'I’m very excited about the Old River Lane project and the opportunities it will bring to the district’s largest town'
In the first in a regular series in the Indie, East Herts Council leader Cllr Linda Haysey updates readers on the authority's flagship Old River Lane project in Bishop's Stortford...
I am delighted to be able to bring you my first update in the Bishop’s Stortford Independent on progress with our exciting plans to regenerate the Old River Lane quarter of the town.
At the end of July, excavators started work on the new Northgate End multi-storey car park to include six levels providing 546 spaces and surface-level parking for 27 vehicles.
The work is expected to take 18 months, and it’s begun at a particularly welcome time, helping to provide jobs and stimulate the local economy.
Starting in November, you’ll see the concrete frame start go up, allowing the car park to begin to take shape.
The multi-storey is part of a wider planned development to enhance this part of Bishop’s Stortford that could bring forward a vibrant arts centre alongside an attractive public square, a mixed development of around 150 new homes and retail and commercial spaces.
The scheme is supported by a £9.6m Local Growth Fund investment from Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), made up of a £6m grant and £3.6m interest-free loan.
We’ve appointed public sector specialist Cityheart Ltd as the developer to work with us on this project.
People living in Stortford and the wider area will be able to enjoy top-quality performances, shows, cinema and theatre in the new arts centre.
Among its many planned features are a 544-seater theatre with a state-of-the-art staging system, a four-screen cinema and art displays.
A great deal of preparatory work has already been done which will form the basis of a masterplan, setting out in detail the high standards that the council will expect from the developer before planning permission can be approved.
Modelling work on traffic flow has also been proceeding, with proposals for a four-way junction which will allow the route from the development into town to be pedestrianised.
The plans for the wider site will be expected to meet a nationally recognised and highly respected environmental sustainability standard called BREEAM Excellent. At the same time, we’re continuing to look at ways to reduce the carbon footprint across the programme.
No date has been set for work to start on the wider scheme. First, it will need to go through the planning process, when there will be an opportunity for people to comment on the planning application. We’ll also carry out more specific consultation with relevant groups.
It’s hard to give exact details on how long the work will last, but sites of this size normally take two to three years to complete. Current project planning indicates completion in November 2024.
I’m very excited about the Old River Lane project and the opportunities it will bring to the district’s largest town.
I hope this update will help you to share that excitement and I look forward to keeping you updated.