Putting future look of St Albans in the frame

18:07 27 January 2012

St Albans town centre shops.

St Albans town centre shops.

Archant

A DESIGN “wish list” for the future development of St Albans is being shaped by a consortium of local interest groups – and they want your help to make it a reality.

The Look! St Albans initiative is drawing on the input of representatives from across the district to shape a “design code” for St Albans inspired by those iconic elements which residents believe best characterise the city centre.

A steering group ,made up of 18 members, has been drawn from various organisations including St Albans Chamber of Commerce, the Civic Society, St Albans Abbey, Arc and Arc, assorted residents’ associations and the district council with the aim of collating submissions from residents, workers and visitors to the city centre showing what architectural features they consider should shape the area’s future.

With the catchline of “inspired by the past... picture your future”, Look! St Albans is calling on residents, visitors and workers who use the city centre to share their ideas and favourite photos of St Albans, which will be used to create specific design rules for new buildings and spaces in the area.

A £100 prize is up for grabs for the very best picture submitted throughout the campaign to the bespoke Flickr site at www.flickr.com/photos/lookstalbans.

Project manager Vanessa Gregory said: “The Herts Advertiser has often reported about how architectural design and associated issues in our city centre have caused so many rows over the years. We now have an opportunity for businesses and residents to work together and solve this repeating bone of contention.

“The aim of this project is to give certainty to developers, as we all work together for the benefit of the city centre rather than in each other’s interest. People have really interesting ideas about what they see the heart of St Albans actually is, and we want them to take photos to illustrate this.

“It does not even have to be old buildings, they may like the aspect or windows of somewhere new.”

Categories include streets, buildings, open spaces, design detail, public squares and ‘I wish this was in St Albans’ for photos of places, spaces and buildings from outside the district but which would fit well in the city centre.

The project is being run with support from The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community, which is providing its expertise in managing the process, having run similar schemes elsewhere in the country.

Spokesperson Joanna Hinckley said: “The Prince’s Foundation believes that listening to the wisdom of local people is crucial to successful sustainable development.

“As a result of these beliefs they have pioneered an innovative approach to community engagement which brings everyone from local residents to business owners, planners to developers around the table to discuss aspirations for the area.

“The Prince’s Foundation involvement in the Look! St Albans initiative is funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government as part of the nationwide ‘Communities and Neighbourhoods in Planning’ programme.

“The Prince’s Foundation team is very much looking forward to working for the City Centre Steering Group, all Albanians, and those that work in and visit St Albans, in this wonderful Look! St Albans initiative.”

The project is being personally funded by the organisations involved, including costs for publicity materials and public open design sessions at Dagnall Street Baptist Church on February 27 and 29 from 7-9pm, where people will have a chance to view and discuss the photos submitted during the course of the campaign.

If you are unable to upload photos via Flickr, you are welcome to bring printed copies along to the first of these sessions on February 27.

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