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Red light for Bishop's Stortford High School homes plan from Herts County Council highways department

Herts County Council wants to put the brakes on plans for 223 new homes on the site of The Bishop's Stortford High School.

The authority's highways department has backed campaigners who claim the development at London Road – for 73 more homes than are earmarked in the district plan – will add to unbearable congestion caused by a new 750-home estate at Bishop's Stortford South, off Whittington Way.

The secondary school has been allocated a site for a new, enlarged campus as part of that community being built by Countryside Properties, freeing up its current home for housing development.

Bishop's Stortford high School redevelopment (32901256)
Bishop's Stortford high School redevelopment (32901256)

However, after scrutinising traffic assessment data submitted as part of the planning application to East Herts Council, Herts Highways has recommended refusal of planning permission.

A report to the district council says there is "a lack of sufficient information to demonstrate that the development would not have a severe impact on the local highway".

The County Hall team has concluded that rush-hour traffic projections and accurate junction modelling are required, including a plan to show how access to Thorley Hill Primary School will be affected, proof that delivery and refuse vehicles will be able to reach the new development and further information about the impact on Pig Lane.

The report says: "It is noted that the modelling and further assessment provides little information to support that the development itself will not have a severe impact on the highway and relies only on the fact that other developments will impact on the operations of the network. Whilst other permitted developments would impact on the highway network, the permission of this site needs to stand on its own merits."

The school site is designated for around 150 homes in the East Herts district plan, but permission is being sought for 31 one-bed, 72 two-bed, 99 three-bed and 21 four-bed properties.

Thorley Parish Council and Old Thorley and Twyford Residents' Association (OTTRA) have consistently campaigned against both the high school scheme and Stortford South.

Roger Halford, OTTRA's vice-chairman, said: "The comments and concerns raised by highways are due in large part to the updated highways report in the application by Pell Frischmann, which shows considerable problems compared with the earlier report submitted for Bishop's Stortford South. It is our opinion that this cannot be easily solved."

He said that rejection of the scheme was in the public interest.

The planning application will be determined by East Herts Council.

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