Could a drive-thru Starbucks be coming to St Albans?

PUBLISHED: 14:57 12 March 2018 | UPDATED: 14:57 12 March 2018

The last remnant of the gasometers on the former gasworks site in Griffiths Way, at the bottom of Holywell Hill, was pulled down in St Albans. Picture: Peter Wares.

The last remnant of the gasometers on the former gasworks site in Griffiths Way, at the bottom of Holywell Hill, was pulled down in St Albans. Picture: Peter Wares.

Peter Wares

The development of the former British Gas land on Griffiths Way in St Albans is one step closer after the council granted conditional planning permission.

The former British Gas land.The former British Gas land.

Gasworks and gas storage facilities previously stood on the now empty site, which is located on the corner with Graham Close opposite Sainsbury’s, but an application for a discount food store, a non-food retail outlet, a gym and a restaurant and drive-through has been given outline planning permission by St Albans council.

A spokesperson for applicant Consolidated Property Group (CPG) said: “We are under contract to purchase the site from National Grid and planning permission has been approved for a new retail park.

“Griffiths Way is an established retail destination and the new development will bring a further exciting new tenants to the area. The new permission is for a B&Q store, another as yet unnamed discount food retailer and a drive-thru coffee shop.”

CPG expect to start construction in the autumn once they have full planning permission.

Another business which was mentioned during the application process as interested in the drive-thru was Starbucks.

Reaction to the development has been mixed, with St Albans Civic Society writing to the council to say: “We object to this proposal on account of the adverse impact which expanded out-of-town retailing would have on the variety, vitality and viability of St Albans city centre retailing, of which the council needs to be supportive.”

Representatives for shopping centre operator intu wrote to the council: “intu remains concerned regarding this planning application and its potential to cause harm to the planned investment and vitality of Charter Place, Watford town centre and the retail hierarchy throughout the surrounding sub-region.”

But Colin Humphrey of Berners Drive said: “Having been born and bred in St Albans and lived on the Cottonmill Estate now for the past 30 years I have seen and appreciated the retail developments around Griffiths Way.

“The current proposal seems totally suitable and will complement the other retail units already around the area and fully benefit local residents.”

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CountryPhile

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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