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Old River Lane update: ‘I understand everyone’s frustrations at the apparent lack of action and progress, [but] a great deal of activity is going on behind the scenes’





East Herts Council deputy leader Cllr Mione Goldspink updates Bishop’s Stortford Independent readers on the authority’s proposed Old River Lane development...

It is some time since the district council made a statement about the Old River Lane (ORL) project and the vacant Causeway car park in Bishop’s Stortford.

People are constantly asking “Why is nothing happening?” and “Why are there no consultations?” I understand everyone’s frustrations at the apparent lack of action and progress. However, I do assure you that a great deal of activity is going on behind the scenes.

Cllr Mione Goldspink at the site of the Old River Lane development
Cllr Mione Goldspink at the site of the Old River Lane development

Officers are looking at the legal and financial situations and at various different options. The minutes of the meeting of the Old River Lane Delivery Board on September 21 have been published on the council’s website and they give a flavour of some of the activity and work.

As readers will know, the ORL development is not a straightforward project. We, as the new [Green Party and Liberal Democrat] administration, inherited it, along with an extremely challenging budget situation. Nonetheless, we are strongly committed to providing as excellent a scheme as possible on this important town centre site.

We expect that [the council’s ORL development partner] Cityheart will submit a new planning application next year and we are committed to running a public consultation as soon as it is appropriate to do so.

In the meantime, between November and March the council will be preparing to set a very challenging budget for the 2024-25 financial year. We are bracing ourselves for having very little money for any future development.

With regard to the vacant Causeway car park, the advice of planning officers is that it is not possible to overturn the planning condition which required it to “close” as soon as the replacement Northgate End car park opened. But the vacant space is now being used for very successful car boot sales on a Sunday. There are also plans for a Christmas Fayre and a pop-up ice rink.

This brings you up to date on the Old River Lane project. I know that progress is disappointingly slow, but your councillors will continue to work hard to do their best for the whole community.

Cllr Mione Goldspink is a Liberal Democrat member for the Bishop’s Stortford North ward who sits on the ORL Delivery Board and is East Herts Council’s executive member for neighbourhoods, as well as being deputy to leader Cllr Ben Crystall, of the Green Party



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