New homes development underway at former St Albans Museum site

PUBLISHED: 13:42 10 May 2018 | UPDATED: 13:42 10 May 2018

The Oak Tree Gardens development in Hatfield Road, St Albans.
Picture: Anne Suslak

The Oak Tree Gardens development in Hatfield Road, St Albans. Picture: Anne Suslak

Archant

Construction is well underway on a new housing development at the former St Albans Museum site.

The Oak Tree Gardens development in Hatfield Road is comprised of 10 town houses over three floors, and is set to be completed later this year.

Community group Look! St Albans, which has been overseeing the development, held a design charrette in 2014 to produce a design for the site of the former museum. The charrette came about following the decision to sell the site to help fund the new St Albans Museum and Art Gallery, which is now nearing completion in the former Town Hall.

The site was then developed by St Albans district council with contractor Morgan Sindall.

Vanessa Gregory, chair of Look! St Albans, said: “At the design charrette we knew there couldn’t be any affordable new homes here because the profit is going towards the new museum.

The Oak Tree Gardens development in Hatfield Road, St Albans.
Picture: Anne SuslakThe Oak Tree Gardens development in Hatfield Road, St Albans. Picture: Anne Suslak

“This was a museum the people loved for many years and important features have been retained and the sense of place has been retained. When it’s finished it will not just be brand new homes - it’s got that sense of homeliness about it already.

“I could visualise myself here.”

According to site manager Mark Steward, the homes will be completed by November this year. The builders lost seven weeks of work in total due to icy weather, but have managed to catch up to be only a week behind schedule.

Vanessa added: “The community came together and we co-designed homes in the heart of our city centre, in the heart of the conservation area, so I think we should be extremely proud.

The Oak Tree Gardens development in Hatfield Road, St Albans.
Picture: Anne SuslakThe Oak Tree Gardens development in Hatfield Road, St Albans. Picture: Anne Suslak

“The message should go out that if you work with communities early on in the design stage you get them on board. It’s well worth that effort to make them a part of what is going to be built.

“It just shows the level of what you can achieve if you work together.”

The terraced town houses are being built around a courtyard and gardens, and according to the district council website the homes maintain the gothic-style of the former museum.

The new St Albans Museum and Gallery will open its doors to the public on Friday, June 8, following a two-year restoration of the city’s Georgian Town Hall.

The Oak Tree Gardens development in Hatfield Road, St Albans.
Picture: Anne SuslakThe Oak Tree Gardens development in Hatfield Road, St Albans. Picture: Anne Suslak

The former museum in Hatfield Road closed in September 2015.

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