Anger over St Albans Bluehouse Hill closure for wedding guests

Cars parked on Bluehouse Hill

Cars parked on Bluehouse Hill - Credit: Archant

ONE of the busiest roads in and out of St Albans was closed for two short periods on Saturday because of a wedding at a nearby church.

The closure of Bluehouse Hill for two 15-minute periods during the afternoon infuriated many motorists already held up by the closure of Chequer Street for sewage pipe replacement.

And there has been criticism of the district council for not giving prior warning of the closure.

Local resident Louise Keen was among the drivers stuck in “gridlocked traffic” at around 5.45pm on Saturday when the whole length of Bluehouse Hill was closed. She described the situation as “traffic mayhem” and had to drive back to the city centre via King Harry Lane and Holywell Hill before using Verulam Road to get back to her home near Batchwood Drive.

Louise maintained that bus services were also affected because they had received no prior warning and when she had spoken to a council worker by the “road closed” sign, she was told that it was confidential and he could not say why the road was closed.

She believes it was a “celebrity” marriage and the closure was to enable the wedding party to cross from St Michael’s Church to Gorhambury where a lot of cars were parked. But she pointed out: “Couldn’t they use the pedestrian crossing there like everyone else? Or use the public car park round the corner of the museum like everyone else!”

Richard Shwe, St Albans council’s head of community services, said that the council had powers under the Local Town Planning Clause Act to close roads on a temporary basis for events.

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He went on: “Following guidance from Hertfordshire Constabulary which led to the use of an independent traffic management company by the applicant, we gave permission for a temporary road close order at Bluehouse Hill on Saturday to ensure the safety of guests attending a wedding.

“The road was closed for 15 minutes in the afternoon and again one hour later for a further 15 minutes. We understand that some residents were inconvenienced by this temporary closure for which we apologise.”

A spokesperson from Herts Police said: “The Force gave guidance to St Albans Council which involved use of an independent traffic management company by the applicant.”