St Albans School denies new road rumours over Romeland

Romeland Gardens in St Albans

Romeland Gardens in St Albans - Credit: Debbie White/Archant

Residents in St Albans’ historic heart fear there are hopes to build a road near the Fighting Cocks pub, along the bottom of the Abbey Orchard, which could ease a local school’s access problems.

It is the latest development in the ongoing controversy over plans to essentially turn a burial site into a traffic island, so St Albans School pupils can be dropped off outside its Abbey Gateway premises.

St Albans district council (SADC) recently sparked anger after pushing to alter the flow of traffic, suggesting buses should be allowed to manoeuvre entirely around the Romeland gardens – the burial ground near St Albans Abbey where George Tankerfield was burned at the stake in the reign of Mary Tudor.

Eight parking bays outside cottages nearest the Abbey and two on Romeland Hill would be removed to allow Romeland gardens – currently one way – to become a two-way road, clearing the way for school buses to turn right up George Street.

Currently buses are dropping off and collecting 530 pupils on Romeland Hill before continuing down Fishpool Street.

However the Herts Advertiser has learned of a possible alternative scheme to turn Abbey Mill End, a private lane running parallel to the bottom of the Abbey orchard, into a road linking to Pondwicks Close near Abbey Primary School.

Residents have said there are strong rumours about a possible new road, which would allow pupils travelling by bus to exit via Holywell Hill, rather than historic Fishpool Street.

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Peter Trevelyan, of Abbey Mill End, explained the “rumours started flying” after a developer on Pondwicks Close had tried, unsuccessfully, to obtain the right to open up the access from Abbey Mill End and have it linked with Pondwicks.

Peter explained that as a “bargaining chip” it was mentioned that the school could use the new road for access.

He added: “They are rumours that have morphed into something larger but I don’t think there is any substance to it. I think it’s a non-starter because residents on Pondwicks Close would not be happy. I don’t think it’s viable.”

A spokesman for the school said that despite rumours, it was not pursuing an alternative access near the Abbey Orchard.

He added: “The school’s priority must be the convenience and safety of pupils’ access. Should other access become available through alternative methods, that is nothing to do with the school.”