Clarence Park: building work starts at popular St Albans commuter cut through route

The former Hatfield Road bridge entrance to Clarence Park. Picture: DANNY LOO

The former Hatfield Road bridge entrance to Clarence Park. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Archant

Long-awaited construction work has started on a park entrance crucial for a popular commuter cut through to St Albans station.

The wooden ramp and steps up to Hatfield Road from Clarence Park had become an expensive problem for St Albans District Council (SADC) - maintenance on the rotting 2003 structure cost SADC £15,000 over the last few years.

Whenever the entrance had to be closed for repairs, commuters have to take a lengthy detour around the park to reach the train station.

SADC’s City Neighbourhoods Committee has been allocated a £120,000 budget to re-do the entrance with more durable steel steps and ramps, which will be phased in separately. Chairman of the committee, Cllr Alun Davies, said it should be reopen by August.

“Two trees were removed from the site,” he said.

“This was to enable construction of the ramp and to allow additional light through the tree canopy to promote plant growth.

”The contractor has since begun digging and concreting the foundations - a task that will take around 10 days to complete.”

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The moulded steel has to be assembled on site, which will take at least two weeks.

Clarence Park Residents’ Association have been pushing for the revamp since March 2015, after recognising the disruption caused by repeatedly closing the entrance for works. Meadowcroft and Whitecroft Residents’ Association and Saphra Residents’ Association - which covers Sopwell Lane, Albert Street, Pageant Road, Hart Road, The Ryder Seed Mews Estate, Saracens Head Yard, Pearce’s Walk and Keyfield Terrace - are also interested in keeping the entrance open.

The groups campaigned for both the ramp and steps to be replaced, for ease of use and accessibility, amid budget concerns - only rebuilding one or the other was at one point floated as a suggestion.

Mr Davies added: “I know many people who regularly use the entrance, including rail station commuters, have been waiting patiently for it to be brought back into use.

“I’m very pleased that wait will soon be over.”

Clarence Park was first opened in July 1894 by the Duke of Cambridge at the time, Prince George, and is well-used green space.