Plans to improve transport around south west Hertfordshire will be ‘rubbished’ if they do not include an upgrade to the Abbey train line.

Hertfordshire County Council is currently preparing the draft of a ‘growth and transport plan’ for the south west of the county.

It sets out to provide an improved transport network, fit for future housing and employment development across the county.

But some councillors have warned this will be meaningless if it does not include plans to upgrade the Abbey line railway service – which runs between Watford Junction and St Albans Abbey Station.

At a meeting of the council’s growth, infrastructure, planning and the economy cabinet panel last Thursday, Conservative councillor Sue Featherstone pointed to the need for a ‘passing place’ on the line, which would mean trains could run more often.

The plan does include proposals for a new St Albans south public transport hub, including a new station on the line and a direct bus service to St Albans City Station.

But – with regard to the proposed passing places – officers said upgrades to the Abbey Line could only be determined by Network Rail, so were not included in the plan.

Liberal Democrat councillor Sandy Walkington said that for any plan that aimed to increase capacity in the area this was the ‘elephant in the room’.

“The only way this is going to work is if there’s a more frequent rail service,” sad Cllr Walkington. “A 20-minute service would be transformational.

“We can predict the responses of people will be to rubbish the whole report because its not in there.

“We can put that it’s not under county council control, but that we will continue to lobby.”

The draft South West Hertfordshire Growth and Transport Plan is intended to improve ‘connectivity’ in the area – with an emphasis on walking cycling and passenger transport.

It should provide alternatives to car travel, improve safety and reduce emissions.

It includes nine packages of suggested improvements in Hemel Hempstead East-West corridor; Maylands; Hemel Hempstead-Luton corridor; St Albans-Watford corridor; Watford Western Gateway; Watford-Hemel Hempstead corridor; Watford Central; Watford South; and Rickmansworth.

The plan is expected to go out to public consultation later this month. It will run for eight weeks, until mid September.