Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Bye-Bye Spring, Hello Kendalls' Summer Floristry Workshops!

A guest blog from Kendalls Florist in St Albans - 28 May 14

Spring is arguably the most exciting season in the floral calendar, when the ground suddenly bursts into life. So it was wonderful to celebrate nature’s abundance at the Kendalls Spring Workshops. 

At the Kendalls floristry workshops in April, we created ‘Spring Hand Tied’ floral arrangements using a selection of pretty and scented spring flowers and a 'Spring Contemporary’ creations full of beautiful yellow tulips.

It was a fun-packed, joyful evening, here’s what our participants had to say about the workshop:
"Lovely flowers, good company and great cake!"
"Very welcoming and enjoyable evening I couldn't believe what I made!
"Lovely group of ladies and instruction from Louise was excellent" 
"Friendship and flowers - what better!"

As we say goodbye to Spring, it’s now time to welcome in Summer!  Here at Kendalls we’re very excited about the prospect of sunshine, flip flops and Pimm's, but we’re even more excited to announce three Kendalls Summer floristry workshops ‘Peony Hand Tied’ on 12 and 19 June and ‘Perfect Summer Blooms’ on 26 June.

Both courses will be taught by our expert tutor, Louise Wilkes, owner of Kendalls Florist, who will demonstrate step-by-step how to create a professional floral arrangement and help you create something that will be sure to impress your friends and family. Find out more about our Summer courses.

Tea or Pimm's, home-made cake, flowers and all materials are included in the price. What’s more, if you book on both courses at the same time we’ll give you a 10% discount. So celebrate Summer, come and join us, learn a new skill in floristry and create something beautiful you can take home too. Bring a friend or come along and meet some new ones!  Book your place today at    

Happy Summer!

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Shoppers and leisure users in St Albans benefit from frozen car park charges

Source - news release from St Albans Council on 25 April 2014

Charges are frozen or reduced for stays of up to three hours from Monday to Saturday at certain St Albans car parks, benefitting shoppers and leisure users.  

On 1 April, St Albans City and District Council introduced a new parking strategy designed to make the most of available capacity at its car parks.  Pricing now varies between its car parks to encourage the use of particular locations by leisure users, workers or shoppers. Tariffs were changed following negotiations with NCP which manages many District Council-owned car parks. 

Benefitting shoppers and leisure users, charges are frozen or reduced for stays of up to three hours, Monday to Saturday, at these NCP-managed, District Council car parks:

• Drovers Way,
• Russell Avenue,
• Bowers Way East,
• Bowers Way West,
• London Road,
• Amenbury Lane, and
• Adelaide Street.

Previously, shoppers and leisure users parking at these locations for three hours on Monday to Saturdays paid £3.60 as they had to use the 2-5 hour tariff band. Now they can use the new 2-3 hour tariff band and pay £3. This gives shoppers and leisure users more flexibility.

Anyone wanting to park for longer than six hours can now use our cheaper, long-stay car parks at:
• Bricket Road North
• Keyfield Terrace
• Gombards
• Townsend Avenue.

Leisure users and shoppers are also able to use the Council-run Westminster Lodge car park free of charge for up to two hours on Monday to Sunday. Parking on Sundays at all NCP-managed, Council-owned car parks and at the Council-run Civic Centre car park will now cost £1 all day. This flat rate compares favourably with Sunday parking costs in surrounding Districts.

At a meeting on Thursday 24 April, Cabinet received a report setting out the key principles behind the new parking strategy. New signage will be introduced to help people find car parks that are most suitable for their needs. We are in discussion with NCP to provide access to a pay by phone service at all Council-owned car parks.

The meeting on 24 April was webcast and can be watched on the Council’s website. The full report on the parking strategy is available in the papers for the meeting at:

St Albans Council to trial new cardboard collection service

Source - news release from St Albans Council on 25 April 2014

St Albans City and District Council is to trial a new cardboard collection service in selected areas to run alongside the current kerbside recycling. The trial follows constructive feedback from residents about the Council’s recycling scheme. The scheme was changed last year with the aim of helping to increase household recycling rates above 60%. 

If the trial is successful, the service will be rolled out across the District and will make it easier for residents to recycle cardboard. Residents will then no longer have to break down large pieces of cardboard to fit into their paper recycling boxes or request a special large cardboard collection service.

