Moving story

PUBLISHED: 12:37 31 January 2008 | UPDATED: 12:57 06 May 2010

SIR — This is to all who care about our fair city of St Albans Having recently heard a talk by Peter Trevelyan on the work of the St Albans Civic Society and bearing in mind the current Tesco furore, plus a few other odds and ends re planning, housing, tr

SIR - This is to all who care about our fair city of St Albans

Having recently heard a talk by Peter Trevelyan on the work of the St Albans Civic Society and bearing in mind the current Tesco furore, plus a few other odds and ends re planning, housing, traffic and so on, not to mention the cinema, I offer a few thoughts for residents of St Albans young or old, newcomers or long-time residents, to consider.

Over half-a-century ago I was taken by the then clerk to the magistrates court in Basingstoke to see their new court house, together with ancillary offices, constructed on a piece of ground a short distance from the town centre, just about as far as the old fire station on Harpenden Road is from our Civic Centre. It is of course much too late to consider moving our district council offices, but having regard to the facts that Hertford House, adjacent to the police station, is now vacant and surplus to Herts County Council requirements, that the magistrates court is vastly overcrowded and that there has been talk of a change of site for the police station, may I commend to you all my suggestions for the future.

With the transfer of the fire station to London Road, the court and the police station could be accommodated on the Harpenden Road site which is on a major bus route. So now would seem to be an ideal time for a bold move to remedy several problems all at the same time. A small office facility for the court and the police could be retained for city-centre convenience.

Development of this prime site, accessible from the Civic Centre as well as from Victoria Street, would offer the possibilities of a new precinct including a supermarket (Tesco?), a department store (John Lewis?), and maybe a cinema, which would at one stroke please all those who have been protesting about the Tesco proposals for the London Road/Alma Road corner, and those who seek to bring back a cinema to the city without the trauma of some of the earlier proposals. This would free the London Road/Alma Road site for housing, which would be much more in keeping and unlikely to create traffic problems. We would of course retain the burial site in Victoria Street which would form an attractive feature of the area.

Underground parking could be incorporated in the site, and the car park in Bricket Road could be expanded, all hopefully without impinging on the skyline as has been the case with earlier proposals. There would also be the possibility of connection with The Maltings by a pedestrian bridge, which would allow the two areas to be complementary rather than competitive.

Before I am completely buried under the avalanche of letters telling me why this cannot be done, will someone - anyone - please add to the debate with positive suggestions as to how this could be done. We already know the negatives.

W. HARPER,

Avenue Road, St Albans.

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