Winners of St Albans Civic Society Awards are revealed

St Stephen's House

St Stephen's House - Credit: Archant

A former district council sheltered housing scheme which was redeveloped by a housing association has jointly won the top St Albans Civic Society Award for 2015.

New house in Redbourn.

New house in Redbourn. - Credit: Archant

Parkside View Flexicare Housing in Chiltern Road, Marshalswick, was previously Caroline Sharpe House and one of five sheltered housing schemes in the district which were renovated and improved by housing associations.

In its citation for the Civic Society Award, it is described as a ‘bold, outward looking building with its numerous balconies, rooftop restaurant and terrace with splendid views over the surrounding countryside.”

Described as the new face of sheltered housing, it is praised for its non-institutional feel in all aspects of the project and is heralded by the watchdog group as ‘a true delight, clearly a tonic for the residents”.

The work was carried out by North Herts Homes Ltd but the project was not without its hiccups - some residents were decanted from Caroline Sharpe House as early as 2009, long before planning permission was granted and work started which caused some distress.

Parkside View.

Parkside View. - Credit: Archant

Parkside View opened in 2014 with 35 flats accessing on-site personal care services for residents who might need them.

The other top award went to a self-build new house in Hemel Hempstead Road, Redbourn, designed and built by Tim Hall and occupied by himself and his wife.

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Described as an ‘ingenious’ house on a extremely restricted site, it was praised for making use of every corner of the land including the flexibility to incorporate the present independent first floor accommodation into the main house as conditions demanded.

The citation decribes it as, “an object lesson in domestic design on a tight budget”.

Civic Society awards, commendations and winning properties

Civic Society awards, commendations and winning properties - Credit: Archant

The Civic Society’s Trevelyan Prize awarded annually to a project that has achieved the finest quality in terms of conservation/restoration, went to the tuck pointing on the restored St Stephen’s House in Watling Street, St Albans,

Opposite St Stephen’s Church and recently restored by its new owners, Mr and Mrs Matthew Wallis, it was singled out for the painstaking reinstatement of the tuck pointing to the front facade of the house, a key historic feature.

The citation describes tuck pointing an a ‘specialist, very time-consuming exercise to create the appearance of distinctive, very thin, joints between the brick” and describes it as a craft rarely used now.

Commended in that category was Ceremonia, the male outfitters and wedding dress shop which has replaced the former antiques emportium in George Street, St Albans.

The four commendations for the main award went to St Albans council’s Cotlandswick Leisure Centre in London Colney, the renovation of a house in Homewood Road, Marshalswick, the renovation to Alban House in St Peter’s Street and a new house in Spencer Street, instigated by former district councillor Jack Pia.

Certificates and plaques were presented by the Mayor, Cllr Frances Leonard. who commented: “I was most impressed with the quality of all the shortlisted projects that have been under consideration. Each of them is of the highest quality and is worthy of praise.

“This evening has been interesting and most enjoyable. On behalf of our city and district, I also want to recognise the Civic Society for the significant contribution they make to the life of our district, not least with their annual awards which encourage and recognise excellence.”