Iconic St Albans glass building could be turned into brick
- Credit: Archant
Brick cladding proposed for an iconic glass building in St Albans which is to be converted into housing has infuriated local residents.
Local Green district councillor Simon Grover has been inundated with complaints about the proposal for Ziggurat House in Grosvenor Road, St Albans, and has called in the application for changes to the building for councillors to make a decision at the planning central meeting on Monday, August 3.
But he believes the issue is of such importance that it needs to be considered by the main planning referrals committee and has asked for it to be directed there - he was still waiting to hear yesterday if his bid was successful.
Change of use of the office building to flats was permitted development so was out of the hands of local councillors. But the proposals to reclad the building from glass to brick to create seven studio, 67 one-bedroom and 51 two-bedroom apartments is the subject of an application to alter the building and has incensed neighbours of the scheme.
Cllr Grover said that the conversion had resulted in the second largest postbag he had ever received and there were nearly 80 objections and not one in favour.
The objections range from concern about over-development and insufficient infrastructure to it being out of character in a conservation area and the brickwork being out of scale and proportion.
St Albans Civic Society has also objected to the ‘substantial design change’ to a distinctive landmark building in the conservation area.
They argue that the present glazed cladding, although uncharacteristically tall for St Albans, successfully blends the building into the background sky, belittling its bulk.
By contrast, the civic watchdogs say, the proposed cladding does nothing to disguise the towering elevations and the repetitive expanse of brickwork gives a heavy appearance. “The result is a bland and anonymous utilitarian high-rise block,” they maintain.
Cllr Grover said this week: “The design is shocking. It is turning the existing glass building which, on a sunny day, blends into the sky into a big lump of brick.”
- 1 Suspected loan sharks arrested in Hemel Hempstead
- 2 Meet the artist behind The Queen's Platinum Jubilee mural in St Albans
- 3 Building company resurfaces bridleway to provide safe route for riders and walkers
- 4 St Albans shop showcasing small independents by renting out shelves
- 5 See inside this loft style apartment in a former hat factory
- 6 Foodies queue to try street food sourced, cooked and served in Herts
- 7 Train timetable shakeup due in St Albans and Watford from May 15
- 8 MoonWalk success for the St Albans cancer survivor and her Belgian Buns
- 9 Company of Ten's A Bunch of Amateurs production 'milks the comedy for all its worth' at the Abbey Theatre
- 10 Harpenden neighbours condemn plans for builders merchant next to residential properties
Describing it as ‘insane’, he maintained it would dominate the skyline and set a terrible precedent.
Although there have been concerns voiced about the application going to a planning committee in August when many people are away, Cllr Grover said it was the first available meeting.
Planning officers are recommending that permission is granted on the grounds that the design and appearance of the proposed development and landscaping would be acceptable.