St Albans is inviting local residents and businesses to get involved in an official process which will lead to the creation of a legally recognised St Albans Vision for the future.
Coordinated by the St Albans BID, a joint venture is being formed between the BID, the Civic Society, residents and businesses of the city, which will become a Neighbourhood Forum. The Neighbourhood Forum can then create a Neighbourhood Plan which will ultimately be the ‘Vision’ for the city centre, and which will have the necessary statutory power which means it can be enforced by the local planning authority.
Anyone who lives or works in the city centre can be a part of this Neighbourhood Forum and can therefore have direct input into the Vision for the future, and the BID is encouraging all to get involved, in order to create the strongest, most implementable Vision for St Albans.
Tim Boatswain, President of the St Albans Civic Society, explains why it’s so important to develop a Vision to work towards: “With all the changes that have happened to the high street because of new shopping habits, the Coronavirus pandemic and the Government’s easing of planning controls, it is crucial we have a vision of what our city centre should look like in the future otherwise, the danger is there will be arbitrary and poor quality development that will blight St Albans for the next generation. I am delighted to be chairing a BID steering group to establish a Neighbourhood Forum which will, through wide consultation, seek to create a plan for the city centre that reflects the values and wishes of the people of St Albans.”
Cllr Mandy McNeil, Portfolio Holder for Business and a BID board Director, says: “Pre COVID, the Civic Society, which champions our heritage city, together with businesses, workers and residents, frustrated by no cohesive vision since 2009, were lobbying to for a representative vision for our city, which gave them a voice and had teeth. I was delighted when my colleagues Cllr’s White, Day and Donald tasked me to help move this forward. SADC partnered with the BID and Tim Boatswain to hold the first City Centre vision conference last June.
“Within a matter of months the community stakeholders are now leading the way, which is fantastic. The best people to make a plan for our city are those who live and work here, understand the unique challenges St Albans faces, and the outstanding qualities. It’s an inclusive process, I encourage everyone who is passionate about our city to get involved as this is a powerful tool for our community to place-shape our amazing city.”
Local business owner, Mike Nuttall of Must Wines in George St, says he has a vested interest shaping the Vision: “As a local business owner and employer, in these uncertain times it is even more important for local businesses, societies, residents and local government to work effectively together to not only rise to these challenges but more importantly unlock the many future opportunities. The St Albans Vision is a terrific platform for us all to create something even more special about wonderful St Albans.”
If you are interested in becoming a member of St Albans City Centre Forum, or finding out more, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org