Archive for the ‘Resident Issues’ Category

Silt removal from Verulamium Park lake

2017_04_19_V P Lake silt extraction

St Albans City & District Council is removing more silt from Verulamium Park lake, at the opposite end to where silt was removed last year, today and over the next week or so. I imagine this comes as very welcome news to many residents and visitors.

It’s a tricky situation though and silt removal isn’t a sustainable solution to what will be a problem for forever and a day….this takes me back to my GCSE biology days….

The lakes are made from concrete (both edging and bases) no more than 1m deep and they support a large population of waterfowl, which in part is maintained and increased through the popularity of feeding by visitors. This has resulted in a great input of nutrient-rich bird droppings leading to a highly eutrophic (an oversupply of nutrients, inducing explosive growth of plants and algae which, when such organisms die, consume the oxygen in the water), heavily-silted water body. In addition, low water levels in the river mean that the lake does not receive any fresh water from the river for months on end during the summer.

Simply put we MUST stop feeding the birds and I think Mary Poppins and Burt would approve.

The Council is working on a longer, sustainable solution driven by the Environment portfolio holder, Cllr Daniel Chichester-Miles and you can read about it here. A cross-party working party has been formed (I am part of it) and meets for the second time this coming Monday.

(And in case you’re wondering, the silt’s going to be pumped into a tanker before being taken to a treatment plant near Redbourn for disposal).


Save St Albans Pubs

This week I met with St Albans landlords and my fellow Conservative Cllr Mike Wakely to hear what the publicans wanted to do to save their pubs from destruction by horrific hikes in business rates. I spoke at Full Council last night on this and implored my Cllr colleagues across the political spectrum to spread news of the petition to Government, far and wide. Please click here to sign the petition.

Save St Albans Pubs

St Michael’s ‘beach’ tidy

St Michaels Beach Clean 1

There’s been an explosion of greenery on the ‘beach’ next to St Michael’s Street bridge over the river Ver. I, with the blessing of the Ver Valley Society, invited residents to join me in bringing it under control during the half term holiday. It’s amazing what a few people can do in 90 minutes and thanks park ranger Bernard for disposing of all the green waste the group generated! I’m now working with a resident, John Cadisch, to find funding to lay new gravel on the beach.

St Michaels Beach Clean 2


St Michaels Beach Clean 4

My kids are brilliant in the way they tolerate my political activities. They joined me in the water, wading out to pluck weeds from the bridge. Payment came later at the Waffle House!

Helping George St residents and businesses

Verulam Rd_broken wall

The smashed wall (behind the Verulam Rd sign) outside Thai Square has finally been repaired after much chivvying! The land doesn’t belong to the Council so it wasn’t straightforward to get it fixed. After many e-mails and phone calls to Thai Square’s Head Office they put it to the top of their to-do list. It shows polite and positive persistence pays off – and they’ve added to the street scene with new planters too which is a bonus.

George Street residents and business owners have also been in touch with me about rude awakenings by their commercial waste collector (Veolia) operating outside of stated hours. Although this is a separate relationship to the Council’s contract with Veolia, officers at the Council have been swift to draw senior Veolia staff’s attention to the problem. I remain hopeful that the issue has been put to bed and good sleep can resume all round.

Thai Square Repaired Wall

Herts Highways

I received an e-mail inviting me to a meeting with Hertfordshire Highways in october. They asked what items Councillors would like to see on the agenda. I reflected on what residents have asked me over the last few months. Here’s my reply:

Weeds in the gutters

Hi Steve,

Thank you for requesting input. Please can I clarify whether this is a public meeting? I think there are many residents who would like to attend if so.

I would like us to cover:


1) Grass cutting. Specifically, I would like to understand how a contract based on keeping grass height within certain limits, as opposed to a contract based on a given number of cuts done to a specified cutting timetable (with areas cut within certain date parameters) can actually work. It doesn’t seem to be working. Thank goodness for a lack of rain this past month or I suspect we’d be knee deep in grass again as we were in May and June.


2) Weeding of pavements and the point at which roads meet the bottom of the kerb stone. No spraying of weeds or pulling of weeds seems to have happened in St Albans for a very long time.


3) How County and District can work better together to keep streets tidy. This really links in with point. 2. A resident of mine who also works for a borough Council has a sensible idea around tidying residential pavements and gutters and he drew my attention to Chester and Watford councils who are already doing this. We would write to a given street and let them know that we are coming to: clean the drains; sweep the edge of the road where it meets the pavement and do a weed spray. We would ask residents to please find alternative parking on X date (probably two weeks’ notice). Given that cleaning the drains and sweeping gutters are district responsibilities and the weeding is County we do need to work together. I know at District we have had issues with sweeping because of the weeds. Residents don’t care whether things are County or District, they just want it sorting out.


4)Tackling litter on our orbital roads. We need larger signs asking motorists to “please take your litter home” on our orbital roads. Also a timetable for litter picking on our orbital roads to coincide with when verges/central reservations are cordoned off for cutting. Thirdly, I and residents would like to see the orange digital displays asking motorists to take their litter home with them when there is no urgent information to display. On the first point, an SADC officer, Nigel Colyer, created signs which I pushed to go up and they did but they are too small. On the second point, I believe thanks to the persistence of one of my residents (Peter Walker) it had been agreed to do a litter pick four times a year. This does not appear to have happened lately.


Looking forward to hearing from you.

Jessica Chivers

13 Jerome Drive,
St Albans,

01727 856169

Twitter: @JC4SADC

The views expressed on this website are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Conservative Councillors' Association or the Conservative Party.