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Countryside starts work on access road for new Bishop's Stortford High School at St James' Park

Infrastructure works for a relocated Bishop's Stortford High School have begun.

In partnership with local education authority Herts County Council, developer Countryside has started building an access and haul road for the new campus off Whittington Way.

The extended secondary is a key part of the housebuilder's plan for St James' Park, its 750-home estate formerly known as Stortford South.

St James' Park (40695319)
St James' Park (40695319)

Martin Leach, managing director of strategic land for Countryside, said: "The vision for the development is centred around creating a sustainable and thriving new district for Bishop's Stortford.

"As a developer, Countryside is committed to creating sustainable new communities by delivering valuable infrastructure in the early stages of development.

"By prioritising the relocation of Bishop's Stortford High School, we are ensuring St James' Park is fully integrated with the existing community and supports local community living from day one."

The works have been brought forward to ensure the school development can begin in late September.

The project includes a 10,017 sq m (107,639 sq ft) main building, sports hall, floodlit multi-use games area and parking.

Building of the estate's first phase of 142 houses, 40% of which will be affordable rent or shared ownership, is set to begin in the autumn.

Once complete, St James’ Park will be a mixed-use development spread over four hectares (10 acres), delivering 750 new homes, a care home, employment space, a primary and secondary school and a neighbourhood centre with shopping facilities.

Named after the oldest building in the parish, the grade I listed church of St James the Great, the estate will also feature "distinct character areas" linked by a network of footpaths and cycleways and open space, complete with landscaping and play areas.

Countryside says the eight-forms-of-entry (240 pupils) secondary and a planned three-forms-of-entry (90 pupils) primary will sit at the heart of its development.

Outline planning permission for the St James' Park masterplan and detailed permission for phase 1 of the development were granted by East Herts Council in December 2019.

The Bishop's Stortford High School's governors have submitted a separate planning application to build 223 houses on the secondary's London Road site as part of the project's financing. This proposal, which prompted a torrent of objections on the grounds of congestion and pollution, is still under consideration by East Herts Council.

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