St Albans Civic Society reinforce support for BHS redevelopment after officers recommend refusal

16th July 2018

St Albans Civic Society have reiterated their support for the building of a hotel on the British Home Stores site after district council officers recommended refusing planning permission.

The society’s chair, Tim Boatswain, has written a letter to Andrew Wright of the council’s planning department ahead of a planning committee meeting on Monday, July 16, which will decide whether the redevelopment can go ahead.

Prof Boatswain wrote: “The community needs to be attracted by diverse social and economic activities located in appropriate spaces, surrounded by good quality architecture.

“With the opening of the Town Hall Museum+Gallery, alongside the city’s avowed tourist policy, there is an anticipated increase in visitors, which makes the construction of an hotel on the BHS site wholly appropriate

“In the society’s view it is entirely unrealistic and short-sighted to believe that any retailer could successfully occupy the whole site.

“Furthermore, a refusal of the application could put a blight on that part of St Peters Street for years to come. It should be noted that the Consumers’ Association in their July 2018 edition of Which magazine state that, ‘BHS closed all of its 163 stores in 2016. Some 60 per cent of these plots still remain vacant today’.”