Vanessa in her address to the AGM talked about how much we have to celebrate. Being a finalist in the category ‘Excellence in Plan Making Practice’ in the RTPI (Royal Town Planning Institute) Awards for Planning Excellence 2017 and locally a finalist in the Mayor’s Pride Awards 2017.
Working closely with Civic Voice (Civic Voice is the national charity for the civic movement in England.)
‘Fact check’ our website for the hard facts about our work and indeed what our Chair has actually said. Finally and very importantly Look! has no membership fee, as there must be no barrier in taking part in any of our events, but please consider making a donations, no matter how small, they all add up!
Soon after our last AGM James, Angela and I attended the Planning and Placemaking Awards. Look! St Albans together with St Albans City and District Council and ImaginePlaces had been shortlisted both nationally and regionally for the award for Community led Placemaking for the Museum of St Albans Charrette. We were absolutely delighted we achieved the only Highly Commended Award for Community led Placemaking Southern England.
As we all know now at the end of June we were asked by ‘The Partnership’, which just to remind you consisted of St Albans City and District Council (Community Services), Police & Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust, and Boultbee LND to host a design charrette for the CCOS site. Team Look! had come together rapidly to project plan this in the early days of July because with the impending summer holidays a heck of an amount of work had to be got through in those first three weeks of July as straight after the schools went back in early September the charrette was going to be upon us. I don’t want to spend too much in this report on the event, as Mel will be talking about the vital role he and a small team took on last summer in a moment and we all want to hear our speakers on what has followed from those busy but totally exhilarating days and evening’s last September.
We don’t pick out individuals who took part at a design charrette hosted by us, but we were particularly pleased that Angle as a landowner of part of the site came along and took an active part.
We must not leave out of course our own Donato Cinicolo who directed and filmed ‘St Albans Design Charrette’. If you haven’t already viewed this, a link is on our website please do, it is a wonderful record of the event and gives a wonderful insight into what taking part in a charrette is like.
I have been asked by the director of Civic Voice to run a workshop on ‘Collaborative Planning and Charettes’ at this year’s Annual Convention taking place Wakefield. This is another practical opportunity to spread the word and to share the substantial amount of knowledge Team Look! are gaining.
In the January edition of The Planner (the RTPI own publication) was published where journalist Chris Jenkins excellent four page spread on the CCOS design charrette appeared. It really is highly gratifying that what we collectively undertook last September has been recorded and published in such a distinguished professional journal. Chris was a delightful participant of the charrette and a joy to have around, timing any pertinent questions to just the right moment. Having 'local' knowledge, coupled with being an excellent journalist with a solid background of understanding planning enabled Chris to give an objective, factual and accurate account on what we are trailblazing in St Albans.
In the last year we have all learned new phrases pertaining to the news we either read in print or online and what we hear on television. ‘Fact check’ is the one that really interests me, as we can sometimes recognise ‘spin’ but where do you check to know the hard facts. When it comes to news on Look! St Albans and our work and indeed what I have said and what has been misrepresented please ‘fact check’ our website www.lookstalbans.org
I together with James and Chris attend the Mayor’s Pride Awards ceremony for finalists at St Michael’s Manor at the end of March. It was inspiring to be with others in St Albans who give their time freely, or go the extra mile to serve their community and an honour to be nominated and shortlisted. The winner in our category was Fosse House, Quantum Care. Staff took part in a sponsored walk to raise money for projects for elderly residents at the care home, including a wildlife garden and a sensory room. Our congratulations go to them, as so often we hear not so good news on elderly care, clearly not the case here in St Albans.
Finally I have to return to what Chris said earlier about funding. As you know we have no membership fee, as there must be no barrier in taking part in any of our events. Some might erroneously think we are funded by St Albans District Council. This is not the case as that would I believe compromise our independence. However grants and donations are vital if we are to continue our work. Once again we are very grateful to County Councillor Chris White and this year also to County Councillor Sandy Walkington who between them have very generously granted Look! St Albans £900 from their County Council Locality Budgets. We were thrilled to have secured financial support from St Albans Chamber of Commerce and Kingston Smith to help with our work. These grants and funding send out a clear message to landowners and developers that the community, not just residents, but the business community is giving our work their backing. However I would strongly urge you, in view of what you have heard of how seriously our work is being taken to consider making a donations, no matter how small, they all add up.
I and Team Look! look forward to us all working together in this coming year, who knows what it will bring!”
After the fully public AGM the evening continued with presentations. Angela Koch of ImaginePlaces presented the report on the emerging concepts commissioned by ‘The Partnership’ after the debriefing document. Tony Williamson from Angle Property talked about which aspects of the design concepts, as presented in the debriefing documents for the CCOS design charrette, had been incorporated and which design codes have been applied in their planning application which is currently under consideration by St Albans Planning department.
Finally we had on behalf of ‘The Partnership’ Richard Shwe Head of Commercial and Development talked about their progress for CCOS North since our charrette.
All speakers were invited to send us their presentation to be posted on this website.