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Help shape the future of your St Albans City Centre



St Albans Cathedral

The last time St Albans had a City Centre Vision was a draft back in 2009. Much has happened since then: high streets retailers have suffered from the growth of internet shopping and alterations in consumer spending; climate change and environmental pollution have created environmental concerns requiring green and sustainable solutions. To create a City Centre of the future St Albans residents can enjoy, your input is needed today.

In June this year, St Albans Business Improvement District (BID) worked in partnership with St Albans District Council on a webinar conference, which was organised and chaired by Tim Boatswain, the then Chair of the Civic Society. The conference looked at the way city centres are changing and how St Albans urgently needs a new vision to respond to a different environment.

Tim, now Chair of the BID’s City Centre Vision Steering Group says:

“City centres are not only crucial to the economic success of places, providing accommodation for 8% of businesses and 14 per cent of jobs, there are residents who also live there, and city centres are also social and cultural hubs for the whole community. It is crucially important that we reshape and invest in our city centre to ensure St Albans has a vibrant and attractive future.”

Shaping the future of St Albans City Centre

So who decides what St Albans should like in the future, ensuring all its citizens who live and work in the city centre have their say, you ask? Tim says that the BID has proposed that we create a City Centre Vision that has a statutory status, under the Localism Act 2011, where there is no town or parish council there is a requirement to form a Neighbourhood Forum, which can then draft a Neighbourhood Plan.”

Mandy McNeil, Vice-Chair of the BID says, “It’s been amazing to see how many residents, from cyclists to runners, to families, both young and old, are drawn to the city centre during COVID19. It’s clear they are passionate about their city centre, want to support local businesses and many want to see things like a Cathedral Quarter, creative/vibrant and flexible workspaces, activities for young adults and affordable incubator retail, become a reality.”

Sarah Gillow, Co Vice-Chair and a local business owner of almost 30 years says “We need a city centre vision which includes planning protections that consider our precious environment, while showcasing the vibrancy and heritage of St Albans, to encourage people to live, work and visit our city.” “Tim (supported by Vanessa Sharp) is doing an incredible job in chairing this city centre vision initiative. A Neighbourhood Forum will empower city centre residents and businesses, including our small independent businesses with a voice in planning what their neighbourhood will look in the future”.

While Council cannot be involved in a Neighbourhood Forum or Plan, this initiative is something that Cllr Robert Donald, the Portfolio Holder for Commercial Development and Wellbeing sees as a positive step. Robert says “I strongly support the concept of a vision overview for the city centre and to understand what the community would like to see there for the next 50 years plus. A Neighbourhood Plan will help to inform the development strategy for the city, helping to enable the Council to place shape to futureproof our local economy, including commercial use and retailing.”

St Albans City Centre is home to many popular independents

Under the guidance of BID, Tim and BID business liaison manager, Vanessa Sharp, have organised a second open webinar for 8th December at 6 pm to examine how to take St Albans City Centre Vision forward.

One of the participants in June webinar, James Hampton (who had previously taken part in the BBC Panorama TV programme How to Save the High Street) of New Makers Bureau (a London-based Architectural Practice, known for environmentally and socially conscious buildings) has been funded by the BID to produce scoping exercise for the City Centre Vision. He will be the first speaker at the webinar when he will present St Albans City Centre Vision Initial Ideas.

Shaping the future of St Albans City Centre

The second speaker at the webinar will be David Carlisle, an Associate Director of AECOM (an international planning and infrastructure company with an office in St Albans), which is contracted to deliver planning services through the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to Locality (a nationwide network of community organisations); David will talk about Processes for Establishing a Neighbourhood Forum leading to a Neighbourhood Plan.

The last speaker is Dr Ros Rivas, besides having a distinguished career in industry, has recently been appointed by the Government as Chair of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, was educated in St Albans and led on the Eton and Eton Wick Neighbourhood Plan. She will describe her experiences of drafting a Neighbourhood Plan. These talks will be followed by a question and answer question session.

Join the discussion on St Albans City Centre

If you would like to join this webinar on 8th December, 6 pm, please click on the link:

Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 499 675 4679 | Passcode: 682170

For more information on how you can get involved in this exciting initiative please contact Tim at  or Vanessa Sharp at



Petrolheadonism Live pulls in to Knebworth House



Petrolheadonism Live

Petrolheadonism Live is the brand new, ultimate celebration of all things automotive. The huge two-day family event, set in the beautiful grounds of Knebworth House in Stevenage on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th September 2021, will welcome up to 10,000 people per day and bring over 1,000 cars together, including Supercars, Classics, Americana, Highly Modified and much more. Guests will be awestruck at the Hypercar Enclosure with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a stunning selection of exclusive, cutting-edge cars worth over £50 million.

