Vision unveiled for redevelopment of crucial St Albans city centre site
- Credit: Image supplied
Ambitious plans for the complete transformation of a prominent - and mostly derelict - city centre site into a residential, commercial and retail development have been unveiled.
Angle Property has launched proposals for a new mixed use scheme centred on the combined Hertfordshire House, former police station and NHS site, along with the public car park opposite the Crown Court, in the Civic Centre.
Its proposed regeneration includes 114 residential units, ranging from studio flats to three bedroom apartments above restaurants and commercial and retail premises in four-to-six storey high buildings, surrounding a new public square. A new NHS community health centre would also be built.
Announcing the plans on Tuesday (26), Angle Property director Tony Williamson said: “It is a key brownfield site in St Albans. We want to redevelop it because St Albans is a vibrant city, and this is exactly the sort of development we want to get involved in.”
The nearly two-acre area, ringed by Victoria Street, Civic Close and Bricket Road, is located opposite the Maltings shopping centre, the district council’s car park in Bricket Road, and is near the Alban Arena.
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Last year the development company bought the derelict Hertfordshire House, which has asbestos, for nearly £4 million. The building is the former county council offices, which have long been vacant and boarded up on the ground floor.
Since its purchase, Angle Property has been in talks with Herts Police about the neighbouring former St Albans police station, Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust and the district council.
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The latter has long supported a redevelopment of the area which was dubbed “Civic Centre Opportunity Site South” in extensive planning documents released in 2012, and forms part of a larger ‘opportunity area’ identified for the immediate area.
Lying in the heart of St Albans’ business precinct, the council has been keen to have the unattractive site turned into a new quarter which adds value to the city centre, and creates new employment.
Tony explained that the plan was to build 114 homes consisting of five studio units, 48 one-bedroom, 40 two-bedroom and 21 three bedroom apartments. There would be parking for up to 80 vehicles in the basement.
Diane Brent, head of estates at Herts Community NHS Trust, said that its existing building “falls short of our requirements.
“While no decisions have been taken at this stage, a redevelopment proposal that provides a high quality long-term NHS facility back on site is of serious interest and we look forward to continuing our discussions in that regard with Angle Property.”
Head of estates and facilities at Herts Police, Ian Potter, said that the former St Albans police station was a ‘key asset’ for the force.
Describing the empty Victoria Street station - police relocated to the nearby council offices last year – as a key part of the Civic Centre south site, Ian said that “no decisions have been made at this stage”.
However, “We are considering a number of options to ensure best value and civic legacy. In this regard, we have been in discussions with the council, Angle Property and others.”
John said that the memorial garden fronting the former station would remain.
Architects MSMR have been appointed to draw up proposals for the scheme, with pre-application discussions being held between all parties. An initial public consultation is being held next month at the Marlborough Road Methodist Church Hall, Marlborough Road, on Friday May 13, from 2-6pm and on Saturday May 14, from 10am until 1pm.
Depending on feedback from residents and the council, a revised version is expected to be formally lodged for consideration by the local authority later this year.