Ongoing gas works causing chaos in St Albans street

National Grid's gas mains upgrade works in Queen Street have caused parking mayhem for residents

National Grid's gas mains upgrade works in Queen Street have caused parking mayhem for residents - Credit: Archant

Disruption caused by major gas works has left a city centre resident unable to live in her home as it has become too “stressful” to live there.

Ruth Swindells, of Queen Street, St Albans, has criticised what she feels to be lack a of planning on part of the district council as National Grid’s gas mains upgrade works gets underway.

Since the work begun three weeks ago she said residents had been “forced to fight to get a parking space” and have not been given any alternative parking She went on: “The problem is that it is probably the smallest street in the UK and it is a nightmare for residents to park down here at the best of times.

“My biggest issue is that is National Grid put cards through the door saying we are going to need access to the houses which was a major intrusion but the point is there were signs up a couple of weeks before to say so everyone knew it was happening.

“In the first week I put a call in to the council to ask if they had any contingency plan in place about the work and spoke to a senior parking enforcement officer who had no knowledge of National Grid doing this – though there were massive signs up.”

She added that she had moved out for a few days as the situation had become “extremely stressful”.

“I have been parking in Gombards car park but I have to make sure I move my car before 8am as otherwise I would have to pay.

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“There should be an option for us to at least park at the boys’ school or somewhere but because a number of the roads nearby are closed it is a nightmare to find anywhere.”

Other streets affected by the works include Cross Street, Spencer Street, Upper Dagnall Street, Lower Dagnall Street, Spicer Street, French Row, Christopher Place, Market Place and Heritage Close.

The project involves replacing 355 metres of existing metal gas mains with hardwearing modern plastic pipes that are designed to last for at least 80 years.

The gas main replacement in St Albans is part of an £800 million investment National Grid is making to renew gas mains in the east of England up until 2021.

The entire upgrade is due to last nine weeks and Queen Street is due to reopen on Monday.

St Albans head of legal services, Mike Lovelady, expressed the council’s sympathy for the difficulties in parking being experienced by Queen Street residents.

He went on: “However, utility companies are entitled to carry out essential works with little notice and we are not always notified. The work can involve road closures and the temporary loss of car parking. Where works are carried out, it is normal practice for the utility companies to allow residents access to their road to park if spaces are available.

“During the period of works, residents with a parking permit for Controlled Parking Zone B can park elsewhere within that zone, subject to availability. We regret we have no power to provide extra parking at local schools.”