Proposals made for Heritage Trail to highlight landmarks in St Albans

PUBLISHED: 11:25 22 July 2020

The Verulamium Museum would be part of the proposed Hertiage Trail in St Albans. Picture: St Albans District Council

The Verulamium Museum would be part of the proposed Hertiage Trail in St Albans. Picture: St Albans District Council

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Plans to create a Heritage Trail in St Albans city, highlighting historical buildings, famous faces and events, have been put forward by councillors.

If plans for the Heritage Trail go through, plaques similar to this one in Wheathampstead will be placed in places of note in St Albans. Picture: St Albans District CouncilIf plans for the Heritage Trail go through, plaques similar to this one in Wheathampstead will be placed in places of note in St Albans. Picture: St Albans District Council

The idea of the trail would be to educate residents and visitors about the city’s past, draw in more tourists to help boost the economy and provide a safe outdoor activity post COVID-19.

Among the major attractions proposed to be included in the trail are the Cathedral, the medieval Clock Tower and Verulamium Park, the site of Britain’s largest Roman settlement.

Other places of note include the River Ver, an outstanding example of a rare chalk stream, St Albans Museum + Gallery and Fishpool Street.

Councillors on the community, environment and sports scrutiny committee have called for bespoke cast iron plaques with standalone information on each of them to be installed on, or adjacent to, important historic sites across the city.

In addition, they said the potential for sponsorship and funding should be examined so that it could be better publicised.

Committee chair Annie Brewster said: “We were keen to propose eminently sensible post COVID-19 recommendations which I very much hope the cabinet will take forward.

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“The completion of a long-desired St Albans City Heritage Trail is a particularly exciting proposal. One of the main reason the St Albans won two Heritage Lottery Fund grants for the Cathedral and the Museum+Gallery nearly five years ago was because the city has a unique selling point – 2,000 years of visible history within a square mile.

“They wanted the Museum+Gallery to be the shop window from which visitors would be able to get outside and explore our remarkable heritage.”

The recommendations will now be considered by the council’s portfolio holder for community, Heritage and public realm.

Councillor Brewster continued: “As we recover from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 emergency on our local economy, it is vital that we attract more visitors who will spend money in our shops, restaurants and other businesses. Improving the heritage trail is an additional way of doing that.

“I am pleased that the portfolio holder has agreed to look at these recommendations and I hope that they will result in prompt action as we recover from lockdown.”

In another initiative, the committee also asked the portfolio holder to look at the possibility of creating more outside space for café seating at St Albans Museum + Gallery.

This could allow more people to make use of the facility and help the museum recover from the impact of the pandemic by boosting revenues.

The committee also called for outdoor space at the district’s leisure centres to be fitted with marquee-style covering so exercise classes could be held with minimum risk of spreading coronavirus.

The committee met on Thursday, July 16. A webcast of the meeting is available at stalbans.public-i.tv/core/portal/home.


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