Have your say on redevelopment of Harpenden landmark

PUBLISHED: 19:00 25 October 2018

Harpenden Public Halls. Photo: DANNY LOO

Harpenden Public Halls. Photo: DANNY LOO


Everyone can voice their two-cents worth on major proposals to repurpose a Harpenden landmark.

Southdown Road entertainment venue, Harpenden Public Halls, is due to be relocated to a larger and more modern theatre at a new sports and cultural centre in Rothamsted Park.

A planning application for that new centre is currently being considered by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

St Albans district council (SADC) are hosting design charrettes asking for the public’s help in deciding how the Public Halls’ 0.7 acre site should be used once all the entertainment activity has moved.

Portfolio holder for commercial and development at SADC, Cllr Julian Daly, said: “I want local people to be involved and come along to the design charrette.

“We are keen that the redevelopment of the public halls is a community-led and collaborative undertaking. It is a very important site at the gateway to the town centre.

“Our aim is to involve people and organisations who care about Harpenden and want to see this site redeveloped in a suitable, imaginative and sustainable way.

“We want to deliver a high-quality redevelopment that has active public support and will make Harpenden even more attractive and appealing.”

The charrette will be hosted by independent facilitator Kevin Murray Associates.

Portfolio holder for sport and culture, Cllr Annie Brewster, said: “The new leisure and cultural centres will be transformational for Harpenden and its surrounding villages and are now well advanced.

“The public halls have very much reached their end of life. Modern audiences are seeking greater comfort and more flexible cultural spaces. This redevelopment is an extremely important project for the town and we are very keen for residents to help draw up the masterplan.”

Money raised from the hall’s redevelopment will make up a significant portion of funding towards the new leisure and cultural centres, which is part of a £18.8million Harpenden regeneration project.

For more information about that initiative, visit www.stalbans.gov.uk/harpendenleisure.

The design charrettes will take place at St Dominic’s Primary School on November 16 from 6.45pm to 8.30pm and on November 17 from 9.30am to 5.30pm.

Register at bit.ly/2yyuFfZ

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I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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