St Albans Museum building could be housing development

St Albans Museum.

St Albans Museum. - Credit: Archant

One of the city’s two museums is set to become a housing development after the district council’s cabinet agreed to purchase the freehold of the site.

The future of the Museum of St Albans in Hatfield Road is tied in with a proposal to convert the old Town Hall into a new museum and art gallery serving te city.

Profits from developing the site for housing will be ploughed into the Town Hall scheme to which the council has pledged £2.25 million.

The Hatfield Road site is currently owned by the Museum of St Albans, a charitable trust regulated by the Charity Commission which in June approved its marketing and disposal

The council will pay the purchase price either in cash or through the use of assets.

Plans are now being developed for the site in line with a proposal that emerged from a design charrette organised by Look! St Albans. Residents, architects and others took part in the day-long workshop that resulted in a design for an exemplar residential scheme.

Cllr Brian Ellis, St Albans council’s portfolio holder with responsibility for property, said: “The more money the council is able to raise for the new museum and art gallery the better. The aim is to deliver a new museum to showcase 2,000 years of our City’s history and an art gallery that will attract visitors to St Albans. There may be options to enhance the project if more money is forthcoming as a result of the development of the Hatfield Road site. “To help make this become a reality we need the support of local residents and businesses to raise the necessary funds. Early next year, we will be unveiling a number of exciting ways the local community can get involved in this wonderful project.”

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The council is working with the St Albans Museums and Galleries Trust and the University of Herts Galleries on the £6.75m new museum and gallery project.

A development grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund has been secured for the new museum and gallery project and work is now underway to produce designs for to help secure a total £2.8 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

In addition, the St Albans Museums and Galleries Trust is seeking to raise a further £1.7 million from the public, charitable trusts and local businesses. To pledge a donation or find out how you can become involved in the renaissance: St Albans campaign, visit

* Arts Council England has awarded accreditation for achieving nationally agreed quality standards to both St Albans museums.

An authoritative benchmark, it shows that the two museums manage collections effectively for the enjoyment and benefit of visitors.