liberal Democrats launched their manifesto for May’s County Elections today, setting their six key priorities to fix if they win control of the council from the Conservatives.  The Liberal Democrats have promised to help reverse cuts to social care and protect key services for vulnerable people in Hertfordshire, to tackle the shocking state of the County’s roads and pavements and to deal with the crisis engulfing Hertfordshire’s NHS.

The Liberal Democrats would protect the County’s Public Health budget and seek to find a permanent solution for the future of areas three local hospitals. The Liberal Democrats will also prevent further cuts to local bus services and help bring an end to the school place chaos in the county.

Cllr Stephen Giles Medhurst, the Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group at County Hall said, ‘The Conservatives have run the Council for nearly two decades now without a break but simply fail to deliver on basic services. Our roads are some of the worst maintained in the country, far too little is being done to secure places for primary or secondary school children, our transport links have suffered from huge cuts while at the same time as the Conservatives spend money on wasteful propaganda. We believe it is time for a change.

‘We are clear with our six priorities that we want the Council to work for local people and deliver on key services. More and more people have been saying how they are fed with the Conservative County Council and are putting their faith in the Liberal Democrats to deliver real change at County Hall.”

Full manifesto here.


Question time on rail services

From the District Council

Train users have a chance to quiz railway executives about services between London and the St Albans District.

Representatives of Govia, which operates the Thameslink line, are to attend a public meeting later this month.

They will be joined by colleagues from Network Rail which owns the track and other infrastructure.

Members of two rail user groups will also be in attendance to give their views on behalf of travellers. These are the Association of Public Transport Users and the Train Suffererjettes.

A wheelchair user who regularly uses the route will be present to talk about his experiences.

The meeting has been arranged by the Planning, Resources and Housing Scrutiny Committee of St Albans City and District Council. It will be held in the Council chamber at the Civic Centre, St Peter’s Street, on Thursday 2 February from 7pm.

Anyone who wants to raise an issue can do so by emailing by Monday 30 January.


Their questions will be put to the executives by Councillors.  If requested, their names and addresses will be kept confidential.

Delayed district council posting to ‘ladder roads’

The letters were supposed to have been mailed before Christmas. The District Council has admitted that it did not stick to the deadlines it gave ward councillors and has sent us this note:

The letters for the Ladder Roads consultation have now been sent down to the Council’s post room.  Due to the number of letters these will be sent out in stages over the next week.The documents will be on the Council’s website under  from tomorrow. The closing date for responses is 3 February.

Revised Christmastide bin collections

Usual collection day Revised collection day
Monday 26 December 2016 Wednesday 28 December 2016
Tuesday 27 December 2016 Thursday 29 December 2016
Wednesday 28 December 2016 Friday 30 December 2016
Thursday 29 December 2016 Saturday 31 December 2016
Friday 30 December 2016 Tuesday 3 January 2017
Monday 2 January 2017 Wednesday 4 January 2017
Tuesday 3 January 2017 Thursday 5 January 2017
Wednesday 4 January 2017 Friday 6 January 2017
Thursday 5 January 2017 Saturday 7 January 2017
Friday 6 January 2017 Monday 9 January 2017
Monday 9 January 2017 Tuesday 10 January 2017
Tuesday 10 January 2017 Wednesday 11 January 2017
Wednesday 11 January 2017 Thursday 12 January 2017
Thursday 12 January 2017 Friday 13 January 2017
Friday 13 January 2017 Saturday 14 January 2017

‘Sufferjettes’ speak out on Govia

County Councillor Sandy Walkington was delighted to join the brilliantly named ‘Sufferjettes’ in their protest this morning at St Albans City Station.  Many of those protesting are female commuters making the particular point that train delays and cancellations play expensive havoc with childcare arrangements. They just want the service they are paying for.

Sandy helped lead the chant which received thumbs-up from the hurrying commuters going past:

‘What do we want?  Trains on time!

‘When do we want it?  Now!’

Sandy said: “I was on the Environment and Transport Panel at County Hall which grilled Thameslink senior executives last week.  It goes without saying that the service needs to be run as advertised.  But problems are likely to continue in the near term due to driver shortages, track closures at London Bridge and teething problems with the new Class 700 trains.  None of these is the fault of the poor long suffering passengers and they should be properly compensated, not just Delay Repay but a proper and substantial fare cut until the advertised service can be delivered.”

Herts Valleys CCG slammed for £8.5 million cut in anti bed-blocking monies

Liberal Democrats at County Hall have slammed the Herts Valley CCG for its sudden announcement that it is terminating its support for anti-bed blocking measures in the west of the County.

Lib Dem Health Spokesperson Chris White (St Albans Central) said: ‘This is a shocking decision. No warning was given of what amounts to a reversal of Government policy to integrate health and social care.

‘It seems that NHS England has decided to punish the CCG for non-delivery of their NHS efficiency savings and because of additional demand at Watford General Hospital. The CCG has been told that it is in official “financial turnaround” and it has accordingly decided to cease providing £8.5 million of “protection of adult social care” monies to Hertfordshire County Council.

‘These monies are used to provide home care and intermediate beds, as well as preventative measures.

‘It is legally questionable whether the entire amount can be terminated and we understand Herts CC will be considering a legal challenge. This we fully support.’

Chris added: ‘No-one in Hertfordshire will benefit. If beds are blocked, procedures will be delayed and patients will be made to wait longer for hospital admission because people are being kept in hospital unnecessarily. The personal and financial costs of being in a hospital are huge – especially when the alternative is being cared for at home after release from hospital.

‘It is just financially wasteful to keep someone in hospital longer than needed – as well as a poor way of ensuring appropriate recovery and recuperation.’

Message from Govia

Dear stakeholder,

I would like to offer my wholehearted apologies for the severe disruption on Thameslink services this week.  I appreciate that this has been immensely frustrating to our customers on the back of the extended disruption last week after a power surge damaged signalling systems in the Luton area.

This week there have been further major incidents affecting Thameslink services. On Wednesday evening following a fatality near Elstree and Borehamwood, with services held for around 80 minutes while emergency services attended, and subsequent services delayed or cancelled.

Yesterday evening one of our trains came to a stand near Kentish Town at 1842.  Our provisional findings are that there was a loss of overhead electric power which caused a ‘tripping’ in of the circuit breakers in the train involved.  With the train unable to receive power, a rescue train was sent from Cricklewood.  However, when that train was attached the same problem affected the rescue train.  Our priority was the comfort and safety of our passengers, so the trains were decoupled in order for passengers from the original train to be evacuated on to the rescue train.  This took place at around 90 minutes after the original incident began. After that, the stalled train was cleared once engineering assistance arrived. Continue reading