Twin tower blocks scheme for St Albans conservation area

PUBLISHED: 15:00 20 March 2015

Cllr Chris White in the car park for the Ziggurat building on Grosvenor Road which is the proposed site for a multi-storey car park

Cllr Chris White in the car park for the Ziggurat building on Grosvenor Road which is the proposed site for a multi-storey car park


Two residential tower blocks earmarked for a car park in St Albans’ conservation area are causing consternation among neighbouring residents.

At a recent public consultation developers Augur Buchler Partners unveiled plans to build six and eight storey-high blocks, containing a total of 90 one and two bedroom units.

The scheme is planned for a car park site on Grosvenor Place, across the road from Ziggurat House.

But Les O’Leary, chairman of Ridgmont Road Residents Association, has warned that with over 400 new flats either recently built or planned for the neighbourhood, “more than a whole year’s new housing supply for the district is being dumped in one tiny area”.

Nearly 200 new apartments have been approved for the conversion of Ziggurat House, which is likely to have its distinctive ground-to-roof glazing replaced with brick, prompting Les to add, “the area risks being turned into “high rise brick canyons.

“You can imagine the reaction of local residents – they bought houses in a conservation area!”

Les said the building should not go ahead as the area, “is full of Victorian homes. It’s going to look like downtown Manhattan. This is ridiculous levels of development.”

He also warned about a lack of green space in the locality.

County councillor for St Albans Central Chris White, who attended the public consultation, described the car park as “wasted land”.

He added: “Whatever is built there has to fit in with Ziggurat House. Six-to-eight storeys would be too high. Some residents are very alarmed.

“But I’m open-minded about it as there is a shortage of suitable housing sites in St Albans, and this is a brownfield site – however we have to make sure the scheme is not excessive.

“We would also need to look at car parking, as there is already pressure in the area.”

A spokesman for the developer said a planning application should be submitted in July.

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I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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