Local Matters with Mione Goldspink
Three important Planning Consultations ended in December, and it was a shame that they ran concurrently. Studying just one of the massive documents demanded a great deal of time and energy. So, having three to study at once was a daunting task. They were on the Town Centre Redevelopment Plans, the emerging District Local Plan, and the Neighbourhood Plan for All Saints, Central and South Wards, and part of Thorley.
The Liberal Democrats tackled the Town Centre Plans and welcomed some of the proposals. The most important proposal was the plan to create a new Pedestrian Footbridge beside the existing Station Road bridge, as it crosses the river. Liberal Democrats have been campaigning for this for many years. A new footbridge, on the northern side of the existing bridge, would allow the removal of the present north-side pavement, and widening of the south-side pavement. These changes would make walking over the bridge much safer and pleasanter for everyone.
Another important proposal was the creation of a New Through-Road, through the Railway Goods Yard site, linking the London Road (near Tanners Wharf) with Dane Street. This would take some of the traffic away from Hockerill cross roads. The Liberal Democrats strongly support this idea.
Other proposals which found favour were: Building a new short stay Shoppers Car Park on the Goods Yard site; creating a new Entrance to the Causeway car park from the Link Road and; building a new Multi-storey Car Park near Northgate End .
The Civic Federation rose to the formidable challenge of looking at the District Plan, and their excellent comments can be viewed on their web site. I agree wholeheartedly that Bishop's Stortford is being required to take more than its fair-share of new building. I also agree that no building should take place on the Green Belt, south of Whittington Way until all the necessary infrastructure is in place and measures taken to make such development sustainable.
The Town Council's Neighbourhood Plan is a commendable "wish list", with an attractive vision for the Town, but I wonder if it will make any difference. There are no means of enforcement.
Bishop's Stortford is clearly facing a Year of developments and changes. I do hope that they will all be for the better and for the good of us all.
Mione Goldspink. (Chairman Bishop's Stortford Liberal Democrats).
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