What’s happening at Petrolheadonism Live?

With special guests including Guest of Honour, Richard Rawlings (owner of Gas Monkey Garage and star of Discovery’s Fast ‘n’ Loud TV show) flying in from the USA for his first ever UK automotive event, the Lewis Hamilton Petronas Formula One Simulator, the Superbike enclosure, free entry to Knebworth’s adventure playground, and a host of other entertainment, this is an unmissable weekend for petrol heads and their families.

Petrolheadonism Live has well over 50 car clubs already confirmed to attend. Enthusiasts will be able to engage with car owners to learn more about the incredible array of classics and modern classics on show. Then the Hypercar Enclosure awaits, featuring cars such as the Koenegsigg Regera worth £3.5m, the Mercedes 300SL Gullwing worth £4m, and the Ferrari F50 worth £1.65m to name but a few. Totalling over a staggering £50m of unforgettable, breath-taking cars, the Hypercar Enclosure presented by Zach’s Garage is a true highlight of the Petrolheadonism Live weekend.

Petrolheadonism Live

The Main Arena will provide entertainment throughout the event and hosts the ‘Petrolheadonism Elite 2021’ competition. Richard Rawlings will be on stage each day and will also judge the competition as seven incredible cars from seven different classes parade across the catwalk each day giving guests the chance to check out these elite cars up close.

Petrolheadonism Live: Guest of Honour Richard Rawlings

Richard Rawlings will be speaking on the Live Stage and making special guest appearances throughout the day, together with his much-loved sidekick, Big Chris. In 2002 Richard Rawlings opened Gas Monkey Garage creating automobiles for customers worldwide. The enterprise became the subject of Discovery Channel’s ‘Fast ‘n’ Loud’ series from 2012 – 2020 turning Rawlings into one of the global automotive scene’s biggest and most influential characters.

He now co-hosts Garage Rehab on Discovery and the Gas Monkey Garage brand extends across a variety of products and genres, even an energy drink. There’s no bigger name out there for petrolheads and his first ever UK car show is a special moment, not to be missed.

For those who have ever watched Lewis Hamilton race and declared ‘I could do that’, the Lewis Hamilton Petronas Formula One Simulator will be at the event. Guests can experience the same training regime as Lewis Hamilton himself and taste the thrilling speeds of Formula One.

The wonderful charity Sporting Bears will also be at Petrolheadonism Live, providing Dream Rides in some amazing cars to raise money for wishes that will be granted by Rays of Sunshine Children’s Charity – every penny of every dream ride will add to the £2.5million the Sporting Bears have already raised to date.

There are few better locations than Knebworth House for Petrolheadonism Live. The event will take place right next to the Grade II listed, Tudor Gothic style country house, spreading out to its 250 acre deer park. Knebworth House has hosted huge concerts from the likes of The Rolling Stones, Oasis, and Elton John, and now prepares to welcome the UK’s most fanatical petrol heads and some of the world’s most spectacular and desirable cars.

For those guests bringing kids, the ticket includes on-site parking but also free entrance to the Knebworth adventure playground where kids can enjoy a zip wire, dinosaur trail with 70 life-sized dinosaurs, a maze, water features and much more. When it’s time to recharge the batteries there are plenty of street food and drinks traders on site (and a licensed bar for mum and dad).

Petrolheadonism Live tickets

Tickets for the two-day event cost just £39.50 + b/f (kids £15 + b/f) or £25 + b/f for one day (kids £11.50 + b/f). Available from Event Brite:

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MK set to witness War of the Wings in aid of Willen Hospice



War of the Wings in aid of Willen Hospice 17 September 2021

Twelve brave challengers from twelve MK businesses will be stepping up to the plate this coming Friday to take part in War of the Wings, an epic chicken wing eating contest to raise money for local charity Willen Hospice.

War of the Wings

The dozen plucky contenders will be going all-out to see who can devour as many chicken wings as they can in heated rounds, at the epic battle which takes place at MK Buffet Village from 11am to 2pm on Friday 17th September.

Among the local businesses vying to prove they’ve got the stomach for the challenge are MK’s WAC Agency, Fierce Gym, Astrum Construction, FuseMetrix, Taylor Walsh, Aqua Parcs and Peel Juice Bar. Each will be fielding contestants keen to show they’ve got what it takes and be crowned Chicken King or Queen.

