East Herts Council vows to keep Bishop's Stortford multi-storey car park and leisure centre construction projects on track
The leader of East Herts Council has pledged to keep Bishop's Stortford's major construction projects on track despite the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Conservative authority is building a new £20m swimming pool and leisure centre to replace the outdated facilities at Grange Paddocks and is poised to construct a six-storey car park at Northgate End. The car park will be closed from Monday June 1.
Cllr Linda Haysey gave her reassurance at a meeting of the full council in response to a question from Cllr Mary Brady, who asked: "Could you please indicate which proposed subjects may be affected by the blow to the economy of the Covid-19 virus?"
Cllr Haysey said the council was working closely with construction companies with the best access to professional advice and was following guidance from central government. "We do not expect too many delays on major projects," she said.
Despite the eight-week lockdown, she was confident the new sports and leisure facilities at Grange Paddocks, off Rye Street, would be ready by October 2021.
A series of planning wrangles has delayed construction of the 546-space Northgate End multi-storey by more than a year. East Herts originally aimed for it to be open by now.
Just before the pandemic, the council announced that the existing 143-space surface car park would shut on April 20 so work could begin on the year-long build, but the closure was suspended. It will now be shut from Monday June 1.
Cllr Haysey said: "We are proposing to press ahead with the works."
She said the council would have to wait and see what the macro effect of the pandemic was on the global economy and how it affected supply chains and the cost of materials, but she said EHC was committed to completing its major projects "on time and in budget".
The £20m multi-storey is the keystone which unlocks her aspirations to develop Old River Lane at the Causeway, including a £30m arts centre incorporating a 500-seat theatre, cinema, shops, restaurants, offices and homes.
That development is expected to take at least three years to complete in partnership with Cityheart.