At a meeting on Thursday 24 April, Cabinet heard that the Council’s waste collection contractors Amey will test the new service from mid-May until the end of June. The service will involve dedicated cardboard and paper collection vehicles that will be used to take residents’ cardboard and paper on their recycling collection days.

The trial will take place across 12 collection rounds that have yet to be agreed. Once details are finalised, the information will be posted on the Council’s website and residents affected will be notified. Subject to the trial being successful, Amey will roll out the new service across the District during the summer.

The Council is currently running a special post-Easter cardboard collection service until Friday 2 May. This is because it is a time of year when a lot of cardboard is generated, for example from home improvement projects. Residents should put cardboard in their recycling box with paper or flatten larger pieces and stack them alongside for collection on their first recycling day after Easter. Details of waste and recycling collections following Easter are available here.

If residents miss this one-off collection, they can place cardboard in their paper recycling boxes. Alternatively, they can book a special collection for oversized cardboard during their normal recycling week by calling 01727 819285 or email

Last year, the Council asked residents to remove cardboard from green waste as part of its recycling scheme to help increase household recycling rates to above 60%. This is because national standards for compost have tightened recently and the cardboard was contaminating green waste making it unusable as compost. When green waste is contaminated with cardboard, it is rejected by the composting plant and has to be sent to landfill. 

The Cabinet meeting on 24 April was webcast and can be watched on the Council’s website at: The papers for the meeting are available at:

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Museum and Gallery project gets underway

Source - news release from St Albans Council (22 Apr 2014)

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has given permission for work to start on the project to transform St Albans grade II* Town Hall into a museum and gallery.

The HLF has pledged £2.8m and St Albans City and District Council £2.25m towards the total project cost of £6.75m. St Albans Museums and Galleries Trust (the Trust) is leading fundraising for the remaining £1.7m, supported by the Council’s museums service and the University of Hertfordshire. The fundraising project is called “renaissance: St Albans”.

Last year the HLF awarded first phase development funding of £282,000 for the project which will see the Museum of St Albans move to the Town Hall. Work could not start on the partnership project until the HLF approved detailed plans for this first phase. The Council will now proceed to appoint a project manager, an architect and an exhibition and interpretation designer. They will develop the designs and long-term project plans needed to support a second-round application to the HLF for the balance of its £2.8m pledge. 

At a meeting on Thursday 24 April, Cabinet will hear that a number of specialist national architects’ practices have shown an interest in leading the design team.

Fundraising is being led by the Trust. A number of donations and pledges have been received, including from both the St Albans University of the Third Age and St Albans Civic Society. The community fundraising programme will be launched in June. 

The Council is working with various partners, including the Trust and the University of Hertfordshire Galleries to transform the beautiful Town Hall into a must-see attraction. The museum and gallery will also provide a cultural heritage resource for the region.

Visitors will be able to discover 2,000 years of St Albans history through innovative and inspirational displays and tour the Town Hall’s court room and prison cells. The Town Hall will also provide space for the University of Hertfordshire’s contemporary art gallery currently located with the Museum of St Albans in Hatfield Road. 

The aim is that the Town Hall will become a gateway for exploring other attractions in the City. These include Verulamium Museum, the Cathedral, the Roman Theatre and the medieval Clock Tower. 

The public can attend the Cabinet meeting at 7pm on Thursday 24 April at the District Council’s offices at the Civic Centre, St Peter’s Street, St Albans. The meeting is also being webcast and can be watched on the Council’s website at:

An update on the museum project is available in the papers for the meeting on Thursday 24 April here.

Monday, 17 March 2014

New charging scheme for council car parks

Source - news release from St Albans Council on 13 March 14

Changes are being made to charges at car parks to make the most of available capacity, helping workers and visitors to St Albans.

The new charges come into effect at car parks owned by St Albans City and District Council from 1 April. They are designed to encourage the use of particular car parks by leisure users, workers or shoppers. It means that the charges will now vary between car parks managed on behalf of the Council by NCP under its new contract.

Workers wanting to park all day in St Albans will now only have to pay £5 if they park at the following NCP-managed car parks:

Bricket Road North
Keyfield Terrace
Townsend Avenue.

At NCP car parks elsewhere in the City and at the Civic Centre, it will cost £10 for all-day parking.

