£26m development bid for city centre

PUBLISHED: 11:55 11 December 2008 | UPDATED: 13:48 06 May 2010

An artist's impression of the proposed development

An artist's impression of the proposed development

A MULTI-million pound development including a budget hotel and leisure facilities has been proposed for a St Albans city-centre site earmarked for regeneration. Antringham Verulamium has submitted a planning application for a £26-million development on th

A MULTI-million pound development including a budget hotel and leisure facilities has been proposed for a St Albans city-centre site earmarked for regeneration.

Antringham Verulamium has submitted a planning application for a £26-million development on the Hertfordshire House site in Bricket Road to the district council.

The plans for the half-acre site include a new 87-bedroom Travelodge, 46 residential apartments, leisure and retail facilities, together with 12,600 square feet of office space.

This office space could potentially house the police who will be looking for new accommodation when their current station in Victoria Street is sold for redevelopment.

Antringham Verulamium purchased the 1960s' Hertfordshire House building and the adjoining car park from Herts County Council in 2007 and has been in talks with the district council about its future since then. The area, which is known as Civic Centre South, has been identified as one in need of regeneration. Antringham Verulamium are working on the development with the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Tim Blairs, director of Antringham Verulamium, said: "This scheme is pivotal to the regeneration of the St Albans Civic Centre South site which is vital to the city as a whole. Our applications are the catalyst to essential improvements in St Albans where there has been a dearth of good, new development over the last decade.

"We are passionate about the city and have consulted extensively with local stakeholders and interested parties for the last two years, ever mindful of local scale and massing sensitivities with regards to the design." He added: "We welcome the money we pay for Section 106 issues being used in an imaginative way to ensure much-needed public realm regeneration and future investment happens."

Travelodge property director Tony O'Brien said the development would double the number of hotel beds on offer in St Albans.

He said: "We are less than four years from the Olympics and St Albans has less than 100 beds to offer. The city will miss an enormous opportunity if it cannot offer tourists somewhere to stay in the future and not just in terms of the games themselves."

Joel Baillie-Lane, chief executive of the Town Hall and who also runs a local architecture and project management company, said: "While there will always be detractors to the details of any new development I feel that this landmark building will kick-start the regeneration of a part of St Albans that so desperately needs redevelopment."

Sandra Oldfield, president of the St Albans Chamber of Commerce, said: "We welcome this development as it is obvious to local businesses that regeneration is essential within St Albans. The design is striking and in keeping with the character of the city.

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