Harpenden’s Diamond Jubilee Arch to be reinstalled

A DECORATIVE wrought-iron arch commemorating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, taken down just five days after being placed over a Harpenden street, will be reinstalled after finally being given the go-ahead from district council.

The arch, commissioned by Harpenden Town Council (HTC) for several thousand pounds, had to be removed from Thompsons Close at the end of the Jubilee weekend as St Albans district council (SADC) had not granted planning permission.

District councillor and former mayor of Harpenden, Michael Weaver, who had agreed to its installation ahead of its consideration by SADC, said he was delighted the council’s planning committee north had approved the structure on Monday, July 9.

He went on: “The Queen needs a tribute and it will help regenerate Thompsons Close.”

Cllr Weaver said the Jubilee arch project was initiated more than six months ago, with funding and its siting agreed by the town council.

However just before Diamond Jubilee weekend celebrations started, he received a phone call one evening from the company which made the arch.

It said employees had worked around the clock to complete the project in time for the long weekend, and they were ready to install it straight away.

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Cllr Weaver explained last month that he agreed to its placement “in the public interest” as he did not have time to consult the town clerk or new mayor Cllr Nicola Linacre.

He said: “It is in the public interest to show loyalty to the Queen.”

However he was warned the structure would have to be removed immediately as the arch did not have approval from SADC.

It was taken down Wednesday, June 6.

A spokesman for HTC admitted shortly afterwards there had been a “miscommunication” as the planning application had been lodged with SADC, but the planning permission would take longer to come through than anticipated. He explained: “The town council has approved the street, the funding and the position of the arch, but we have to go through the process of obtaining approval, because it is in a Conservation Area.”