Charges have also been frozen or reduced for stays of up to three hours at the following NCP car parks, benefitting leisure users and shoppers:

Drovers Way
Russell Avenue
Bowers Way East
Bowers Way West
London Road
Amenbury Lane
Adelaide Street

Leisure users and shoppers will still be able to use the Council-run Westminster Lodge car park free of charge for up to two hours.

They will also be able to park on Sundays for £1 at the Council’s NCP car parks and at the Council-run Civic Centre car park (accessed from Bricket Road, St Albans). This will mean that on Sundays the City centre car parks normally used by visitors will have the same £1 charge. This will allow us to promote shopping in St Albans more easily. The charge also compares favourably with surrounding areas.

The new contract with NCP also provides for improvements to car parks. Brighter LED lighting will be installed at Drovers Way and Russell Avenue, helping to improve the safety of customers. A Pay By Phone service is also being introduced at all NCP car parks, making it easier for customers to pay for parking. This will complement the Pay By Phone service introduced in August last year in relation to off-road and on-street parking.

The Council has also reviewed the cost of parking permits and is introducing a 2% increase. For a resident’s all day permit Type B this equates to an increase of 76p to £38.76.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Creative ideas needed for Alban Way mural

Source - news release from St Albans Council

Come to a fun, family event on Saturday 8 March and contribute ideas on what to include in a new street art community mural for the Alban Way. You can take part in creative activities, get your bike safety checked and learn about the old railway that once ran along the Alban Way.

Provided by St Albans City and District Council and Sustrans, the event will take place from 12 noon to 3pm at the Alban Way entrance on Orient Close.

Young people from the Cunningham Hub Youth Café will be present to gather ideas for a mural they are creating to decorate the tunnel under London Road. Accompanied by a professional artist, they will be asking passers-by how they use the Alban Way as inspiration for the mural.

During the afternoon, there will also be an eight mile, off-road bike ride for families along the Alban Way to the outskirts of Hatfield. Before setting off, cyclists will be able to test their pedal power by making a healthy drink on a specially adapted ‘Smoothie bike’. Dr Bike will also be on hand to carry out bicycle safety checks and simple maintenance.

Siobhan McSwiggan, Sustrans Community Champions Officer said: “We hope that lots of people will come and support the project and see how cycling on the Alban Way can be a great way to get out and about by bike. We would love for the whole community to be involved in the look and feel of the new mural. This is the perfect opportunity to learn more about the cycle way’s fascinating history too.”

The event is being organised in partnership with St Albans Arts, Sport & Health, the development arm of Leisure Connection and other partners in St Albans District.

For more information about the project or if you are a young person who would like to get involved, email

The Alban Way is a trail of approximately 6.5 miles for cyclists and walkers along the former railway line between St Albans and Hatfield. It is an important link in the local sustainable transport network and forms part of Route 61 of the National Cycle Network. More information about the Albans Way is available at:

Sustrans is a UK charity that develops and delivers practical, cost-effective initiatives that enable many more people to travel by foot, bike or public transport. More information about Sustrans is available at:

Melissa Caneppele
Tel: 01727 819 203
St Albans Arts Sport & Health, Leisure Connection

Monday, 20 January 2014

Fun Murder Mystery event at Verulamium Museum

Source - News Release from St Albans Council

Come and play detective at a Murder Mystery event at Verulamium Museum on Saturday 22 February and solve the murder of the curator.

Hobby detectives will get to interview museum staff acting out roles from  Cleaner to Director, to find out who murdered the fictitious museum curator ‘John Mortis’. The curator is responsible for looking after the museum collection and displaying it to the public.

Cllr Mike Wakely, Portfolio Holder for Sports, Leisure and Heritage for St Albans City and District Council, said: “This is a unique Murder Mystery event for all the family to enjoy. In between quizzing the various museum characters to solve this murder mystery, you can explore the museum’s wonderful collection and possibly find some additional clues.” 

The event runs from 11am to 4pm and is open to anyone aged 7 years and above. 

You can play detective on your own or pool your resources as a couple or family group. It costs £5 to participate in the event, either as an individual or a group, plus admission to the museum. Please note admission to the museum is free to St Albans residents.

Participating groups and individuals will be given an inspector’s badge and have the opportunity to enter a verdict in a prize draw to win a detective game. 

For further information please visit or phone 01727-819340.