Have your say on the plans for the old BHS site
PUBLISHED: 11:19 19 March 2018 | UPDATED: 11:30 19 March 2018
The plans for a new 130-bedroom hotel and potentially a new restaurant at the former site of British Home Stores in St Albans have been revealed.
Developers Reef Estates propose demolishing the existing building and constructing a new hotel with room for shops or eateries on the ground floor.
Residents took part in a public consultation prior to the formal planning application and Reef Estates has taken on board comments from local groups.
Development director for the Reef Group Will Rohleder said: “The public consultation was well-attended and we received useful comments which we have incorporated into our designs. Overall there has been good support from residents for Reef’s development plans.
“The former BHS has now sat vacant on St Peters Street for over 18 months. The scheme which includes a new 130 bed hotel and two restaurant or retail units will breathe new life into this part of the high street. This important regeneration will generate in excess of £15m of investment and create approximately 60 new jobs.
“In addition the regeneration will activate the streetscape on the ground floor with glazed elevations along the thoroughfare and at the rear on Drovers Way. The plans include new public realm for potential external seating and lighting, improving the general ambience and security in the immediate area and through to the town centre multi-storey car park.”
St Albans Civic Society said: “We concluded the hotel proposal was acceptable but requested the ground floor use kept the option of being used for either retail or catering and not solely for restaurants.
“It is over two years since BHS collapsed and no other retailer has come forward. The notion there can be a return to an old-style department store concept is well and truly dead. Retail in St Albans has moved on apace, especially since it is claimed residents here are among the highest online shoppers in the UK.”
Members of the public can now comment on the application, however none of the plans or other documents have yet been added to the web version, which can be seen by going to www.stalbans.go.vuk and searching for planning application 5/2018/0631.
The council say the documents are unlikely to be uploaded until next week.