Community group shapes design for former St Albans museum site

The Look! St Albans workshop working on the design

The Look! St Albans workshop working on the design - Credit: Archant

A community exercise has ended with a design selected for new buildings at the Museum of St Albans.

The aim of the brainstorming session in October, led by Look! St Albans, a city centre-focused community-led body, was to deliver a scheme for the museum in Hatfield Road, St Albans, which would maintain its Gothic style and enhance the quality of building design in the city.

The museum is expected to move to St Albans Town Hall and a fundraising project is currently underway, boosted by a 0.3 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, to enable the switch to happen.

The chosen design for the Hatfield Road site, entitled Oak Tree Gardens, is now being worked up into a planning application.

It was the most popular of four that were produced by the public at the three-day design charrette in late October and includes terraced town houses built around a courtyard and gardens.

Council officers are exploring the option of the local authority developing the site itself as a way of ensuring that the design is built and a developer profit can be reinvested in the Grade II Listed Town Hall.

Vanessa Gregory, chairman of Look! St Albans, commented: “I feel very proud to have taken part in the first community-led, site specific design charrette and the way Team Look! worked their socks off to host the event.

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“I wish I could have bottled the atmosphere of enthusiasm, commitment and willingness to hear and respect others views in such a positive and creative manner.”

Cllr Brian Ellis, St Albans council’s portfolio holder with responsibility for the museum building, added: “The charrette was a great experience enabling different stakeholders to work collaboratively togetherintensely over a short period to produce a design solution for the site.”