War of the Wings in aid of Willen Hospice 17 September 2021

Organiser Steven Dryden-Hall from WAC Agency says “We’ve thrown down the gauntlet and challenged the brave and hopefully hungry contenders to take part in a challenge that will stretch their stamina as well as their stomachs.  Each will be aiming to chomp down on as many chicken or vegan wings as they can in the allotted time, in a bid to be crowned victor.

“Although it’s a bit of fun, there is a serious aim to the challenge; we have set ourselves the goal of raising over £1,000 for Willen Hospice, to support the fantastic work they do.  Every business is committed to raising as much as they can to help MK’s only adult care hospice continue providing its specialist care.

“With a little over three days to go before the challenge, there’s still time to enter War of the Wings,” adds Steven. “So if you think you’ve got what it takes and want to help a great local cause, don’t be a chicken – sign up today at

War of the Wings takes place from 11am to 2pm on Friday 17th September at MK Buffet Village

About MK Buffet Village

MK Buffet Village offers a range of over 100 dishes that caters for everyone’s tastes, perfectly suited for families, friends and couples as well as businesses looking for a venue for corporate functions. The restaurant also features a fully equipped bar with lounge facilities for up to 30 guests. Guests can enjoy wide variety of wines, beers, spirits, amazing cocktails and shooters.

Located in the heart of Theatre District, Central Milton Keynes next to the Milton Keynes Theatre and within walking distance of Xscape and MK shopping centre.

About Willen Hospice

Run by local people for local people, Willen Hospice is the only adult care Hospice in Milton Keynes. Countless people in the community are passionate about the charity, and it’s this thriving community that helps drive fundraising and donations, freeing us up to focus on easing the pain of those near the end of their lives.

As one of the most loved charities in the local area, Willen Hospice have cared for patients for over 40 years. Compassionate personal end of life care at our Hospice and in people’s homes, helping patients live well every day, and die with dignity. This exceptional care is given free of charge.

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STRYKK™ It Lucky and Win a Year’s Supply of STRYKK™ Not Vanilla V*dka



STRYKK™ It Lucky and Win a Year's Supply of STRYKK™ Not Vanilla V*dka

TrendLife have teamed up with STRYKK™, The distilled non-alcoholic spirits brand to offer you a chance to win one years supply of STRYKK™ ahead of our next lunchNbloggers event which will feature a STRYKKTM cocktail making masterclass.

Our upcoming lunchNbloggers event will be taking place in the picturesque village of Woburn: Home to Woburn Safari Park, Woburn Abbey and Woburn Open Gardens.

STRYKKTM was the first non-alcoholic brand to replicate the flavour and attitude of the mainstream spirits, and is now once again leading from the front by introducing a non-alcoholic vanilla vodka alternative.

The new flavour infused with Madagascan vanilla beans, is the perfect component needed to STRYKK’ the UKs #1 cocktail – a Passionfruit Martini! The carefully crafted STRYKKTM distillation process is 100% natural with no sugar, no fat, no carbs and no artificial flavouring. As with all other STRYKKTM spirits, NOT VANILLA V*DKA is both vegan and gluten free.

STRYKK™ It Lucky and Win a Year’s Supply of STRYKK™ Not Vanilla V*dka

STRYKK™ It Lucky Competition

For a chance to win a year’s supply of STRYKK™ Non-Alcoholic Spirits, simply tell us in less than 100 words which celebrity you would like to share a  STRYKK™ cocktail with. The lucky winner will receive a case of twelve bottles from STRYKK™ – This equates to one bottle a month and will keep the cocktails flowing with friends and family. The Competition runs until 30th September 23:59, Winners will be announced on Friday 1st October via email.


Distilled and bottled in the UK, STRYKK™ is a London based non-alcoholic spirits brand featuring an impressive range of the highest quality alternative-alcohol options. STRYKK™ was the first brand to mimic the mainstream spirits and was meticulously developed for over two years in collaboration with top bartenders.

The expert STRYKK™ team carefully reconstructed flavours of spiced rum, London dry gin and traditional vodka and created NOT G*N, NOT R*M and NOT VODKA, providing the best non-alcohol alternative without missing out on any of the flavour or notes and aroma’s – STRYKK™ truly has all of the sprit but none of the alcohol. Learn more about STRYKK™ on or by visiting the STRYKK™ Facebook page.

About lunchNbloggers

Each of our lunchNbloggers events is totally unique. Of the many restaurants and locations we visit, each has offered a unique setting and experience. The structure consists of an introduction, sampling, a tour of the venue and a masterclass. You can watch one of our wine tasting masterclass to get a taste of our events.

Our interactive masterclasses are themed for the destinations we visit. Other factors like our guest speaker are taken into consideration. This means each event is unique in every way. If you are interested in attending a lunchNbloggers event, visit it

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