Harpenden’s New Sports/Leisure Centre & NewTheatre/Arts complex

 

Sept 2017. Updated plans have been produced following the community and stakeholder consultations

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AND NOW THE NEW THEATRE COMPLEX - ARTS & CULTURAL CENTRE  due for completion DEC 2020

BACKGROUND AND COMMUNITY CONSULTATION

A LETTER FROM  Gavin Ross. Chairman, Harpenden & District Local History Society

Dear Sir
 
A Museum for Harpenden?
 
For many decades, since Harpenden became the modern community it is today, local people have been collecting items of local and regional historic interest and importance for ‘a Museum for Harpenden’. Much of this material was originally gathered by Harpenden Urban District Council and then more latterly, since its formation in 1973, by the Harpenden & District Local History Society and has formed the basis of the Society’s current collection.  For many years the Society ran a small museum at the rear of Harpenden Hall but since 2003 the collection has been stored in a combination of the small History Room in Park Hall, at members’ houses, and at Hertfordshire Archives.  The Society’s mission is to secure a permanent home for the collection so that it can be shared by the community.
 
An opportunity has opened up that we sincerely hope will make this dream a reality. Your District Council is planning a major expansion of sports, leisure and cultural facilities in Rothamsted Park on the sites of the existing Sports Hall and Swimming Pool.  These outline plans for the Cultural Hub include a ‘cultural space’ which latest plans indicate include a museum display facility.  The Concept Designs were exhibited at Park Hall on 15 and 16 February 2017 (Herts Ad, 16 February, p.10).  The Society is heavily involved in discussions with SADC officers to try to ensure that part of the space is dedicated to a modern museum facility.
 
This is the opportunity for people in and around Harpenden to fill in the questionnaire at http://www.stalbans.gov.uk/leisure-and-culture/facility_developments/shapingdesigns/default.aspx and say how you would like to see the ‘cultural space’ developed. The deadline is 3rd March.  We in the Local History Society want to make Harpenden’s Archives publicly accessible to all, with changing displays around the Centre.   Community support to this objective is just so important so please do lend your support to the Society’s efforts.
 
Gavin Ross
Chairman, Harpenden & District Local History Society
21 Connaught Road, Harpenden AL5 4TW
01582-715399
 http://www.stalbans.gov.uk/leisure-and-culture/facility_developments/shapingdesigns/default.aspxhttp://www.stalbans.gov.uk/leisure-and-culture/facility_developments/shapingdesigns/default.aspxshapeimage_1_link_0shapeimage_1_link_1

Sept. NEW designs for the new leisure and cultural facilities being developed in Harpenden have been improved following a public consultation.

 

St Albans City and District Council has revised the designs for the scheme in preparation for the submission of a planning application in September.

 

The Council is planning to transform Harpenden Swimming Pool into a leisure centre suitable for various sports and turn the sports centre into a modern cultural centre. The facilities will serve people in Harpenden, Redbourn, Wheathampstead and the surrounding area.

 

The new designs went on display at Park Hall, Harpenden on Tuesday 15 August, from 4pm to 8pm. The architects and members of the Council’s project team will be available to discuss the plans.

 

The designs were transferred to Harpenden Public Halls where they were on public display from Wednesday 16 August to end August.

 

If you are unable to visit the public exhibition, you can access the designs on the Council’s website at www.stalbans.gov.uk/harpendenleisure from 15 August.

 

The Council has already consulted stakeholders on the concept designs through briefing sessions and a charrette-style design workshop, and invited the public to complete a scheme questionnaire.

 

The plans now incorporate the following ideas put forward by the public:

a larger learner pool than originally proposed (it is three times the size of the current learner pool)

a balcony in the main hall of the cultural centre to provide additional seating (bringing the total number of seats to more than 500)

a longer main bar area in the cultural centre to better cater for demand for refreshments during larger events

a ramp and bridge entrance to allow for easy access to the new cultural facilities

a new multi-purpose room in the cultural centre that can be used as a small cinema

 

Cllr Annie Brewster, Sports and Culture Portfolio Holder for at St Albans City and District Council, said:  “I want to thank the community for contributing these great ideas to help improve the designs for the proposed leisure and cultural facilities. The proposed modern leisure and cultural facilities will offer the people of Harpenden and the surrounding area fantastic amenities to enjoy for years to come.”

