2018 Year in Review: Jam packed summer months for St Albans district

PUBLISHED: 12:00 30 December 2018

The Queen's Head. Picture: Ricky Barnett

The Queen's Head. Picture: Ricky Barnett

Archant

As 2018 moved into the summer months, rural St Albans was plagued by a wave of flytipping.

The Rats Castle. Picture: Ricky BarnettThe Rats Castle. Picture: Ricky Barnett

Dumped rubbish included building waste, tyres, bin bags, mattresses and white goods including a large pile of fridges by Hixberry Lane in July.

The offenders smashed a lock to gain access to Oaklands College’s field and councillors called for more action to tackle the problem.

Meanwhile, a Harpenden school were going the extra mile to get their pupils living a healthy and active lifestyle.

Sauncey Wood Primary School opened its £15,000 Daily Mile track and started incorporating a 15 minute jog of the circuit into every school day.

UK's Strongest Man competitor Phil Roberts attempting to pull a fire engine at St Albans fire station. Picture: Rob Ashman.UK's Strongest Man competitor Phil Roberts attempting to pull a fire engine at St Albans fire station. Picture: Rob Ashman.

Pupils run one mile, in their school uniform, at their own pace, and with teachers’ supervision.

This was at the same time as everyone sweated through a nationwide heatwave. Temperatures soared to 32.4C at their highest and there were 22 consecutive days with no rainfall.

Over at Bricket Wood Common, signs forbidding commercial dog walking were put up to try and stop the practice getting out of hound.

Residents said up to 20 animals were being walked at once – a situation dangerous for wildlife, other users and even the dogs themselves.

The remains of the tree near St Albans Clock Tower.The remains of the tree near St Albans Clock Tower.

In less melancholy news, the Herts Ad released never before seen pictures of local comedy legend Eric Morecambe.

The images came from the private collection of late Herts newspaper photographer Tony “Greg” Gregory, covering snapshots of the 1970s and 1980s.

They include candid pictures with his partner Ernie Wise. You can see them all on our sister website EnjoyHarpendenMore.co.uk

In the same month, outrage spread across the district about plans to build a 15-storey incinerator the size of Harpenden High Street at New Mill End.

Sauncey Wood Primary School headteacher Steve Lloyd opening the Daily Mile running track. Picture: Franki BerrySauncey Wood Primary School headteacher Steve Lloyd opening the Daily Mile running track. Picture: Franki Berry

Campaigners took up arms against the Lea Bank Energy Park, dubbed the Harpenden-Luton Incinerator, with Luton Airport first indicating support but then taking a sharp U-turn on this decision.

No planning permission has yet been submitted to Central Bedfordshire Council.

Bringing July to a close, hopeful heavy lifters travelled all over the country for the chance to be named the UK’s Strongest Man .

The contest was held in Verulamium Park, and featured challenges such as a truck pull, bar bending and log press.

Eric MorecambeEric Morecambe

In the end Ireland’s Pa O’Dwyer won, with 30 points.

Throughout the year Redbourn has been given a bitter development pill to swallow, and another blow came in August.

On top of the fact that much of the district’s new housing is planned for its ward, Herts county council announced proposals to build a new M1 junction in the area.

The new Junction 8a, to the north of Hemel Hempstead and between Junctions 8 and 9, is part of the South West Herts Growth and Transport Plan - and is intended to relieve traffic jams.

Eric MorecambeEric Morecambe

However, residents fear it would mean increased traffic, noise, and pollution for the village.

Cars travelling through Colney Heath, however, got a nasty surprise this August. Foul waste headed for a food waste plant, Agrivert’s North London AD Facility, spilled from a lorry into High Street, Coursers Road, and down the A414.

The parish council received more than 100 calls, emails and messages about the dog food by-product, which was described as “putrid”.

About a month later, the haulage truck company conducted free car cleans for anyone still affected by the overwhelming stench.

Fans at the UK's Strongest Man event held in Westminster Lodge. Picture: DANNY LOOFans at the UK's Strongest Man event held in Westminster Lodge. Picture: DANNY LOO

Meanwhile, a talented mechanical engineer created a photo book of all 97 St Albans pubs at nighttime.

Photography started as a hobby for Ricky Barnett, but grew to more when he received such a positive response to his snaps.

September was welcomed in by the announcement that St Albans has a new chief inspector.

Ch Insp Lynda Coates is the third person to hold this position in just one year, following on from Ch Insp Shane O-Neill and Ch Insp Stuart Cheek.

A competitor warms up behind the scenes at the UK's Strongest Man event held in Westminster Lodge. Picture: DANNY LOOA competitor warms up behind the scenes at the UK's Strongest Man event held in Westminster Lodge. Picture: DANNY LOO

The job includes managing 100 officers, three Safer Neighbourhood Teams, the Local Crime Unit, the Community Safety Unit and the special constables.

Residents were also outraged when an iconic 1970s robinia tree by St Albans Clock Tower was chopped down amid safety concerns.

Nature lovers described the tree as “gorgeous”, and the news “saddening”.

Herts county council said a root and branch replacement would be planted by the end of the year.

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