Suggestion of solution to St Albans School bus dilemna

The Gatehouse leading to Romeland

The Gatehouse leading to Romeland - Credit: Archant

Residents blighted by school buses near St Albans Cathedral have proposed a possible alternative long-term solution to the problem.

The Abbey Precincts Residents Association has suggested that consideration be given to the installation of a new footbridge over the River Ver, with a direct entrance from Verulamium Park to St Albans School.

Pupils could be transported to the car park at either Westminster Lodge or Verulamium Museum, walk across the park, over a small footbridge directly into the back of the school grounds, which border the open space.

St Albans district councillors for Verulam ward have said they would look at such a proposal but warned the school was unlikely to accept the idea.

While the school declined to comment on the suggestion, it has previously made clear to the council and residents it would not entertain the idea of having pupils collected or dropped off at Westminster Lodge, because it does not consider it safe or appropriate having children walking along unlit paths at night, and from such a distance.

As the number and size of coaches to the recently expanded school have increased, so too has concern among neighbouring residents.

Students are collected from areas such as Dunstable, Mill Hill and Rickmansworth and dropped off at Romeland Hill, near the school.

Most Read

The district council has suggested the traffic flow around Romeland gardens - the burial site near the Cathedral - be altered to allow coaches, including double-decker buses, to manoeuvre around it and exit via George Street, rather than Fishpool Street, as they currently do.

However a recent survey of 450 nearby businesses and homes has shown that arrangement would be unpopular.

According to Herts county councillor for St Albans South Sandy Walkington, of the more than 60 people responding to the Lib Dem survey, 77 per cent were dissatisfied with the current situation.

And 92 per cent thought the council’s proposed scheme would detract from the Abbey Gateway area.

Meanwhile, Eric Roberts of the St Albans Civic Society called upon the school to be more “flexible” in reaching a compromise with neighbouring residents.

He said that although Fishpool Street had for centuries been used as a coaching road and highway, “there is a big difference between horses and carriages and 10-tonne buses roaring down the street.

“We are talking about what is technically the Cathedral precinct.”