 

The scheme’s net budget has also been increased from £18m to £18.8m following a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday 25.

Cllr Julian Daly, Portfolio Holder for Commercial and Development at St Albans City and District Council, said:  “The public’s ideas will help generate additional revenue, so Cabinet has agreed an invest to save case to increase the scheme’s budget to fund the improved features.”

More information about the planned redevelopment of leisure, arts and cultural facilities for Harpenden is available at www.stalbans.gov.uk/harpendenleisure.

Feb 28. St Albans City and District Council has submitted a planning application for a new £18.8m leisure and cultural development to serve Harpenden and the surrounding area.

 

The Council wants to transform Harpenden Swimming Pool into a leisure centre for various ports, and the Sports Centre into a modern arts and cultural centre.

 

The plans for the new Harpenden Leisure Centre

involve extending the swimming pool building. This will provide space for a larger learner pool, with a moveable floor and located alongside a refurbished main pool. There

will also be a new sports hall, wet and dry changing facilities and a significantly larger gym with more than 160 stations. Provision is also being made for three dance studios, a crèche, as well as a sauna and a steam room with a relaxation area for users

of these two facilities. In addition, visitors will have access to a café and a poolside

viewing gallery with seating for spectators.

 

The plans for the new arts and culture facility

provide for a larger theatre than currently exists at Harpenden Public Halls, with 511 seats. There will be a multi-purpose room, a cultural and heritage exhibition space, as well as bars on two floors and a café overlooking Rothamsted Park.

A first-floor ramp and bridge will form an entrance to the new arts and leisure centre

from the park.

 

The plans also provide for a significant increase in car and cycling parking facilities.

 

The plans have been influenced by a consultation with stakeholders, including local

residents, sports clubs, arts and cultural societies, gym users and councillors. This included briefing sessions, a charette-style design workshop, hosted by independent

facilitators, and a pre-planning application exhibition. The public was also given the opportunity to put forward their views on the proposed development via an online

questionnaire.

 

Ideas suggested by stakeholders that have been incorporated into the plans

include:

+ a larger learner pool which is three times the size of the current one;

+ a balcony in the arts and culturalcentre that will bring proposed seating levels up to 511;

+ a ramp entrance to the arts and cultural centre;       

+ a number of multi-purpose rooms to accommodate rehearsals, meetings and events;

+ a relaxation area for users of the new sauna and the steam room.

 

The cost of development is expected to be met from increased revenue made possible by

having a modern facility with more gym, theatre and swimming pool space.

 

Cllr Annie Brewster, Portfolio Holder for Sports, Leisure and Heritage at St Albans City

and District Council, said: “These proposed new leisure, arts and cultural facilities

will serve Harpenden, Redbourn, Wheathampstead and the surrounding area for generations to come. So, great care has been taken in developing the current plans for these amazingmodern facilities. An extensive pre-application consultation

has produced fantastic ideas that have helped influence and improve on the initial

plans. Now the public will have another opportunity to comment on the proposed development through the planning process.”

 

Cllr Julian Daly, Portfolio Holder for Commercial and Development at St Albans City and District Council, said: “The redevelopment of leisure, arts and cultural facilities in Harpenden is part of an ongoing strategy to upgrade facilities across the District. In

the last five years, the Council has opened Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre, re-built Batchwood Sports Centre following a fire, and built the new Cotlandswick Sports

Centre. It is also looking at upgrading the Alban Arena and

improving athletics facilities located in St Albans.”


If the development is given planning approval, steps will betaken to minimise disruption to local residents and the use of the Amenbury Lane car park. The Council’s website will carry updates on the project, including on when works may be noisy or will take place at the car park. Contractors will be provided with their own parking area so the Amenbury Lane car park can operate with as little disruption as possible.