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

Verulamium At Play

VP playground_2016_05

I’ve been working to get a solid group of residents together to drive fundraising to upgrade the play area in Verulamium Park (click here for the back story on the Council website).

The group has settled on a name and is setting up as a charity (‘Verulamium At Play’) and local dad and designer, Daniel Swainsbury, has produced some design concepts for our logo.

One member of the group, Alex (also a dad) has put together a last minute grant application to Aviva – PLEASE VOTE FOR US by 17th November.

The group really needs 6-8 more volunteers and a particular area of expertise/interest needed is links to the business community in St Albans. If you don’t have links into the business community and you have ideas and energy to set about engaging businesses then that’s great too!

We are also looking for someone:

Working group meeting_2016_10_03

Verulamium At Play working party meeting October 2016

Our challenge is to raise somewhere in the region of £150-200K for a terrific new play area. This may sound a lot and that’s because a) it is and b) the park is what’s called a ‘scheduled ancient monument’ (Roman Verulamium) which means the area has to be developed very sensitively and that could come at a significant extra cost compared to a stunning play area placed elsewhere  in the district.

We’ve got five sub-groups to work on different strands of the project:

  • Shaping a design brief
  • Children’s engagement
  • Business engagement (much more help needed here!)
  • Community engagement
  • Major fundraising event(s)
  • Trusts/grant applications

The sub-groups will get together as and when and the whole group will meet 7.30pm for 7.45-9.30pm in the Blenheim room, Waterened Barn, St Albans on these dates:

  • Monday 7th November
  • Monday 21st November
  • Monday 5th December
  • Monday 16th January
  • Monday 30th January
  • Monday 20th February

Want to get involved? Thank you! E-mail me

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.

Love Where You Live

On my runs and dog walks around our beautiful City I pick up a LOT of McDonalds litter. Unlike much of the other pieces of litter I collect, McDonalds’ wrappers are often to be found in the road. They’ve been thrown out of car windows. I really don’t get it. It’s completely moronic. Perhaps these people need to eat more fruit, vegetables and oily fish to improve brain function?

Anyway, I digress from the point of this post which is to let you know about three community litter picks on Monday 18th July at 11am in Ashley (along the Alban way), Batchwood (the Oysterfields playground at the back of the hospital) and Sopwell (nunnery and the Alban way) wards hosted by McDonalds. Click here for a pdf containing the locations.

I was delighted when a member of the St Albans McDonalds team approached me to help her organise a litter pick for their annual staff volunteering day they call ‘Love Where You Live.’ Given the number of staff she thinks will be coming along it seemed a waste (ha ha!) to stop at one pick, hence three. I am SO excited and do hope that Oysterfields residents in particular will get involved. I’m going to do another pick there with my flying litter squad from Verulam on Saturday 3rd September.

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.