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St James' Park: Developers submit revised Bishop's Stortford South employment plan after backlash





Revised plans for a business park at Bishop's Stortford South focus on "high-skilled employment in high-functioning buildings".

Wrenbridge and Fiera Real Estate have submitted a 'reserved matters' planning application to East Herts Council for the employment land on the St James' Park estate following "exhaustive" community consultation.

Last year, Wrenbridge withdrew a scheme for a 24/7 warehousing and distribution centre to provide jobs at the 750-home estate being built off Whittington Way and St James' Way by house builder Countryside.

Drone picture of the St James' Park development at Bishop's Stortford South off Whittington Way. Picture: James Richardson (55255760)
Drone picture of the St James' Park development at Bishop's Stortford South off Whittington Way. Picture: James Richardson (55255760)

This move followed a backlash from Bishop's Stortford and Sawbridgeworth town councils, residents and Thorley Parish Council, who feared traffic misery and disturbance from numerous lorries and vans using the park at all hours of the day.

And Hertfordshire County Council's highways department recommended the scheme be refused after raising a catalogue of concerns.

The changes include provision of a range of unit sizes to cater for local businesses and supply some of the 100,000 sq m (24.7 acres) of employment space needed in the area to retain businesses and jobs. The overall floor space has been reduced from over 19,000 sq m (204,514 sq ft) to around 17,600 sq m (189,445 sq ft).

The south-east corner of the St James' Park site at the junction of St James' Way and Thorley Wash. Picture: Vikki Lince
The south-east corner of the St James' Park site at the junction of St James' Way and Thorley Wash. Picture: Vikki Lince

Wrenbridge has predicted up to 466 full-time equivalent roles will be created towards the district council's target of 491 new jobs a year between 2011 and 2033.

Landscaping, trees and "high-quality" architecture are promised, with building heights down by 4m (13ft) in the north-eastern part of the site to mitigate their impact on existing properties.

Wrenbridge director James Feltham said: "We withdrew the previous scheme last year because we realised Bishop's Stortford wanted to focus on high-skilled employment in high-functioning buildings.

"We've worked hard since then to incorporate local feedback into our proposal. We've invested heavily in improving the architecture and landscaping to make St James' a good fit for the area. Furthermore, our proposals include space for research and development.

Artist's impression of Wrenbridge's revised plans
Artist's impression of Wrenbridge's revised plans

"Local people were also concerned about traffic. We've spent a lot of time working on designs to attract tenants who can provide high-quality and high-skilled work. This will mean the type of vehicle is more suited to local roads, and our modelling work shows there will be fewer vehicles than consented through the original outline application.

"We've worked closely with the council and engaged local councillors throughout our consultation to ensure we understand what people want here. We're very pleased with the final scheme and look forward to continuing to work with the community to deliver high-quality jobs for local people."



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