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Mione Goldspink's Article for the Bishop's Stortford 'Flyer' - May 2012

May 6, 2012 11:43 AM
By Mione Goldspink in Bishop's Stortford 'Flyer' - May 2012

Several controversial topics have cropped up this month.

The proposed new pedestrian bridge over the railway line at Johnson's Crossing is provoking very strong feelings - some people feel it to be an essential safety measure, whilst others think that it would be a huge monstrosity, and that it is not really necessary. They feel that the lights, gates and sirens which have already been introduced are quite satisfactory. It is interesting to note that many people who are against the bridge appear to be the ones who live nearest to the line and who actually use the crossing as it is. It is interesting also, that Network Rail has not consulted with local people to find out their views, and has not been granted planning permission yet, although work has already started to prepare the site. Personally, I would like to see a bridge to keep people safe, but would like to see a smaller version of the one proposed, which would not be such an eyesore.

The Town Council has been discussing the possibility of turning a little area of grass and trees beside the Link Road car park into another car park. There is undoubtedly a shortage of car parking spaces in the Town, but would it be right to sacrifice a little green oasis in order to provide a few more spaces? I would prefer to keep the oasis, and build a second tier of car parking over the Northgate car park. What do you think?

A third cause of heated debate has been the Planning Application submitted by South Street Surgery to build a big new surgery out of Town at Silver Leys. There were so many members of the public who wished to speak about this application that the Town Council has postponed its official discussion on the matter to 8th May so that a bigger venue can be found. It does seem a shame that the GP's and the PCT have not been able to find a possible new site in the centre of the Town, and seem to be attempting to ride rough shod over the bequest that Silver Leys should be devoted to sporting use.

Finally, the topic of our struggling Market keeps reoccurring. The District Council is persisting with the closure of North Street on Thursdays, and will not allow the new market stalls to move to South Street. Whenever I walk around the Market, the stalls in South Street seem to have many more customers than those in North Street - so why not let them all be in South Street where they might have more trade? I was interested to hear, also, that at least one shopkeeper in North Street is most unhappy with the ban on cars on Thursdays and he says that the pedestrianisation is killing his trade. If the District Council is serious about helping our shops and promoting the Market, then I think it should take a long hard look at all the evidence and change its policy.

But, there is one development which I am sure that everyone will welcome, and that is the proposal to convert the Boar's Head stables to guest rooms. The income from these rooms will help to fund the repair work and maintenance of this important and historic listed building. The Boar's Head Inn in Windhill is a medieval land mark which, like our green spaces, deserves to be protected.

Mione Goldspink, Chairman, Bishop's Stortford & Sawbridgeworth Liberal Democrats