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East Herts Council approves Wrenbridge business park plans for St James' Park estate at Bishop's Stortford South





Plans for a business park which prompted a barrage of objections have been approved by East Herts Council.

The district planning authority has given Wrenbridge LLP permission to build at Bishop's Stortford South, off Whittington Way.

It was granted outline consent in December 2019 as part of Countryside's St James' Park development over 9.9 acres (4 ha), delivering 750 new homes, a care home, a neighbourhood shopping centre, employment space, a primary school and the relocated The Bishop's Stortford High School.

The original scheme, left, and the revised plan, right (59189506)
The original scheme, left, and the revised plan, right (59189506)

Wrenbridge's initial proposals for a £50m "logistics scheme" caused a storm of objections from campaigners who feared the development would generate a stream of heavy goods vehicles with the resultant impacts on air quality and noise. They were backed by Bishop's Stortford and Sawbridgeworth town councils and Thorley parish council.

Its second submission, in March this year, to create 12 units split across five buildings fared little better. Detractors vehemently disagreed that it was consistent with the initial consent or a substantial improvement on the first scheme.

Wrenbridge argued: "The design of the buildings and layout, including landscaping, has been significantly enhanced following feedback from stakeholders.

Bishop's Stortford South. Picture: James Richardson (59189483)
Bishop's Stortford South. Picture: James Richardson (59189483)

"A comprehensive landscaping scheme is provided to ensure a high-quality visual appearance of the site, particularly as viewed along St James Way and Thorley Street, and also to provide green fingers which permeate throughout the scheme."

The developer said it had employed the same landscape architect as Countryside to ensure "continuity of quality" and the main site access would be off the new roundabout on St James Way.

Bishop's Stortford Civic Federation summed up the concerns of many objectors.

The group's advisor, Thorley resident Colin Arnott, said: "Though some of the environmental impacts have been mitigated by design and layout improvements, most of the potentially severe impacts on the built residential environment and local road network remain and there are clearly unsustainable impacts on the health and wellbeing of existing and new residents and on schools – principally the result of the impact of HGVs on air quality and noise."



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