Grant awarded to St Albans community design group

Look! St Albans workshop

Look! St Albans workshop - Credit: Archant

A community group with an interest in and love of St Albans city centre has won a £500 grant, on a public vote.

Look! St Albans was one of 162 groups to receive a Skipton Building Society’s grassroots giving grant.

Chairman Vanessa Gregory said: “I am over the moon and very proud – thank you so much to each and every voter.”

Skipton received about 1,000 applications for funding, with the local group one of 363 shortlisted to go to a public vote.

Vanessa said: “To make it to the shortlist stage we beat off dozens of other applicants, visibly demonstrating the positive impact we are making in St Albans.”

She said the grant followed the group’s “ground breaking work being cited in the House of Lords during the second reading of the Direct Planning (pilot) Bill”.

She explained that the purpose of the Bill was to empower communities to secure better quality design which reflected what local residents wanted, rather than what was imposed upon them, to influence the look of new buildings in their area.

Most Read

The local group was cited in the House of Lords for its “pioneering work” showing that it was possible for neighbourhood forums and groups to work up design codes.

The first main element of the Bill involves strategic planning, where the Secretary of State would be placed under an obligation to authorise pilot schemes to enable local residents, through groups like Look! St Albans, to be more directly involved in developing planning policies within designated areas.

Residents would be able to develop design codes which would provide a set of rules to define how buildings and streets appeared and functioned in their neighbourhoods.

The Bill will now progress to the committee stage within the House of Lords.