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 2019)
City Centre ‘Lost Opportunity Site’?
The Abbey, the Gatehouse, the Clock Tower, the Museum + Gallery, Samuel Ryder’s Seed Hall, the Fighting Cocks, Verulamium Museum – St Albans is not short of impressive and attractive buildings that raise one’s spirits. You will have your favourites. Most areas of the city have varied, attractive building stock. But there’s the area between the old police station on Victoria Street and the Alban Arena. Seven depressed and depressing acres are up for redevelopment and the Council brands it ‘Civic Centre Opportunity Site South’ (CCOS).
An opportunity indeed! To replace that collection of soulless monuments to the decades of architectural bankruptcy with a landmark development that will revitalise the area and make a positive contribution to our streetscape. There are concerns, however, that it might result in the ‘City Centre Lost Opportunity Site’. Read more
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 for the following reasons:
1. increase in noise pollution from additional aircraft over-flying St Albans.
2. additional pressure on the Midland mainline and Thameslink services vital to St Albans commuter needs.
3. additional traffic generation leading to increased congestion at M1 junctions and pinchpoints .
4. unnecessary increase in capacity considering cumulative over-expansion of airports in South East.
You can read the full letter here Luton Airport Expansion SACS response
Verulamium Park derives much of its character from its water-features. The view to the Abbey over the lakes affords one of the finest vistas in St Albans. And the Ver, which feeds the lakes, is valued as one of the World’s rarest and most endangered habitats: the chalk stream, a precious wonder of which we are custodian for future generations. Unfortunately, closer inspection of this bucolic scene reveals that all is not well in paradise. Low volumes of water-flow have exacerbated inherent silting problems which are now manifest: residents and visitors may encounter unsightly mud, unpleasant smells and dead wildfowl. Read more.
NPPF – National Planning Policy Framework
The Society has submitted a detailed response to the consultation on the draft revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The consultation sought views on proposals to change planning policy and legislation to bring forward more land in the right places. Read more. You can download a copy of our NPPF response here.
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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. This year, two projects were given the Society’s Annual Award and plaque, and two projects were commended. The Trevelyan Prize recognises projects that achieve the finest quality in terms of conservation / restoration. This year, one project was awarded the Trevelyan Prize; one project was commended. These awards cover projects completed in 2017 and were presented on 30 October 2018.