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Give us park and ride.. not the nightmare Northgate End multi-storey'


By Paul Winspear


Northgate End car park up and down ramps
Northgate End car park up and down ramps

A park and ride for Bishop's Stortford is the preferred option for the town council and civic federation as members demolished proposals for a new multi-storey.

Northgate End car park CGI
Northgate End car park CGI

A park and ride for Bishop’s Stortford is the preferred option for the town council and civic federation as members demolished proposals for a new multi-storey.

East Herts Council wants to ease parking problems with a six-storey car park development at Northgate End, unveiled last week.

On Monday evening, the town council’s planning and development committee was asked to defer its comments on the scheme so that its judgement can include evidence from a transport study commissioned by Bishop’s Stortford Civic Federation (BSCF).

The residents’ group’s president, John Rhodes, told the politicians that the district council’s scheme for 546 spaces, surface-level parking for a further 35 vehicles and a four-storey building featuring shops on the ground floor and 15 flats above was premature.

Northgate End multi-storey car park plan
Northgate End multi-storey car park plan

He said EHC exaggerated the long-term gain in spaces by up to 80 and was an enabling development for Old River Lane, a new commercial and residential development, incorporating a new arts venue, in the offing which would further increase demand.

He said EHC was guilty of “overstating the benefits and understating the potential difficulties”.

Mr Rhodes argued that proceeding with the plans and turning The Causeway into a building site at the same time as the Goods Yard, St Michael’s Hurst and Stortford Fields were being constructed would lead to gridlock.

He argued a better parking solution was converting long-stay spaces for short-term shopping and bussing workers into the town centre with a park and ride option. Such a scheme operated from 2004 from Woodside, transporting staff all year and Christmas shoppers from December 10. A park and ride scheme was pencilled in for the new Stortford Fields estate but has since been ditched as unviable.

Cllr Ralph Gilbert said: “They [East Herts] are proposing an absolute nightmare – the solution is a proper park and ride.”

Deputy mayor Cllr George Cutting said there was “a complete dichotomy” and that plans flew in the face of aspirations for cleaner air and less congestion. He called for a study of park and ride schemes in other towns and cities.

The committee agreed to defer formal comment until after BSCF’s transport study is published and urged EHC to do the same in view of the potential consequences for the town.



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