Verulamium Park cycle path opens

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News release: 29 October 2012
St Albans cathedral, Verulamium Park
The first phase of the Verulamium Park cycle path will formally open to the public on Wednesday 31 October 2012.  The Mayor of St Albans, Cllr Eileen Harris will officiate at the opening ceremony at 11am.  

The new north/south stretch of the cycle route runs through Verulamium Park between Abbey Mill Lane and King Harry Lane.

The 670m long stretch of the path provides an important link between a number of other green transport routes.  The Council is keen to see improvements in safety and facilities for cyclists and to develop a more cycle friendly culture in the District.  The new cycle route will allow cyclists to avoid busy city centre road routes, including Holywell Hill. 

The path was constructed following a 1,000 strong petition organised by St Albans Cycle Campaign and representations over many years from residents.  

The development of the cycle routes through the park is a major civil engineering project. The original pedestrian way was built many years ago partly supported by filled sand bags.  Over the years subsidence had developed, compounded by tree route and rabbit burrow damage.  Therefore, the new routes were largely constructed from scratch.

Engineering and concrete works were carried out along the entire length of the route and the resulting path is newly surfaced. Safety fencing, signs, speed restriction measures and bollards are being installed.

Verulamium Park is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and any construction in such circumstances must first be agreed by English Heritage. The Council carefully chose materials that are in keeping with the park setting, and met English Heritage’s request to remove fencing in front of the Roman Walls.

The safety of both cyclists and pedestrians is also a major consideration and the Council’s team has tried hard to balance the needs of both groups.  

Cllr Daniel Chichester-Miles, Portfolio Holder for Environment at the Council commented: “After many years, cyclists and park users are able to cycle through Verulamium Park. Such projects are complicated when you are dealing with what was historically a pedestrian route within an Ancient Scheduled monument.  I am very pleased that we managed to overcome the issues and press on to deliver what will become an important route for cyclists coming into the city.”

Funding for the cycle path works was secured through Hertfordshire County Council from contributions from Linden Homes Chiltern and Wates Developments relating to the development of new homes on the former school playing field off King Harry Lane.

Linden Homes Chiltern Managing Director, Darren Maddox said: "We at Linden Homes, and the team at Wates Developments, have had very positive feedback from our residents at King Harry Park. We already see the benefit it's going to bring to thousands of people for walking, running and cycling into the city. We hope it has not only given St Albans another attractive feature, but also persuaded residents to leave their cars at home and take a more eco-friendly way to and from town."

Stuart Pile, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport at Hertfordshire County Council said: “This is a great example of partnership working between a number of agencies to deliver a much needed cycle path in St Albans. 

“With more emphasis than ever before on the importance of a healthy lifestyle, this cycle path will bring many benefits to people’s health and well being as well as promoting sustainable travel to the city. We are pleased to have been able to provide the funding for this important new route.”  

Works for the resurfacing of the second stretch of the cycle path, between Westminster Lodge and St Michaels, are currently being tendered.  This is not expected to require the same degree of engineering as the first phase. 

Councilor contact:
Councillor Daniel Chichester-Miles, Portfolio Holder for Environment, St Albans City and District Council.
Tel: 01727 819281

Contact for the media:
Claire Wainwright, Principal Communications and Marketing Officer, St Albans City and District Council, Tel: 01727 819572, E-mail: claire.wainwright@stalbans.gov.uk