I can agree with that, i used to live in Luton and then St Albans. Only shop I really used was Dyson's in Dunstable. They made me some wheels and the service was friendly. It's slim pickings out that way tho for decent shops.
Have you tried Phil Corley Cycles in Milton Keynes???
yeah Dyson's tends to be my haunt these days - Ian is usually bemused by my retro antics and keeps trying to sell me a Mongoose Teocali
Corleys are expensive but their spanner work is good and the wheelbuilder is ace!