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 Winter 2019
What have we been doing?
A quick update on some of the areas where the Society has been active over the last few weeks. If you would like to know more then please contact us or come along to a speaker evening and have a word with one of the committee after the talk.
- 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 current 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: look out for our next 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.
City Centre ‘Lost Opportunity Site’?
The planning application 5/2019/2001 Civic Centre Opportunity Site South (CCOSS) has been withdrawn. It is now important that any new plans :
- enhance St Albans through excellent quality of design and detail – a ‘wow’ factor;
- have high levels of sustainability and greening;
- avoid being entirely driven by cost;
- not be designed by committee;
- and reflect the character and uniqueness of St Albans (respecting the Conservation Area).
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. 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.
Greening the City is the theme of our talks for 2020.
In this month’s talk we hear from Sara Croft of The Woodland Trust
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).
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
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.