I am writing in response to Mr David Noades’ letter (Intolerable nuisance), published in the Watford Observer on Friday, October 16.

Mr Noades raises a number of concerns about the improvement works to St Albans Road and although we have discussed these with him directly, I thought it only right to ensure other residents also have the opportunity to see our response.

Watford Borough Council is investing £400,000 in the Callowland stretch of St Albans Road in order to revitalise this key area, which is home to many businesses and used by thousands every day. To help us set out our vision for the improvements, we carried out a consultation with local businesses and residents last year. There was a resounding response around the need to improve the look and feel of the area and now we are working hard to make that happen – in what, I am sure readers will agree, are extremely challenging circumstances. A big part of this is replacing the mish-mash of broken-down old paving. Unfortunately, this can’t be spruced up as Mr Noades suggests, particularly as such a range of materials were in place.

This exciting project will also see new cycle bays come to the area, Beryl bike bays, new trees planted, tired and cluttered street furniture removed and new street furniture in its place, as well as new dedicated community areas where events can be held when that time comes again.

Read more: Pavement works causing an intolerable nuisance

In terms of the number of people working on the improvements, we have to ensure that social distancing can take place to keep staff safe and we are also working section by section so that people can continue to use the shops. The good news is that despite these difficulties, the improvement works are running on time. At the beginning of the year we said they would run from June until the end of autumn, and we are on task to finish by then.

It is correct that we are using part of Bruce Grove – along with three other bases - to carry out some of the preparation work and to store some of the materials and equipment needed to deliver the improvements. These areas are secured and we have permits granted by Hertfordshire County Council in order to use them. The laybys on St Albans Road cannot be used for this at the moment because Hertfordshire County Council has fenced them off for pedestrians to ensure people have enough space to socially distance.

The cutting of the paving slabs is a noisy business and we really do appreciate residents’ patience. Where possible, we try to avoid starting cutting before 8.30am and aim to finish at a decent time. In recognition of the tough circumstances in which we all find ourselves and the need to get projects moving, the national construction and recovery programme permits us to work until 9pm and on Saturdays. But again, we are doing all we can to avoid having to make use of this because we understand it can be hard for residents and the businesses.

I want to reassure everyone that the cutting of paving slabs takes place behind fencing fitted with approved protective sheeting to contain the dust and pollution. Workers are all kitted out with the appropriate PPE and we will make sure the areas are cleaned once the improvements have finished.

These works will give St Albans Road a very welcome boost, benefitting residents, businesses on the road and visitors. Thank you for your support and understanding while we get this project finished – we are almost there and are looking forward to revealing the full renovation.

Tom Dobrashian,

Head of Place Shaping,

Watford Borough Council