Local Matters with Mione Goldspink December, 2021.
It is good news that Wrenbridge's new proposal for the site off Whittington way is for a Business and Employment Park. This would have the potential to create between 250-450 new jobs, with scope for science, research and technology to all be developed. It could bring great benefit to Bishop's Stortford, and I welcome it most warmly.
Other good news is from Solum, the developers who are building on the old Railway Goods Yard. There has been widespread worry that Solum was preparing to obliterate the gently sloping pavement which links Station Road east and the Station forecourt. This little stretch of pavement provides the only disabled access for anyone coming from the London Road side of the Station. However, after Solum was notified of the concerns of the community, and a petition was raised with 2,000 signatures, Solum has now stated publicly that it is working hard with Highways and East Herts Planning Officers to ensure that a proper, step-free access will definitely be provided.
Less good news concerns the debate over raw sewage being discharged into our local rivers. The Environment Bill is making its way through Parliament at the moment, and the Lords proposed an amendment which would have legally required the Water Companies to reduce this practice. Our MP was one of many MPs who voted against this amendment. This seems extraordinary, given her previous, and loudly proclaimed, desire to protect all our local rivers and precious chalk streams.
The new Sports and Leisure Centre at Grange Paddocks has just opened and the facilities seem really excellent - fantastic swimming pools and well equipped exercise rooms etc. But , there does seem to be an issue about insufficient parking spaces, and a real problem with the disabled parking spaces being too far away from the entrance. I do hope that these are merely teething troubles and that they can be resolved very quickly -especially the disabled parking. There does need to be enough parking for all the footballers who play on the pitches outside, as well as for the increased number of people who are now coming to use the swimming pools and gyms inside.
The next stage of the changes at Grange Paddocks involves the demolition of the old leisure centre, and then the rearrangement of some of the Football pitches. There is a Planning Application for one of the pitches to have an All-Weather, artificial 3G surface. I do have concerns about this, as the rubber granules(microplastics) which might be used as infill in the plastic grass would be gradually kicked off the pitch and then washed away in the river, causing pollution and damage to all forms of wildlife. Also, all these pitches are in the flood plain, which has evolved as a meadow to hold the water when we have heavy rain, thus preventing the flooding downstream. We meddle with this protection at our peril. Finally, COP 26 has made us all even more aware of the Climate Emergency and we should be reducing and not increasing our use of all forms of Plastic. I am not in favour of installing this plastic pitch.
On a more cheerful note, as we approach Christmas, I would like to praise our local newspaper for the excellent work which it does in publicising so many charities and good causes. I do hope that our community will come together and support as many as it possibly can. I wish everyone a Happy Christmas.
East Herts District Councillor
Lib-Dem Group Leader, EHDC.
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