St Albans Review of the Year: April

Residents were left shocked and mystified when a huge gaping hole suddenly appeared in the middle of a vegetable patch in April.

Anne Britten, of Cunningham Hill Road, St Albans, was called by a gardener who told her a large section of the communal garden had been swallowed up by a mysterious hole. Soil and plants have collapsed into the sink hole, which was about three feet wide and five feet deep.

Mrs Britten said: “We didn’t know what to think. We were all just mystified. I’ve been thinking so many things, like it must be the dry weather which created the hole. But we just don’t know how it could have happened or if it’s going to happen anywhere else.”

Postmen in Harpenden appealed to residents to help them fight off a plan to sell the town’s delivery office.

A 10,000-signature petition was presented to Royal Mail against the move. Staff found a number of alternative sites in the town which they pit to the company. However their bid was unsuccessful and the site office was sold and the work and staff moved over to St Albans.

A mother and daughter from St Albans spoke of their devastation after a fire destroyed the roof of their business.

To add to the heartbreak of the fire, Nicky and Kiran Heer tole the Review that passers-by were sniggering and taking videos on their mobile phones as they frantically tried to stop the flames from spreading.

The blaze at Pure Indulgence, in Catherine Street, was believed to have started near where the building was being refurbished. Ms Heer said: “It was manic at the time, my head was all over the place because I was just shocked. It was bad but it could have been worse. “But what I find really horrible is people were standing across the road videoing us. I personally didn't feel like there was a community there.”

Repairs to the building were finished in November and the salon was re-launched with the new name Bonita. Expensive granite paving, imported from China, laid down in the centre of St Albans as part of a multi-million pound improvement scheme, has been replaced with tarmac in two areas of the city centre in April.

St Albans Civic Society member Eric Roberts has highlighted the blunder, which has left the pavement looking “ugly”.

Mr Roberts has blasted the utility company carrying out the work, Morrison, and Hertfordshire Highways for not taking the responsibility to ensure the paving was relaid to the standard it was before the slabs were dug out, near Barclays Bank and Greggs, at the beginning of March. He said: “The whole thing is a fiasco. “The whole point of the enhancement scheme was to make the city centre look nice, and after spending all that money it’s replaced with ugly tarmac.

“We’re trying to promote St Albans for its heritage and beauty, but things like this just ruin it. “I’m fed up with nobody owning up to it and taking responsibility.”

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