COACHES TOP LIST OF CONCERNS AT A.G.M.
The impact of the daily traffic of school coaches on Fishpool Street remains the biggest issue for residents, a straw poll of FSRA members at the 2022 annual general meeting highlights.
Residents at the AGM, held in the garden of the Lower Red Lion pub on August 9, were invited to nominate an issue of concern and, if they wanted, to give a short explanation of their reasons. Then, at the end of the meeting, they were asked to vote on their first and second preferences.
The results were:
Closure of Spicer Street public conveniences
Road markings (poor condition of)
Manor Hotel conservatory (lack of planning permission)
Potholes / street maintenance
Encourage more / better recycling
Electric car charging points (plan for)
Recylce bins left out all week
Earlier, the chair of the FSRA, Clive Parish, reported that a working group of members and a representative of the neighbouring Abbey Precincts Residents’ Association (APRA) had been analysing the school’s transport policy and had identified a number of alternative drop-off and collection points outside Romeland.
“I believe that by working together – residents, school and politicians – that we can find a way to take the weight off our road,” Clive told the meeting. “But we will need to seize any opportunities that come our way – and Pedestrianisation offers just such an opportunity.”
He reminded the meeting that an online survey of members in 2021 had found that 92% supported the pedestrianisation of George Street, High Street and Market Place, and that 93% were in favour of a new drop-off and pick-up area for use by the school coaches in Verulam Road.
But with all the options identified, first it would be necessary to see the results of the forthcoming pedestrianisation trials to see which would work in practice, he said.
Another major issue raised at the previous AGM in 2021, that of vehicles speeding, was currently being addressed with the FSRA’s involvement in a speed awareness campaign supported by the Herts Police and Crime Commissioner. The results so far, with the campaign still running until October, show that 7% to 9% of drivers are breaking the speed limit.
Another hot topic, still raging a year on, is the large conservatory built by St Michael’s Manor Hotel at the back of the property – without planning permission! A recent note from St Albans planning enforcement department blamed the delay on the sole officer employed being inundated. The chair promised to pressure the council to apply the necessary resources.
The closure of the Spicer Street public toilets also continues to concern residents, as evidenced in the straw poll conducted later. The chair reported that the toilets will remain closed and the building sold to developers, while St Albans council conducts a trial involving local bars and restaurants to enable the public to walk off the street to use their facilities.
“This is both undemocratic and flawed – businesses in George St are not set up to function as a public toilet. Needless to say, we’ll be monitoring the trials closely,” he said.
The faded condition of road markings, especially at the junction of Branch Road, is another ongoing issue and third on the list of residents’ concerns this year. Several serious accidents had only narrowly been avoided, it was pointed out. County councillor Sandy Walkington had requested the work be speeded up, but the council contractors were not required to operate to a timetable, he said.
Read a full report of the meeting, including contributions from members, in the minutes of the AGM.