Proposals for city-centre development are discussed

PUBLISHED: 20:03 15 October 2008 | UPDATED: 13:39 06 May 2010

IDEAS for developing part of St Albans city centre earmarked for regeneration have been put to the Chamber of Commerce for their members views. Antringham Developments already owns Hertfordshire House in Victoria Street and plans to redevelop it into a

IDEAS for developing part of St Albans city centre earmarked for regeneration have been put to the Chamber of Commerce for their members' views.

Antringham Developments already owns Hertfordshire House in Victoria Street and plans to redevelop it into a combination of commercial, residential and hotel space.

For years the district council has been looking at redeveloping the building along with the nearby police station, which is collectively known as the Civic Centre South Area.

At the informal meeting with the Chamber, Antringham presented the possible development of the Hertfordshire House site with a single building made up of commercial outlets, flats and a budget hotel.

The proposal also included a new police station -- despite the fact that the developers who purchase the present nearby police station in Victoria Street are obliged to provide an alternative facility within 500 metres.

Herts Police put the station up for sale earlier in the year because the centralisation of custodial facilities and some administration services at Hatfield has meant the building is bigger than required, but it is yet to be sold.

Mel Hilbrown, the director of St Albans' Chamber of Commerce, said he thought that the sort of development proposed for Hertfordshire House was to be viewed positively.

He added: "It has lots of uses that don't seem to be in any way offensive from an economical point of view or an aesthetic point of view. It would do a lot to regenerate that side of St Albans."

Tim Blairs, the managing director of Antringham, said the meeting went well and that the members were enthusiastic, positive and supportive about the regeneration proposal.

He said that, after two years of talks with planning officers about how to move forward with developing the site, the company would be submitting a planning application shortly.

He added: "A model of the proposed development and its impact on the surrounding buildings, which will go on public display, is in the process of being prepared. It is hoped that the proposals for our site will be the catalyst for the regeneration of the whole of the Civic Centre South site and beyond, and bring substantial investment into St Albans.

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