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‘Less than six months ago, East Herts residents voted for change. What has been delivered so far is political inertia for Bishop’s Stortford’





Our front-page comment from this week’s (October 25) edition of the Bishop’s Stortford Independent...

East Herts Council’s Green and Liberal Democrat administration has once again hit the pause button for Bishop’s Stortford.

In the summer, the coalition put the brakes on plans for a £15.5m new arts centre in The Causeway. Shortly afterwards, the council’s development partner Cityheart pulled both of its Old River Lane development planning applications, leaving the town in limbo.

The two-year pilot – brokered by Bishop’s Stortford BID (Business Improvement District), which represents traders – at the under-used Northgate End multi-storey long-stay car park could have saved up to 100 workers £408 a year by introducing a daily discount of £1.70, cutting the all-day tariff from £5.20 to £3.50
The two-year pilot – brokered by Bishop’s Stortford BID (Business Improvement District), which represents traders – at the under-used Northgate End multi-storey long-stay car park could have saved up to 100 workers £408 a year by introducing a daily discount of £1.70, cutting the all-day tariff from £5.20 to £3.50

Now, proposals developed by the Bishop’s Stortford BID (Business Improvement District) to ease parking costs for up to 100 town centre workers have been shelved.

What will happen next with these schemes? If the leadership knows, it is not sharing that information with residents.

There is much talk of consultation, but little tangible evidence. There is certainly no timetable.

The Green and Lib Dem coalition’s talk of an “holistic” approach to the district for the future is all very well, but the price is hell-istic in the here and now for businesses and residents coping with increasing congestion, pollution and the cost-of-living crisis.

Less than six months ago, East Herts residents voted for change. What has been delivered so far is political inertia for Bishop’s Stortford.

The town deserves better than the council’s pending file. It needs answers and it needs action.

A reply from Cllr Tim Hoskin (Green), East Herts Council’s executive member for environmental sustainability

“I am writing in response to the article regarding the town centre worker parking scheme to address some important points raised.

“First and foremost, it’s crucial to emphasise that the reason behind revising the scheme is to broaden its benefits. We want to extend these advantages not only to town centre workers but also to the shoppers and visitors in Bishop’s Stortford. This, in our view, can only be seen as a positive step for the town as a whole.

“While there’s still work to be done in refining the details, we believe that an option accommodating a broader user base will better align with the council’s aspirations. Our goal is to improve local air quality and, at the same time, seek a solution that is financially sustainable in the long term.

Cllr Tim Hoskin, East Herts Council’s executive member for environmental sustainability, with Bishop’s Stortford BID manager Gina Thomas, left, and BID marketing and communications manager Madeleine Lees. Picture: Vikki Lince
Cllr Tim Hoskin, East Herts Council’s executive member for environmental sustainability, with Bishop’s Stortford BID manager Gina Thomas, left, and BID marketing and communications manager Madeleine Lees. Picture: Vikki Lince

“We understand the sense of urgency, especially considering the current challenges with the cost of living. The next step is to finalise our proposals and open them for further engagement with our partners and council members by the end of November.

“I’d like to make it clear that my decision to consider changes to the scheme was not an extraordinary ‘U-turn’ as some have characterised it. Instead, it was prompted by the feedback received, including from Conservative members, during the council’s consultation with councillors. This consultation is an important part of the council’s decision-making process before making such determinations.

“The overarching goal must be to improve the town centre for everyone and that is what we are committed to achieving.”



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