Bishop's Stortford Civic Federation calls for 'clear ideas' on Goodsyard access
Bishop’s Stortford Civic Federation (BSCF) has given a cautious welcome to Solum’s plans to revise its Goodsyard scheme.
The organisation representing residents' associations across the town was meeting this month to determine a collective view, but chairman Paul Dean was encouraged by the prospect of continued step-free access to the station.
The original £200m plans from Solum – a partnership between Network Rail and Kier Property – included a proposal to remove the south-facing ramp from Station Road to the forecourt.
The civic federation has been a long-term critic of its removal, which prompted a petition in September. After an online seminar to outline Solum’s revised vision, Mr Dean said: “The present ramp between the eastern part of Station Road and the western entrance to the station will remain for the time being and it is a planning requirement that a new step-free access must be in place before building of the office block planned for the area can commence.”
However, he cautioned: “There are no clear ideas yet regarding a permanent pedestrian and cycle ramp between Station Road east and the main entrance to the station. This is despite BSCF first raising the matter in June 2019.”
Solum’s scheme received planning permission in 2018. More than 300 new homes are currently being built by Bellway next to the station as part of the first phase of the development, with another 400 or so to follow.
As part of its revisions, Solum has trimmed the residential development area and is promising “improved accessibility”.
The first of two multi-storey car parks is fully constructed, however Mr Dean was concerned that despite its completion 10 months ago, its opening is linked to use of existing parking spaces and no date has been set.
The development includes a bus route connecting Station Road/Dane Street with London Road near Tanners Wharf. Mr Dean welcomed a new traffic assessment as part of the plans update in “this very traffic-sensitive part of the town”.
According to Solum, as well as a new hotel, the next phase of development includes a second multi-storey and "better pedestrian and cycle links from the station to the town centre and the river".
Mr Dean said BSCF had ongoing concerns about how parking for new residents on the site would be provided in that car park and would be keeping a close eye on how the scheme develops, including building heights on the southern part of the site, especially along the Stort.
A detailed planning application confirming changes is expected next year.