Bishop's Stortford South: Wrenbridge withdraws plan for 24/7 warehousing and distribution centre
Opponents of a controversial plan for a 24/7 distribution centre at Bishop’s Stortford South are claiming victory after developers withdrew the scheme and went back to the drawing board.
East Herts district councillor Graham McAndrew revealed last Thursday (Sept 16) that Wrenbridge had withdrawn its application for the centre by the new St James’ Park housing estate to enable it to review the plans and “use feedback from the local community for a new application”.
Wrenbridge has engaged a communications firm to carry out workshops and this week set up introductory meetings with the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and East Herts Council’s economic development officer.
Cllr McAndrew, who is EHC’s executive member for the environment and represents Stortford South on the council, hailed the news as “a new chapter” and reissued his call for a life sciences park at the site.
He revealed that at a recent working party meeting after an EHC planning officer suggested the scheme was likely to be refused following a critical report from Herts Highways, a representative of Wrenbridge stated the application would be withdrawn.
“We’re grateful Wrenbridge has withdrawn the application and now we can reflect on what is best for the area,” said Cllr McAndrew.
Critics of the scheme were concerned that having a distribution centre at the park would mean a high number of vehicle movements involving HGVs and vans which would create traffic chaos.
Local resident Dr Becky Scott launched a petition against the scheme which drew 1,600 signatures. She said she had concerns over its proximity to the resited Bishop’s Stortford High School and a proposed care home.
Last Friday she told the Indie: “It’s great news. It’s a really positive message that the council has listened to the community.
“I truly believe that the voice of many people does help, especially with such a volume of support.”
Dr Scott said that it showed what could be achieved and, despite people being cynical, there was a point to protesting.
“I said never stop believing – if you feel you can make an impact, you can follow what you believe,” she added.
Dr Scott insisted the plan was never to stop a business park at the site, but there had to be a better way.
“Our primary aim was to stop them building a 24/7 distribution centre and that is what we’ve achieved.”
Sawbridgeworth Town Council members were angry that they had not been consulted and feared a high number of HGVs would travel through the town on their way to the M11.
New Sawbridgeworth clerk Chris Hunt welcomed the news and said he was looking forward to working with the developers.