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McDonald’s and Co-op ready to move to Bishop’s Stortford’s newest housing estate





A McDonald’s takeaway and a Co-op store are on the cards for Bishop’s Stortford’s newest housing estate.

Developer Countryside is working with the fast food giant and the grocery retailer on plans for the “local centre” at St James’ Park, off Whittington Way.

The housebuilder already has outline planning permission for the site, including up to 1,000 sq m (10,764 sq ft) of shops and up to 2,200 sq m (23,680 sq ft) for restaurants, cafés, a hot food takeaway, gym, nursery, local services and community uses.

How the new local centre at St James' Park might look
How the new local centre at St James' Park might look

Countryside is now consulting the public on its precise proposals before it asks East Herts Council for detailed planning permission relating to layout, design and access.

The information for residents to consider says: “The applicant has been working with the council to deliver this vision with a welcoming local centre and high-quality landscaping.

“The local centre takes design cues from the character of more traditional high streets in the local area, as well as the emerging urban palette of the St James’ Park site.”

The proposed site layout for the local centre at St James' Park
The proposed site layout for the local centre at St James' Park

The developer wants a two-storey design with “generous landscaping” to create a “welcoming and attractive” gateway to St James’ Park.

The main units would be a linear block, with a Central Co-operative food store on the entrance corner and a “bespoke” McDonald’s restaurant “designed to form an integral part of the wider centre, linking the local centre main parade to the employment/industrial uses adjacent”.

McDonald’s last operated in Bishop’s Stortford in 2010, when it shut the Anchor Street leisure centre outlet it opened when the cinema, gym, nightclub and restaurant complex launched in 2000. Currently, the nearest branch is a restaurant and drive-thru at Stansted Airport.

The Central Co-operative has a shop in London Road, Sawbridgeworth. The East of England Co-operative has confirmed plans to open the brand’s first food store in Bishop’s Stortford this summer at the Goodsyard development next to the railway station.

How the new local centre at St James' Park could look
How the new local centre at St James' Park could look

Other features planned for the St James’ Park local centre include a community centre, nursery, café, further retail unit and a gym, which will be occupied by PureGym. The “no-frills” health club chain is Britain’s largest by membership, with more than 1.5 million people on its books.

The centre site is earmarked for 93 car parking spaces, of which eight are for the disabled and four are designated parent and child bays. There would be six electric vehicle charging points (EVCPs), with provision for 10 more in the future. There would also be 56 cycle spaces, including four for the disabled and four for motorbikes.

The 750-home estate was granted planning permission in December 2019. EHC approved a detailed application for 142 properties alongside an outline application for 608 others, a care home, employment land, the local centre, secondary and primary schools and open space. The first homes on the site were completed in summer 2021 and 160 are now occupied.

Countryside's landscape plan for the local centre at St James' Park
Countryside's landscape plan for the local centre at St James' Park

Work is almost complete on the new secondary school – the relocated Bishop’s Stortford High School. Staff and students are preparing to leave London Road and begin the new academic year in September at their new St James’ Park campus.

The estate’s business park on the east of the site has been an enduring cause of controversy, with concerns about its use, the impact of traffic on Thorley and Sawbridgeworth and delays in completing the project.

The deadline for feedback on the local centre plans is Monday June 17. Email feedback@consultation-online.co.uk.

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



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