About LOOK! St Albans

Our Organisation

LOOK! St Albans is a fully constituted body with representatives from a wide cross-section of the community. Our representatives have a love for our City Centre and the district beyond and act to engage with everyone who resides or works within the district.

LOOK! St Albans is not affiliated to any political party or organisation.

Each representative has their own views, but these are no louder than those of the rest of the community. Everyone’s views count!

In addition to our AGM, the Representatives’ Group meets formally and informally to conduct the business matters relating to the running of LOOK! St Albans.  The formal meetings are minuted and posted on our website.

As LOOK! St Albans is community-led not committee-led, in addition to the meetings of the Representatives Group and AGM each year, we are committed to holding open sessions to discuss and debate topics of interest related to planning and how we as a district develop. We like to be as informal as possible and have held meetings in local pubs and Church halls, we are open to consider other venues. All open sessions are advertised on our website. Come and join us!

Our Achievements

What has LOOK! St Albans done?

The original City Centre Steering Group invited the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community to help us to facilitate a community planning and design event as a means of developing design codes and general design guidelines for the city centre.

What is a Design Charrette?

A design charrette is a relatively short focused collaborative planning method which brings the talents, energies and local knowledge of interested parties together, to tackle site specific design aspects of buildings and surrounding open spaces.

Oak Tree Gardens

Named after the oak tree that stands to the rear of the development, LOOK! St Albans played a key role in the development of this prestigious new site.

CCOS South

It was with deep regret that LOOK! St Albans’ officers felt they had no choice but to make such a public clarification of matters surrounding the public Masterplanning charrette held in 2016.

Our Team

A picture of Anthony Oliver

Anthony Oliver

Representatives’ Group Member

A picture of Vanessa Gregory

Vanessa Gregory

Chair of LOOK! St Albans

A picture of Chris Debenham

Chris Debenham

Honorary Treasurer

As a relative newcomer to St Albans, merely 15 years ago, I was impressed by the City, its heritage and the general appealing atmosphere. I was equally concerned by inappropriate ugly buildings which spoil the overall impression and by fears of what might happen to the City Centre if and when major redevelopment takes place on a piecemeal basis”.

A picture of James Gregory

James Gregory

Secretary of LOOK! St Albans

A picture of Tim Leicester

Tim Leicester

Representatives’ Group Member

A picture of Mel Hilbrown

Mel Hillbrown

Vice Chair of LOOK! St Albans

I am proud of the history of St Albans, and care about the way the City is presented to its citizens, visitors and tourists. But I think that the design and appearance of some of the buildings erected in the City Centre, in particular in the mid-20th Century, before the planners were able to exercise some reasonable measure of control is to be regretted”.

A picture of Tim Abbott

Tim Abbott

Representatives’ Group Member

Achieving Our Shared Vision

At our inaugural AGM the community unanimously agreed to use independently externally facilitated design charrettes as the best way of getting people involved, focused and working together to design buildings befitting St Albans.

We aim to work for a broadly-supported consensus in designing buildings and surrounding open spaces at the outline and full planning application stage (pre-application consultation).

We aim to collaborate with significant city and district developers and their planning and design teams through a structured facilitated public design charrette. We are suggested in St Albans City and District Council Statement of Community Involvement as a suitable means of community involvement in major developments.

Luca Povoas won the first place prize in the building design competition.

Luca Povoas won the first place prize in the building design competition.

To do this we will need to obtain part funding from the developer for each series of facilitated charrettes and associated meetings.

We the community will give our time to the process free of charge and will bring to the table the community-endorsed draft design codes.

We will provide to each developer and their planning and design team unprecedented access to local knowledge and widely connected interests. At the end of charrettes and associated meetings we aim to provide hand-drawn illustrations, a list of the codes applied, and the relevant supporting text – available to all, and summarised in a short presentation.

We will produce to each developer, the Local Planning Authority, the Highways Authority and widely accessible local news channels a letter of recommendation for the jointly-created designs, supported by LOOK! St Albans.

LOOK! St Albans is Supported By

A picture of LOOK! St Albans Supporters Logos