Often referred to as the ‘City’s Watchdogs’, the Civic Society is the conservation and amenity movement for St Albans. We are a member of the national organisation ‘Civic Voice‘.

Founded in 1961 and part of the nationwide civic society movement, we are a registered charity, number 200330, and a non political  organisation, ready to welcome everyone who cares about the future of St Albans.

So, do join us, maybe to offer to help, or maybe just to show you support our aims. We offer, above all, a chance to be involved and have a say in what our city looks like and how it functions.

Download our latest newsletter  Spring 2020

We have cancelled all our meetings and events until further notice.  Talks will be rearranged later in the year.

City Centre Opportunity Site South

Three new designs for this major development have been put forward by different architectural firms and the Council has asked residents being to help select the best scheme.  To have a look at the proposals go to the Council website here.   The public meeting on 25th March, when the three architectural practices would present their designs for Civic Centre Opportunity South, was cancelled with the presentations made available on the web and the public invited to ask questions.  The Consultation Question Responses are available here. The closing date for making comments and voicing preferences has been extended until 31st March. The Civic Society’s Design Advisory Group (DAG) have discussed all three options and the members have given their detailed response to each of the Designs. Had circumstances been different, these would have been presented at meeting open to members and the general public. However, because that could not happen DAG have produced a brief summary here of their views as a way of informing membership of their thinking.

The previous application: City Centre ‘Lost Opportunity Site’?

The Civic Society meeting on the City Centre Opportunity Site South (CCOSS) on 23 September 2019 was attended by just over 40 people (in fact not bad for a wet and windy evening). Cllr Robert Donald, and Council Officers Tony Marmo and Jenny Stenzel gave a presentation. Our Committee unanimously supported a decision to submitted an objection. You can read our letter here In summary it says that “although supportive in principle to the mixed development of this site our objection is to the appearance of the current proposal ….. we do not see in this application the “listed buildings of the future” sought in the CCOS Development Brief / Supplementary Planning Document July 2012. Indeed what we do see is a lost opportunity to create “a landmark building as a key gateway feature” at the Victoria Street / Bricket Road corner envisaged in the CCOS Development Brief….”  Our reasons for objection to this application and the efforts we have made prior to the planning application being submitted are set out here.  The planning application (5/2019/2001) was subsequently withdrawn.

What else have we been doing?

A quick update on some of the areas where the Society has been active over the last few weeks. 

  • Waxhouse Gate and Sumpter Yard: liaising with the Council and property owner concerning state of the paving and piles of rubbish behind the apartments
  • Vintry Gardens and Verdun Tree: meeting with Council to discuss state the mud path that has been created in the Gardens and the collapse of the flimsy screen behind the Tree
  • Blue Plaques: new initiative with support from other organisations to have determine critera to nominate for plaques and once agreed have plaques installed, click here for more details.
  • Radio Verulam: regular interviews each month, to listen to previous ones click here
  • Local Plan Examination: Society represented and would have participated if Inspectors had not postponed the next stage
  • Planning applications, every month we comment on a few applications, here are two recent ones : 17 Heritage Close,  object to change of use which will lead to increase in noise and disturbance arising from the intensification of use of the premises and garden, and from patrons accessing and leaving the premises via Heritage Close and Waxhouse Gate will impact adversely on residential amenity.          Smallford Works, object to redevelopment of the site to provide up to 100 residential units as speculative proposal for inappropriate development in the green belt.  Under the National Planning Policy Framework green belt boundaries are only to be altered in exceptional circumstances, and then only through the local plan review process.
  • A Boards: see our column in the Advertiser on this subject.  On a quiet day in St Albans this month 101 ‘A’ boards were on the pavement between the High Street and Catherine Street, excluding Christopher Place and The Maltings.  Does cluttering up the pavement matter?
  • Civic Voice: attending the AGM and the Sandys Lecture delivered this year by Ivan Harbour of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners.

Privacy Policy

St Albans Civic Society (‘the Society’) is committed to protecting the privacy and personal information of our members. This privacy policy is about the information that we hold from which individuals can be identified (‘Personal Data’);  how we deal with Personal Data; and who we may share it with. You can download the Privacy Policy Statement here


The Landscape of the City – EVENT POSTPONED

Date: 9 April 2020

Time: 20.00

Location: Cross Street Centre, Dagnall Street, AL3 5EE

This talk has been cancelled and a new date will be arranged later in the year

Greening the City is the theme of our talks for 2020

In the third of this series of talks, our speaker is Johanna Gibbons (J & L Gibbons LLP).


Trees and the Architect – EVENT POSTPONED

Date: 21 May 2020

Time: 20.00

Location: Cross Street Centre, Dagnall Street, AL3 5EE

This talk has been cancelled and a new date will be arranged later in the year

Greening the City is the theme of our talks for 2020

The concluding presentation in our series is by John Milligan (Milligan Knight Architects) and a joint event with Hertfordshire Architectural Association

All Events


Having reviewed more than 50 development projects completed in the calendar year 2018 the Society gave its highest Award to the renovated Town Hall, and the Trevelyan Prize for the most outstanding conservation project to a 1930’s Art Deco house in Marshalswick. Seven other projects were commended, including a remarkable make-over of a terraced house in Bernard Street. Certificates and plaques were presented by Cllr Janet Smith, Mayor of the City and District of St Albans.

This years awards presentation took place on 24th July at Kingsbury Barn, St Michaels.  For its Awards, the Society looks for projects that contribute to the preservation and enhancement of the character of St Albans, and achieve the highest standards of architecture, planning, landscaping and civic design.

Read more

Previous years winners can be seen here.