Mione Goldspink's article for the Flyer, February 2018
By Mione Goldspink in The Bishop's Stortford Flyer
Local Matters with Mione Goldspink February 2018
Bishop's Stortford is facing some massive changes in 2018. There are 5 very large areas of New Housing either already being built or being designed. There will be 2,200 in Stortford Fields at Bishop's Stortford North. There will be 329 at St Michel's Hurst at the end of Rye Street. The Railway Goods Yard application is for 586. Countryside Properties want 750 on Green Belt land to the south of Whittington Way, and the District Council is suggesting homes over shops on the Old River Lane site. The grand total is approaching 4,000. How are we, the existing residents of Bishop's Stortford, expected to cope with the extra traffic, and the growing demands on schools and GP services?
I find it astonishing that Countryside Properties are only providing 25% of affordable housing at St Michaels' Hurst, when the Local Plan requires 40% - how has this happened? And now Countryside Properties are asking for permission to build an extra 160 houses!
The new Planning Application for the Railway Goods Yard has reduced the number of dwellings from 680 to 586, and it has reduced the height of some of the blocks, but there are still some which are 6 storeys high, which seems too high. The proposed link road is now for two-way through traffic from London Road to Dane Street, which should reduce the congestion at Hockerill.
Countryside Properties have publicised their ideas for building 750 homes on Green Belt land at the south of Whittington Way. This is a premature move, as the Local Plan, which designates the Green Belt status, is still being examined by the Planning Inspector. While the land remains Green Belt, no building will be permitted.
The District Council has unveiled its proposals for the Old River Lane site. It plans shops and restaurants with homes above, a multi-story car park at Northgate End, and a 500 seat Theatre. If you have the opportunity, please inspect the plans and make your views known.
We face a very challenging year with all these possible developments. Rail Commuters also face a more expensive year with very large increases in fares, up by 3.6%. Why can't the Government link the rise to the lower CPI rather than the higher RPI?
Are there sustainable solutions to all these problems and challenges? We must work to find them.
Chairman, Bishop's Stortford Liberal Democrats