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First application to build on Bishop’s Stortford Green Belt off Rye Street

A first attempt to build on Green Belt grassland off Rye Street in Bishop’s Stortford has been received by East Herts Council.

An applicant from London has lodged plans for a block of four stables, a tack room and a feed store, with a floor area of 82.6 sq m (889 sq ft), fencing and a new access onto the B1004.

The former pasture by the River Stort has been the subject of controversy since it was parcelled up and put on sale in spring 2020, with the town council fearing it would be snapped up by speculators.

A gap in the treeline marks the point where the plans proposes a dropped kerb onto the site
A gap in the treeline marks the point where the plans proposes a dropped kerb onto the site

The council made a “generous” offer to buy the whole site but was rebuffed. Instead, it was asked to find up to £1m to secure the whole site for the town.

By December 2021, Exclusive Property Sales and Auctioneers put the last plot under the hammer.

To date, the only sign of activity on one plot – close to Grange Paddocks – has been tree-planting and some land clearance to create “Dr Weaver Orchard”.

One plot on the wider site has been planted with fruit trees.
One plot on the wider site has been planted with fruit trees.

Now, according to the application submitted to East Herts Council, Mifta Ahmed, of Cityscape PA, in Spencer Way, London, is acting as the agent for Mr A Miah, of Spencer Way, London, in the bid to build on a plot close to Meadowlands.

Companies House records show that Mohammed Miftaul Ahmed is the only director of an architectural business registered at the same address in the capital.

The design and access statement submitted to the council says: “The proposed stables are not intended for commercial use but solely for the applicant’s private use.

“While the plot of land and adjacent areas are evidently empty green land, the surrounding context is residential and consists of spacious two-storey houses.”

The former pasture off Rye Street
The former pasture off Rye Street

It adds: “The size, massing and design of the stable block, including materials, have been put together to ensure that it is a low-impact design, utilising natural materials and sits comfortably within the rural setting of the Green Belt.”

The statement also suggests that a gap in the treeline onto Rye Street will facilitate the construction of an access for the site, via a dropped kerb, without the need to remove mature specimens which are protected by tree preservation orders. There would be parking for two vehicles.

When the land was first put up for auction, then town councillor David Snowdon campaigned vigorously against any development of the site.

The Conservative said then: “Given that this land has been designated in the District Plan under several policies – Green Belt, Local Open Space and Area of Archaeological Significance – I struggle to see that planning permission would be granted for this land.”

*To see planning applications and other public notices for your area, visit publicnoticeportal.uk.

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