I went to inspect the latest plans for the proposed cinema development on display at the town hall today. It’s a great pity that there isn’t a model, although I was assured that one will be ready next month. The plans are an improvement on the single monolithic slab previously proposed, but the whole development is still vast, apparently larger than St Albans Abbey, and I will need a lot of persuading that they are appropriate to such a sensitive city centre site.
We want a cinema. We want city centre housing. We want to restore Bricket Road to some sense of urban life. All those boxes are ticked.
But the whole proposition may just be trying to fit too much into one pint pot. As for the architecture, clearly it has been constrained by the developer’s brief, but there is little sense that it has been thought about in terms of the St Albans and Hertfordshire building context. The architects’ own website shows a proposed development in Norwich with a residential tower uncannily similar to that proposed for St Albans. My instinct is that it will be back to the drawing board.