Removal of seating on cycle path in St Albans “crass stupidity”

The Alban Way logo.

The Alban Way logo. - Credit: Archant

Removing seats from a St Albans nature viewpoint has been slammed as “crass stupidity” by a man with a debilitating leg condition.

Frank Rochford, 77, has lived in St Albans for 37 years and used to rely on two iron benches along the Alban Way to rest on his weekly walks along the natural path.

He has oedema in his legs - a swelling condition caused by a build up of fluid, and welcomes the rest periodically.

Yet on March 17, Frank was going to his favourite spot for the first time in a while after a period of illness, when he found they had been taken away.

St Albans district council say they were removed two years after being damaged by vandalism.

Frank, who used to be a councillor and deputy major in Camden, added: “The problem is that the area with the seating was an area of peace and tranquillity, the only place where one could see the wildlife on the water.

“It was an absolute peaceful haven, and now there’s no seating on the Alban Way - it’s a disgrace.”

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From the spot Frank could watch swans on the pond with his golden labrador, Ben, but he is also concerned about other people who also use the benches, including disabled people and mothers with prams.

Colney Heath St Albans district councillor Chris Brazier said: “The seats are important because people want to rest, but I can see why they the council took them out - if they are being vandalised they are not being used in the right way.

“It’s quite a long walk for an elderly person, or a young person who wants a rest, so I am all for seats, but I want them to be fit for purpose.”

Head of community services at St Albans district council, Debbi White, said she was sorry to hear the complaint: “Fortunately, this is only a temporary change because as part of renovations to Smallford rail station, we will be installing some new seating later this year for the enjoyment of walkers, cyclists and others who use the area.”