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 (Autumn 2019)
City Centre ‘Lost Opportunity Site’?
The Civic Society meeting on the Civic Centre Opportunity Site South (CCOSS) on 23 September 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. However, it is now VERY important that everyone gives their view on this massive development which will last for many, many years and is being built at taxpayers’ expense. You can do this directly by logging on to the Council website here You have until 29 October to do this and over 50 responses have been submitted already. This is now the last chance to approve, modify or oppose these plans.
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.
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Civic Voice speaks out to stop inappropriate upward extensions without permission
Civic Voice – the national charity for the civic movement with 75,000 members – has submitted a consultation response urging the Government to think harder about the plans it has to allow developers to change buildings on our high streets without requiring full planning permission. The proposals, introduced in the consultation ‘Planning Reform – Supporting the high street and increasing the delivery of new homes’ proposes to allow additional storeys to be built above certain commercial or residential buildings, up to a maximum of 5 storeys. You can read more here.
Local Plan Consultation
The Society has responded to the St Albans District Council Local Plan consultation concerning the future development of the City from 2020 to 2036. In our response we recognise the importance of a new Local Plan (LP) which is needed, in order to update the previous LP, drafted in 1994. This is, not only to ensure that the authority’s LP is compatible with latest edition of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), published in July 2018, but also that the District Council will not have to relinquish its control, over planning in the district, to Government, because there has been a failure to produce an approved, up-to-date Plan. You can read our full response here.
Luton Airport Consultation
The Society has submitted an objection the expansion of Luton Airport and you can read the response here.
In a reaction to the excessively ornate mainstream style of the Victorian era – described by art historian Nicholas Pevsner as “vulgarity in detail” – the Arts and Crafts movement promoted traditional craftsmanship, using simple forms, often medieval and romantic. This study day comprises three talks exploring the Arts and Crafts movement which emerged in Britain in the last decades of the 19th century. Proponents of the movement were also strong advocates of economic and social reform, bemoaning the rise of the industrial age. These talks aim to explore origins and influences of the movement in relation to other key figures and movements, and include, where possible, links to St Albans.
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.
Previous years winners can be seen here.