St Albans is “horrendous to drive around” and new homes in the district could have knock-on effects for nearby towns, councillors have warned.

Conservative councillor Jonathan Boulton, a member of Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, has called for better east-west connections between the city and Hatfield.

The Brookmans Park and Little Heath councillor spoke as part of a Welwyn Hatfield panel debate on the next-door St Albans draft Local Plan.

He said: “Part of the issue Welwyn Hatfield has had with St Albans is the horizontal connectivity.

“On the train, you have to go into London to come out.”

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Cllr Boulton added: “Particularly given St Albans is horrendous to drive around, there’s nothing about improving the public cross-connectivity, not even about more detailed feasibility about a railway or guided bus links, I wondered if we should put a comment in to that effect – the importance of people moving from Hatfield into St Albans and vice-versa.”

Welwyn Hatfield leader Cllr Paul Zukowskyj, Liberal Democrat councillor for Welham Green and Hatfield South, said he has “concerns” about the A414 junction 3, with the A1(M).

“That junction is particularly overloaded, especially at rush hour,” he said.

“There are regularly very significant queues.”

Cllr Zukowskyj added new homes west of London Colney are “likely to have a direct impact on the A414”.

Although the borough and district councils are responsible for planning, Hertfordshire County Council is the highways and transport authority.

Its 2018 to 2031 Local Transport Plan notes the Hemel Hempstead, St Albans and Harlow corridor has “only partial rail connectivity”.

Hertfordshire County Council has promised to support “the sustainable delivery of housing growth, particularly at Hemel Hempstead, Watford, St Albans, Welwyn Hatfield district, Hertford, Ware and the new Harlow and Gilston Garden Town”.

St Albans City and District Council is putting together its Local Plan, which will help the authority make way for 15,000 new homes between now and 2041.

The draft plan features a policy to support mass rapid transport, such as the proposed Hertfordshire Essex Rapid Transit (HERT) – a Hertfordshire County Council-backed rapid transit system between Hemel Hempstead in the west and Harlow in the east.

The St Albans authority would also support “A414 enhancement” and “safe, direct and convenient routes for active journeys to key destinations”.

A consultation on the policies is open until September 25, 2023, and is available at

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council’s draft response also raises fears plans for new homes at Glinwell, off the A1057 Hatfield Road, could damage the “fragile gap” between St Albans and the neighbouring borough.