Plans warning

SIR - Hertfordshire House: This plan could seriously damage your city. Your readers will know that once again Antringham Developments have put in a planning application to build on the Hertfordshire House site in Bricket Road and the car park fronting Vic

SIR - Hertfordshire House: This plan could seriously damage your city.

Your readers will know that once again Antringham Developments have put in a planning application to build on the Hertfordshire House site in Bricket Road and the car park fronting Victoria Street. And except for a few technical details, it's exactly the same as the one which caused so much opposition first time round.

To remind you - what's on offer is an overcrowded, commercial block of mundane design containing a budget hotel, eateries, police station, flats and car parking.

From the Town Hall end of Victoria Street, you'd be confronted by a five-plus storey slab dominating the adjoining Quaker Burial ground and the nearby two-storey listed buildings.


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The view down the hill would be radically altered, with magnificent mature trees and sense of light and space gone forever.

The streetscape round Bricket Road would become a canyon, and Victoria Street would be overwhelmed by a structure built to the very edge of the site.

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Three vital questions have yet to be answered: Why, when Tree Preservation Orders have recently been placed by the council on the trees on the site (plane, sycamore, gum tree, copper beech), has an application been lodged that would require them all to be chopped down? The declared intent of the council couldn't be clearer: is the developer just pushing his luck, or simply not listening?

Why, when the council has embarked on an extensive, government-funded City Vision project to regenerate our crucial city-centre area, do we have before us a premature, piecemeal proposal which could set an unfortunate architectural precedent?

Why, when English Heritage has declared that St Albans' Central Conservation Area is at risk, do we even have to consider such a downright unimaginative scheme?

This site really is worth fighting for.

MARION HAMMANT

St Albans Civic Society

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