Stortford town council backs neighbours in bid to block office conversion
A scheme to turn a Bishop’s Stortford office block into 26 apartments has been blasted by the town council.
Members of its development management committee backed neighbours' concerns about the proposals for The Priors at 1-5 London Road.
The residents have already told planning authority East Herts Council that conversion of the three-storey former solicitors’ base will increase congestion on London Road, destroy their privacy and put further pressure on parking spaces in the area.
Cllr Colin Woodward has added his voice to the objections, writing to EHC to say: “There is a shortage of office space in the town and close to the rail station, which is self-evident by the use of, and waiting list for, East Herts Council's own Launchpad facility at Charringtons House.
“This has been exacerbated by the loss of two office blocks at Walden Court in Parsonage Lane.
“I dispute the suggestion that ‘traffic generation from the site would remain unaltered or indeed reduce’ as there is little movement at present and that was so when the site was in active use.
"It would bring more personal cars onto the Air Quality Management Area junction of Hockerill, and it is now a well-established fact that the assumption in granting approval to the Aldi store development very nearby would not greatly add to congestion and pollution was flawed.
“As with the residential conversion applied for, it was assumed that the store would be located close to public transport and accessed mainly by pedestrians. This has proved not to be so, as have previous commercial B1 conversions to C3, as the fundamental reality in and around Bishop's Stortford is that people need and have cars as bus transport is poor.”
The town council's committee decided to amplify Cllr Woodward's concerns in its own representation to the district council.
Cllr John Wyllie, leader of the town council and a member of EHC, said: “We have all these new houses coming and the people will have to work somewhere.”
Silvergate Estates Lon Ltd wants to build 25 one-bed flats and a two-bed unit with at least one parking space for each home.