Harpenden’s Jubilee arch finally installed

WHAT goes up must come down, then go up again – an arch commemorating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee which became a yo-yo after falling foul of red tape, is now permanently installed in Harpenden.

The decorative wrought-iron arch commissioned to celebrate 60 years of the monarch’s reign was originally installed above a pedestrian-only part of Thompsons Close in June, during Jubilee weekend celebrations.

However it was swiftly removed when it was discovered that the structure, which cost several thousand pounds, did not have planning permission.

Its installation faced further delays by more red tape when Harpenden town council admitted the arch also had to gain the go-ahead from Herts county council.

Although the close has a dead end and traffic cannot drive through it, it is legally classified as a road so responsibility for it rests with the highways department.

So a licence had to be obtained from the county council which asked for data including a traffic assessment, and the wind resistance of the arch.

On Monday Harpenden Town Mayor Cllr Nicola Linacre officially unveiled the arch along with other commemorative structures in recognition of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year.

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The structures are located in the High Street sensory garden, Southdown Rose Garden, and in Batford Green.

Cllr Linacre said the council, backed by locals, wanted to create a lasting commemoration, while providing something unique to Harpenden.

Roy Bentley designed a crown structure symbolising the Queen’s 60-year reign, with points representing north, south, east and west, and council wards.

The structures for the other two sites were designed by a pupil from the Grove Junior School which feature a crown with children figurines.

The designs were constructed in wrought iron by Richard Sweetland from Bespoke Metalwork.

Harpenden Society welcomed the unveiling, saying it had supported the town council’s Jubilee celebrations and paid half the cost of the three commemorative memorials erected in the town centre, Southdown and Batford.

Keith Lunn, who operates Breathing Space in Thompsons Close, said he was “absolutely delighted” to see the wrought iron arch finally permanently installed.

He added: “It’s the first stage of improving the close.”