New gateway agreed for Clarence Park in St Albans

Clarence Park

Clarence Park - Credit: Archant

A brand-new gateway into an historic St Albans park is set to go ahead after councillors decided a complete replacement would be better than patching it up again.

The new £120,000 gateway into Clarence Park has received the backing of the council’s city neighbourhoods committee and is expected to get the nod at the annual budget meeting next month.

The design for the Hatfield Road entrance features brick walls, matching stone steps and black, galvanised steel railings. It will replace the timber steps and zig-zag ramp that has been in place since 2003 and has now reached the end of its life.

Despite concerns highlighted in the Herts Advertiser last month, the cost will not be met from so-called ‘special expenses’ charged to council taxpayers in the eight city centre wards but will come from the committee’s revenue budget subject to cabinet approval.

Committee chair, Cllr Robert Donald,, said: “The Hatfield Road entrance to Clarence Park is a greatly valued facility used by many people for different reasons. It has become clear recently that the structure is in urgent need of a major overhaul.

“Instead of just repairing the current ramp again, however, committee members have decided a complete replacement would be far better value for money.

“This has enabled a radical redesign which will be far more attractive as well as more durable. Improved access will be available for pedestrians, cyclists, mothers with buggies and wheelchair users.”

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He went on: “The aim of the new design is to provide an entrance that is welcoming for all local users and visitors and which will be both enhancing and practical, requiring less maintenance than the present one.

“Work on this replacement will be carried out during 2016 and in the meantime essential repairs on the existing ramp and steps will be carried out to ensure the entrance doesn’t have to close for safety reasons this winter.”

Members rejected an alternative concrete and rusted metalwork design for the entrance that drops down steeply from Hatfield Road, close to a railway bridge.

The next stages of the development include a ground survey as well as more detailed work on the design, structure and costs.

Clarence Park was opened in 1894 and has been kept largely in its original form. It is regarded as an excellent example of a Victorian pleasure park.