Excavation work on basement gallery of new St Albans Museum and Art Gallery to start soon

Proposed new St Albans Museum and Art Gallery at night

Proposed new St Albans Museum and Art Gallery at night - Credit: Archant

Short-term city centre disruption, including the closing of public toilets, is expected with the start of preliminary construction work on the £7.75 million St Albans Museum and Art Gallery.

Preliminary work to create a £7.75 million Museum and Art Gallery in St Albans’ Town Hall is due to

Preliminary work to create a £7.75 million Museum and Art Gallery in St Albans’ Town Hall is due to begin early next month. - Credit: Image supplied

It follows completion of work to remove asbestos from the ground floor ceiling of the old Town Hall which is to be converted into a museum and art gallery.

As well as the closure of the underground Town Hall toilets, a nearby footpath will be closed, a bus stop will be suspended and part of the pedestrianised area in front of the building will become a delivery zone for the construction site.

Early next month, excavation work to construct a 168 sq ms basement gallery begin.

An archaeologist will monitor the excavations in case anything of historical interest is uncovered, but nothing of significance was found when trial pits were dug.

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St Albans district council’s portfolio holder for heritage, Cllr Annie Brewster, said that artistic hoarding boards with sponsors’ logos and information about the project would be installed shortly.

While the basement is being dug out to create a new gallery, the footpath along Chequer Street, outside the historic Town Hall, will be closed to pedestrians. The bus stop beside the Putterills estate agency will be suspended.

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Visitors to the city centre will be directed to use public toilets by the Bricket Road and Drovers Way car park buildings.

Cllr Brewster said: “We are starting the work so we can open the museum and art gallery in the spring of 2018. It is one of the biggest city centre construction projects we have had for many years.”

Although almost 90 per cent of the funding needed for the scheme has already been secured, she said: “We still need to raise the final £700,000 to ensure the building is not only returned to its former glory, but is also cleverly modernised”.

The council agreed last year to use Willmott Dixon as the main building contractor.

• Businesses wishing to appear on the hoardings should call 01727 296148.

• For information about naming opportunities, donating, and sponsorship for the project, email admin@stalbansmgtrust.org.uk or see www.stalbansmgtrust.org.uk

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