St Albans conservation area in crisis
PUBLISHED: 09:20 27 June 2009 | UPDATED: 14:14 06 May 2010
A NEW study by English Heritage has highlighted St Albans city centre as one of the country s most at-risk conservation areas. The latest edition of its annual Heritage at Risk register, published on Tuesday (June 23), revealed that one in seven of the co
A NEW study by English Heritage has highlighted St Albans city centre as one of the country's most at-risk conservation areas.
The latest edition of its annual Heritage at Risk register, published on Tuesday (June 23), revealed that one in seven of the country's conservation areas were at risk of neglect, decay or damaging change.
St Albans city centre is one of 27 conservation areas in the East of England which are causing concern and the register claims that both the urban centre of the city and the surrounding Victorian suburbs are in danger.
The study, which was based on the results of surveys sent to local authorities, claimed that development proposals and an abundance of advertisements, street clutter and highways works were threatening the character of St Albans.
English Heritage also criticised the installation of many satellite dishes and solar panels in the city centre, as well as the large number of front gardens which have been paved over for car parking.
The report also said: "St Albans has also suffered from the more gradual changes that often erode an area's character. There's been a loss of historic detail such as doors, windows, roofing material and chimneys."
Park Street and Frogmore are also included in the list of conservation areas at risk, both villages being very close to the proposed site of a giant rail freight depot on the former Radlett Airfield site.
Based on the survey's findings, English Heritage is launching a Conservation Areas at Risk campaign to get residents, local groups and councils working together to improve their local conservation areas before it's too late.
St Albans District Council (SADC) launched its City Vision project just under a year ago to try and protect the city's heritage, vowing to respect the character of the city when considering potential development projects amongst other things.
Portfolio holder for culture and heritage Melvyn Teare said that he was committed to the City Vision project and added: "We have to respect our city and make sure that it prospers. The English Heritage results are concerning but I have every faith in our City Vision project, which will help the city grow whilst also maintaining its charm."
SADC is encouraging local residents to get involved in plans to improve the city centre, an initiative which chairman of the Civic Society Peter Trevelyan said was working: "The Civic Society are kept well informed by the council and we join forces for the sake of the City Vision project. Everyone is welcome at the council's city forums, where the future of our city is always the priority.
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