Stortford businesses fear parking problems are brewing
Crumbs! A Bishops Stortford tearoom is expanding again - with purpose-built premises at Wickham Hall.
Former Herts and Essex High School student Leanne Gregory opened Rosey Lea in Market Square in June 2012 and a second branch followed in former farm buildings off Hadham Road in 2014.
Now the business at Wickham Hall is relocating to a new development within the arable farmstead owned by David Harvey.
As a result, Mr Harvey has asked East Herts District Council for planning permission to build a temporary, 52-space car park at 1,200-acre Wickham Hall to prevent disruption for other businesses on the site while the new conversion work is carried out. The traders are also concerned about the impact of building work nearby at Stortford Fields, where the 2,200 Bishop’s Stortford North estate is starting to take shape.
In 2011, Mr Harvey was given the green light to convert barns to commercial and residential use and erect five new homes and according to a statement submitted to East Herts on his behalf by agent Sworders: “Wickham Hall has developed into a thriving business space location on the edge of Bishops Stortford.”
As a result, earlier this year he then applied to ‘swap’ the approved dwellings (one conversion and five new builds) for new commercial premises - including more space for Rosey Lea.
Sworders has told East Herts: “The 2017 consent includes comprehensive proposals to redesign the layout of the car parking on the site and provide new parking. This comprises both the installation of new car parking areas, as well as the reconfiguration of the existing large car park to the east of the large thatched barn to provide additional parking by adopting a more efficient layout.
“The adequacy of parking is a critical issue for the ongoing success of the existing businesses on the site. Given the extent of the works entailed in the 2017 consent, there is significant concern that it will not be possible to accommodate sufficient parking whilst the works take place.”
The whole project is expected to take up to 18 months and the main car park, east of the largest thatched barn on site currently provides 32 places but will be enlarged and reconfigured as part of the work. A further 20 spaces on site are also affected.The new Rosey Lea premises will have enhanced parking too. Mr Harvey wants the temporary car park to operate for a maximum of three years.
Sworders said: “When the café first opened the extent of its popularity and success was not anticipated. It is this success is underpinning the move and expansion into a larger, purpose built, building, only three years after the café first opened.
“The existing businesses have voiced significant concern… about the disruption during the works to implement the 2017 consent. The businesses are already sensitive to the disruption caused by the construction of Bishops Stortford North, which is now on site and through which the access to Wickham Hall runs. At the time of writing, despite works at Bishops Stortford North only having commenced in the last few weeks, the entrance to the site already appears to be the entrance to a development site rather than to business premises.”