Herts Ad Comment: Why did district council fail to clean pavements around Museum?

PUBLISHED: 18:00 13 June 2018

The state of the pavements around the new St Albans Museum + Gallery.

The state of the pavements around the new St Albans Museum + Gallery.

Archant

The devil really is in the details. After spending the best part of £7.75m transforming St Albans’ old Town Hall into the state-of-the-art Museum + Gallery, why oh why has the district council done nothing to tackle the dust and debris left by the builders around the iconic building?

The state of the pavements around the new St Albans Museum + Gallery.The state of the pavements around the new St Albans Museum + Gallery.

The forecourt in front of the entrance, and the surroundings in Market Place and Chequer Street are, to put it bluntly, filthy.

Cursory efforts to jet wash the results of two years’ worth of building works have failed, and more extreme measures are obviously required.

Let’s not forget that it’s been the best part of a month since the builders handed over the Museum to SADC for fitting out, at which point there was every opportunity to ensure the surroundings were tip-top ahead of the official opening.

So why was nothing done? The councillors responsible for such matters are of course welcome to explain what went wrong and what steps they are taking to rectify the situation.

The state of the pavements around the new St Albans Museum + Gallery.The state of the pavements around the new St Albans Museum + Gallery.

It’s fruitless spending millions of pounds on the refurbishment of the Town Hall and then not to make sure the environs are fit for purpose. Visitors to the city will undoubtedly be impressed by our fantastic showcase museum, less so in the state of the streets around it.

Moving onto the subject of the museum itself, and on the same day it officially opened there was already a backlash on social media. Some people are never happy.

In all honesty, much of this came about through sheer bloody ignorance, with keyboard warriors complaining about how their council tax had been wasted on the refurbishment, and oh, wasn’t the old (unused) Museum of St Albans lovely, with its piles of old tat.

One person was particularly vocal about the lack of St Albans artefacts, suggesting it felt more like an art installation, failing to realise the inclusion of the word “gallery” in the title. Modern art isn’t to everybody’s taste (and I’d be the first to avoid a visit to the Tate), but there are definitely some “wow!” pieces included in the StAM+G which are worth seeing on their own.

The state of the pavements around the new St Albans Museum + Gallery.The state of the pavements around the new St Albans Museum + Gallery.

The best thing about this remarkable building is seeing it packed out with people keen to explore its varied collections, whereas the old Town Hall was pretty much only good for remaindered book sales.

The displays and exhibits will change over the months to come, and it’s going to be worth coming back time and time again to see what’s on display, something you could never say about MoSTA.

But please get those streets cleaned!

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