St Albans council submit plans to demolish former youth club and stop ‘drug taking’ and ‘antisocial behaviour’

PUBLISHED: 17:00 19 January 2019 | UPDATED: 12:48 25 January 2019

View of the existing Sopwell Youth Centre building from the footpath. Picture: Planning application submitted by St Albans district council

View of the existing Sopwell Youth Centre building from the footpath. Picture: Planning application submitted by St Albans district council

Archant

Proposals to demolish a former youth club and stop alleged drug taking at the abandoned site have been revealed.

St Albans district council (SADC) is looking to build seven three-bedroom homes on the site of the Sopwell Youth Centre at the rear of Leyland Avenue.

The youth group moved out of the 1970s building in 2010 and since then the most recent occupants have been a weights club.

There is also an electricity sub-station on the 2,540sqm site, which is next to Network Rail land and is linked to the Alban Way.

For the first time, SADC plan to erect the houses using a modular method. This is when sections of the construction are pre-built in factories and put together on-site.

The application says: “The lack of continual use of the site has led to antisocial activity within the site, with evidence of drug use.

“The lack of natural surveillance on the site during the evenings of what is a vacant building could lead to vandalism and drug taking.”

It concludes: “Fundmentally, we have attempted to redevelop an area of St Albans to provide a greater standard of living and meet the housing needs of the district council.

“We believe that the proposed development will be a welcome addition to St Albans and will enhance the character of the area.”

Residents of Cottonmill have been campaigning for a new community space for some time - members of the Cottonmill and Sopwell Hub (CASH) campaign say the area is lacking a library, cafe, or social club.

Nearly 1,000 people signed a petition urging SADC to provide them with a community space.

One objection to the demolition application says: “We have no objection to the proposed housing development. However, we are very concerned about the safety issues arising from the entry and exit access which forms part of the Alban Way.”

The resident said they “already experience problems with cyclists and pedestrians using the Alban Way” and are concerned that using that route as access would be “obviously unsafe”.

Use 5/2018/3178 to view the plans at www.stalbans.gov.uk/planning/

All comments must reach SADC by January 30.

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