Exploratory boreholes to be drilled next to St Albans Town Hall from today

The old town hall

The old town hall - Credit: Archant

Two boreholes will be drilled in the pavement alongside St Albans Town Hall next week to assess the foundations needed for a new planned basement gallery.

The Town Hall has been earmarked as the site of a new city museum and gallery to replace the Museum of St Albans in Hatfield Road.

Two trial pits have already been dug in the basement of the Town Hall and three in the café to help determine the depth of the building’s existing foundations.

Work on the boreholes will begin on Monday, May 4, one of which will be located on the Chequer Street side of the building and other next to the external seating area in front of the Town Hall.

For safety reasons, a section of the St Peter’s Street footpath and the footpath adjacent to the seating area will be closed and the area around the boreholes will also be fenced off.

The work is due to finish next Friday, May 8.

Earlier this month the council’s architects, John McAslan and Partners unveiled the design for the new museum and gallery which will include the addition of glazed ‘wings’ to the first floor, linking the northern and southern ends of the building.

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The glass-covered walkways will enable visitors to walk round the building and see views of the city.

The proposed new temperature-controlled and secure basement gallery is to house national touring exhibitions and contemporary art shows. The ground floor will be used to accommodate a visitor information centre, exhibition space to showcase St Albans’ history, an education area and a café.

An application has been made to secure £2.8m from the Heritage Lottery Fund to help fund the £7.75m project with a public fundraising campaign being run by St Albans Museums and Galleries Trust to raise additional funds.