Work has begun on run down area of St Albans

WORK has begun on a dilapidated area of St Albans formerly earmarked for a Tesco superstore.

The initial stages of the London Road Project kicked off on Monday as renovations began on properties along London Road.

Responding to feedback from public consultation earlier this year, developers Spen Hill has tweaked its plans for the main Evershed’s Printworks site and Inkerman Road.

Gone are the proposed row of new buildings for Inkerman Road and instead the refurbishment of the existing homes, between 25 and 29, is underway. Three additional homes will be built in keeping with the look of the terrace and will extend the row.

Revised plans were revealed exclusively to the Herts Advertiser on site and show that developers have reduced the number of homes they are planning for the scheme on the site. Over 100 homes were anticipated in the original plans but that has been reduced to around 80.

Four rows of properties, many of them town houses, are planned for the main site all around a central square. Parking provision, which will be beneath the central square, has been increased after concerns in feedback that the original allocation would not be adequate for the number of people.

Spen Hill has also redesigned a new building proposed for the bottom of Inkerman Road, reducing it in size and appearance to ensure it blends with the existing street.

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Leader of the district council, Cllr Julian Daly, and planning portfolio holder, Cllr Teresa Heritage, were shown around the site on Monday and given the chance to discuss the plans with the developers.

Cllr Heritage said: “The work on London Road is going to be a major improvement to the gateway of St Albans. Work on the houses on Alma Road already shows what such improvements can do for an area. Those houses were once prestigious and now they are once more.”

Cllr Daly welcomed the work and the chance to visit the site. He said: “We’re going to see these buildings come back into use very quickly; they are planning for this stage to be completed in nine months.

“The application for the new houses and the renovation of the existing on Inkerman Road is a great use of existing space. We’re pleased to have been invited down and get a better idea of how things stand.”

Houses, flats and shops between 71 and 93 London Road will be completely overhauled and numbers 83-85, it is hoped, will become a restaurant.

Throughout the process, Spen Hill hope to minimise disturbance to local residents from construction traffic and will use the main Evershed House entrance off Alma Road.

They say that “discreet” No Construction Traffic signs to the entrances of Bedford Road and Alexandra Road will hopefully ensure contractors and delivery companies abide by their requests that residents are not disturbed.

Mark Witham, of Spen Hill Developments, said: “We are delighted that we have been able to begin work on London Road and Inkerman Road, which will greatly enhance the local area. With regards to the old Evershed’s site, we expect to submit planning for a proposed high quality residential development to be called Evershed’s Square in the coming weeks.

“We firmly believe that both these schemes will do much to improve the local area and will offer a standard of design and accommodation that reflects the heritage and style of St Albans.”

Overall, the developers said the London Road Project had been well received by residents with feedback especially positive about the redevelopment of the main site and the proposal for the new central square.

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