John James Bell, 29 January 1943 – 31st December 2019

The very sad news of John’s death stunned the community in which he worked tirelessly for more than twenty years.

John lived in Park Street before moving to Chiswell Green, and both his sons, Richard and Stephen, attended How Wood School.

Life after work for John was a constant round of community service, (with the help of wife Valerie, who made sure he got to every meeting!) as a former member of PSRA, a River Ver Bailiff, member of the Chiswell Green Residents Association and a Parish Councillor representing Chiswell Green Ward.

John’s involvement centred mainly around the countryside, trees and woodlands and he was the founder of the Friends of St. Julian’s Wood, a group of volunteers who looked after the wood and its wildlife.  Every year John organised the Bluebell Walk encouraging residents to follow a trail through the countryside in the Parish.

John was also a member of the Friends of Hanstead Wood helping to ensure that this piece of green space was kept open for the public to enjoy.

As a Parish Councillor he was the Chairman of the Planning Committee and of the Trees and Woodlands Committee. He was also the lead Councillor for the Housing Working Group on the Neighbourhood Plan, helping to preserve the Green Belt and to prevent inappropriate development. 

John was tireless in his efforts to support the activities of the Parish Council and those organisations with which he was involved, and through the Council, the residents of the Parish, regardless of which ward they lived in.  He was selfless in his energies, enthusiasm, devotion and commitment in all that he did, and he will be greatly missed.

Thank you to Bill Pryce for sharing his thoughts and memories of John with us. Full article to be published in our Spring Park Street News magazine.

If you would like to make a contribution in memory of John, his family has chosen 2 charities, The British Heart Foundation and The Woodland Trust. Donations can be made online here.

Editor’s Note: A celebration of John’s life was held 6 February, when many who knew John gathered to honour him and to pay tribute to his life. The oft-used description “Standing room only” accurately described the service. It was a fitting way to honour a man who gave so much in life to his family, community, and to the woodlands.

Photos shared by John’s son Stephen, with thanks.

Volunteers Needed

Park Street News is published twice a year (March and September) and delivered to EVERY home and business. It is quite a mission for us as we want to continue to meet our residents on the doorstep.

We need volunteers who will distribute P S News, and collect membership fees once a year.

Please contact me ( if you can help us, especially in the following areas:

  • Centaurus Square
  • Frederick Place
  • Frogmore 1-12
  • Frogmore 20-41
  • Frogmore Garden Cottages
  • Frogmore Home Park
  • Grovelands
  • Minister Court
  • Moor Mill Lane
  • Old Orchard
  • Park Street Lane 174-228
  • Park Street Lane 175-215
  • Radlett Road Frogmore East
  • Radlett Road Frogmore West Side
  • Radlett Road Hampton Place
  • Seaman Close
  • Spruce Way

Artist Spotlight: Philip Woodcock

I’ve been enjoying the lovely photos of our neighbourhood posted by members on the popular Facebook group, Park Street People and Places. One such member who’s been generous with his photos is Philip Woodcock, a retired screen printer, who grew up in the Village.

Philip started his artistic career at the age of 7 or 8 while attending Park Street School. As a young boy, he enjoyed drawing, and exploring nature up on the embankment beside The Rec. He learnt to swim at The Pits [Simpler times, don’t try this now! – Editor], and “when not fishing in the Ver by the Old Red Lion with a net bought in the village shop, I’d spend many a summer day sitting in an inflated old patched up tractor tyre inner tube obtained from Honours farm and float down the from the cress beds behind the junk yard, all the way to the mill. Every day was an adventure.”

Before moving to Tring, Philip lived above Watling Joinery offices, in Frogmore Homes Park and Drakes Drive. These days Philip spends his days out on walks, and “continuing to love the world I live in, taking photos with my phone”. He’s recently taken up painting as well, as his time is now his wealth, he told me.

Enjoy a few of his photos and paintings below.

Upcoming Road Works and Closures

Happy New Year, one and all, in our first blog post of 2020!

You may have received a flyer from advising of upcoming road closures, but for those of you who didn’t, here’s some more information compiled by a local resident, Gary Broadbent.

  • Whitebeams closed for resurfacing between 07:30 and 18:00 on Friday 17th January.
  • Park Street Lane closed for “Preparation works for Surface dressing” between the bottom of Maplefield and Tippendell Lane between 09:30 and 16:00 on Wednesday 29th to Friday 31st January.
  • Hazel Road closed for “Preparation works for Micro Surfacing” between 07:30 and 18:00 on Saturday 1st February to Monday 3rd February.
  • “The flyer only gives the dates above, but the One Network website also shows the Tuesday 4th February to Thursday 6th February as closure dates. Hopefully that’s a mistake.
  • The map below, which is a screenshot from the One Network website, shows the areas affected.The Park Street Lane closure has a diversion route, but Hazel Road, being a cul-de-sac, doesn’t, and the flyers say that anyone wishing to use their vehicles during the closure times must move them outside the closure area at least 30 minutes before the closure time, so that’ll be fun for the surrounding area.”

Thanks to Park Street People & Places Facebook group administrator Gary Broadbent for this concise update on road works impacting some of us. The group is a great resource for all of us who live in the area. Highly recommended!

Keep abreast of all changes by bookmarking Herts Highways’ site here.

Cover photo by Zoi Palla on Unsplash