Rain not welcome at Hemel gateway site

12-563   New wall at Breakspear roundabout, Hemel Hempstead.
12-563 New wall at Breakspear roundabout, Hemel Hempstead.

A PROJECT costing £130,000 to create a ‘gateway’ to Hemel Hempstead at the Breakspear roundabout has been put on hold because of the wet weather.

The massive amount of rain over the past weeks has brought construction of a flint wall with a ‘Welcome to Dacorum’ sign to a halt.

Council bosses hope to have the wall finished next week but perversely the hosepipe ban means it will be much later in the year before trees and bulbs can be planted.

In a statement Dacorum Borough Council said: “Work was held up due to heavy rainfall. It’s expected to be finished by the end of next week.

“The top stones will be added to the brick and flint wall for the ‘Welcome to Dacorum’ sign and the ground will be reseeded.

“Planting of trees and bulbs will take place in October or November due to the current drought restrictions.”

Plans for the gateway revealed last year include the wall with the welcome sign, a series of artificial hills and a stand of seven oak trees to represent the oak leaves on the borough’s crest.

The work also includes ‘re-lighting’ the Phoenix sculpture on the Breakspear roundabout, landscaping improvements, rubbish clearing and sprucing up tired verges.

The cash comes from a combination of government grant and contributions from developers.

Meanwhile, a new hotel is taking shape on the Maylands roundabout with an opening date in September.

The Travelodge will bring 27 jobs and boost the local economy by £1.7 million, it has been claimed.

The £10 million development will include 108 beds and a Toby Carvery restaurant. There is also space for a cafe or coffee shop while future phases of the scheme will bring additional office space.