St Albans City unveil new stadium proposals

Lawrence Levy and John McGowan at the proposed site for St Albans City development

Lawrence Levy and John McGowan at the proposed site for St Albans City development - Credit: Archant

AMBITIOUS proposals to relocate and build a new stadium for St Albans City Football Club on a former landfill site have been unveiled.

Development of the site in Colney Heath could lead to the creation of 70 new jobs in the district.

The Saints have long complained about restrictions and problems with ageing facilities at Clarence Park, which it leases from St Albans district council (SADC).

Sections of the park’s facilities date back to before the Second World War.

Despite councillors pledging their support to help the Saints maintain a presence in the city centre and pave the way for modernisation, club owners Lawrence Levy and John McGowan have said that it is neither suitable nor financially viable to remain at Clarence Park.

With the lease ending next year, they have begun initial consultation with councillors and Colney Heath residents about plans to build off Colney Heath Lane.

This follows discussions with the owners of the land earmarked for the proposed stadium, which was formerly used as a sand and gravel pit and more recently for landfill during the 1960s and ’70s – a brownfield site within the Green Belt.

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Its boundaries include the Alban Way and Alban industrial park and Colney Heath Lane, near Boissy Close.

Travellers living at a nearby site graze more than 20 ponies on the site.

The plan includes an all-weather training pitch to be used by the Saints, schools, youth football clubs and by the wider community and a further pitch to promote high-standard football to help attract premiership clubs for pre-season friendlies.

The main vehicular access would be via Colney Heath Lane, with on-site parking for 150 vehicles.

However the club owners have said they would encourage fans to travel by bus along Hatfield Road, or park at the nearby industrial estate for weekend games and also walk to the stadium via the Alban Way.

Seating would be provided for about 2,500 visitors, while overall capacity would be for about 5,500 fans.

Plans include:

n Gymnasium to include futsal facilities;

n Restaurant/bar to provide seven-day income to the club;

n A 1,000-seat conference/banqueting facility;

n Nursery school to provide income to the Saints.

Lawrence said that the club had already received inquiries about jobs at the stadium even though the scheme has yet to be submitted to the council.

At a meeting held at Clarence Park last week to brief councillors on the scheme, some Colney Heath residents voiced opposition to parts of the plan, including the proposal to construct 170 houses nearby to help fund the facility.

Further problems highlighted included access, parking, noise and additional traffic.

Cllr for Colney Heath Chris Brazier warned: “There are a lot of hurdles.”

Lawrence said: “We want to put St Albans on the map. But we are at the very early stages.”

He said the developers would take on board residents’ concerns and make changes to the scheme ahead of a public meeting to be held in the village in June.