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Town councillors puzzled by parking proposals for Travelodge hotel at Bishop’s Stortford Goodsyard

Proposals for a Travelodge hotel on the Bishop’s Stortford Goodsyard development have prompted a new issue with town centre parking.

East Herts Council is preparing a change in regulations which would allow up to 70 permits for hotel guests to leave their cars at Jackson Square or Crown Terrace at Hockerill – even though there’s a railway station car park next door.

The proposed deal with Travelodge caused consternation among town councillors on the planning and development committee.

Solum’s Goodsyard plans - the hotel plot is in green
Solum’s Goodsyard plans - the hotel plot is in green

The new traffic regulation order (TRO) would give 10 hotel guests the right to use Crown Terrace car park and 60 customers permission to occupy bays at Jackson Square, overnight from 3pm to 10am.

Councillors were told a planning application for the hotel is anticipated soon. Subject to approval, it could be open by the end of 2025.

Cllr David Jacobs (Labour, Central) asked for the TRO proposal to be put on the agenda so the committee could comment.

Jackson Square’s multi-storey car park
Jackson Square’s multi-storey car park

He said: “Although we welcome the construction of the hotel in the Goodsyard because the town needs that facility, I was confused why they [Travelodge] applied for parking permission in Jackson Square and Crown Terrace when there’s an underused car park next door.

“To dedicate 60 spaces out of 700 in Jackson Square is not an insignificant number – and 10 at Crown Terrace. Jackson Square is a shoppers’ car park – we should not be taking footfall away from the town centre.”

He was also concerned that as Jackson Square is locked overnight, hotel guests leaving early for a flight from Stansted Airport might find they were unable to access their vehicles.

The council’s leader, Cllr Miriam Swainston (Lib Dem, Chantry), said the station multi-storey was increasingly well-used and that guests parking in Jackson Square and Crown Terrace overnight rather than during peak shopping hours might not be a problem, but she wanted to know why those two car parks had been earmarked.

Cllr Murray White (Lib Dem, Waterside) suggested 30 permits in Jackson Square might be a more acceptable compromise.

Developer Solum was granted planning permission to transform the Network Rail goods yard into a new gateway for the town in May 2018.

The £200m vision includes an 85-bed hotel, 10,000 sq ft of retail outlets, 30,000 sq ft of office space and a 55-bed care home as well as over 700 new homes and two multi-storey car parks delivering almost 1,000 spaces.

The first phase of apartments and one multi-storey car park have been completed, along with a bus route through the site.

A Travelodge spokesperson told the Indie: “At the moment we are not in a position to pass comment on this particular site, however we remain committed to opening a new hotel in Bishop’s Stortford.”

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