Major progress made on plans to rejuvenate key City Centre site

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News release: 08 May 2018

Two land purchases have been completed to progress plans for the regeneration of a seven-acre site in the heart of St Albans.

Civic Offices
St Albans City and District Council has been working to transform a run-down area surrounding the Alban Arena entertainment venue.

Now the Council has finalised the two major land acquisitions – for a combined £7.6 million – that are needed to achieve its ambitious goal.

It has completed the purchase of the Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust’s (HCT) Principal Health Centre, in Civic Close, after more than two years of complex negotiations.

The Council has also bought a nearby car park from Angle Property Limited, a company that has been looking to develop part of the site.

The two purchases follow the acquisition last year by the Council of the City’s former Police Station from Hertfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner.

It means the Council now owns most of the land and buildings in the area known as the Civic Centre Opportunity Site (CCOS).                                                                                                                                                                          
This development zone is within an area roughly bounded by Charter Close, Bricket Road, Victoria Street and St Peter’s Street.

It contains a number of other public buildings owned by the Council, including the Civic Centre and the Civic Centre car parks.

Angle will continue with their plan to convert Hertfordshire House, a former office block, into flats.

The Council has bought the adjoining car park and will now consider Angle’s plans for the development for the southern section of CCOS. This includes the former police station and the NHS centre.

Angle applied for planning permission to develop this area with a mixture of new housing, business and retail facilities. This was granted last week following the completion of an S106 agreement.

The current approved plans provide for S106 payments of £434,000 and 30 affordable homes. These are financial contributions to community infrastructure in recognition of the impact a new development may have.

The money is for a wide range of commitments towards social housing, schools, health services, play areas and parks.

The Council will study the approved plans to see if any further enhancements can be made.

At the same time, it will be working on detailed plans for other parts of CCOS, including the Council’s offices and the Civic Centre car park by Bricket Road.

In doing so, it is drawing on the results of a design charrette, a series of engagement events hosted by the community group Look! St Albans.

Councillor Alec Campbell, the Council’s Leader, said: “The redevelopment of the Civic Centre Opportunity Site is one of the biggest and most challenging projects this Council has undertaken.

“We are extremely pleased to have completed these two purchases as they are essential to our ambition of transforming this whole area in a coordinated way.

“I am delighted with the help we received from both the Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust and Angle Property to make this deal happen.

“Our mission to redevelop the area began some years ago. Following this major breakthrough, we can now focus on our detailed plans for its rejuvenation.

“This site is in the very heart of St Albans and its enhancement can only benefit the whole community.”

Tony Williamson, Executive Director of Angle Property, said: “Angle is delighted to have achieved the masterplan planning consent for CCOS which was so well supported locally.  

“It has been a very complicated process but working with the Council, the police and the NHS, the jigsaw has come together to enable a comprehensive regeneration project to proceed.  We wish the Council well as they embark on this complex project.”

Clare Hawkins, Acting Chief Executive of HCT, said: “The Principal Health Centre building is not fit for purpose and this is a fantastic opportunity to relocate our services into a newly refurbished suite in the Council’s own Civic Centre building.”

HCT runs a number services for children and adults at the centre. These services will be transferred to the Civic Centre later this year along with the Leg Ulcer Clinic and Podiatry Service, currently located at St Albans City Hospital.

HCT will share the Civic Centre with the Council, the Police and a number of community groups.

Councillor Contacts:
Cllr Alec Campbell, Leader of St Albans City and District Council. Tel: 07793 550200; email: cllr.a.campbell@stalbans.gov.uk 

Media Contacts:
John McJannet, Principal Communications Officer, St Albans City and District Council, 01727-296130, john.mcjannet@stalbans.gov.uk.

Mark Graver, Head of Communications and Engagement, Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust, 01707 388105, mark.graver@hct.nhs.uk