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Summer deadline for pedestrian safety plans in Bishop's Stortford's Station Road

Bridge over River Stort, Station Road, Bishops Stortford. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (11562909)
Bridge over River Stort, Station Road, Bishops Stortford. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (11562909)

Plans to improve Station Road for pedestrians and cyclists are to be revealed by Herts County Council by August.

Safety on the bridge over the River Stort has been highlighted by Bishop's Stortford Town Council as a priority.

At its latest finance and policy committee meeting, newly elected Liberal Democrat Cllr Louie Corpe said the town council should press highways authority HCC for progress.

He said: "Is there any way of looking into making the approach to South Street from the station a more welcoming environment? It's a very narrow access across the bridge."

The committee agreed that a scheme should form part of its ongoing strategic plan for the town.

In 2017, HCC sought planning permission from East Herts Council to build a new footbridge, replacing the inadequate paths on the narrow road bridge and freeing up more width for vehicles.

However, its proposals were subsequently withdrawn, with a promise that a "revised and much-improved" application was being prepared. There is speculation that as well as a new footbridge, HCC is considering making the existing bridge one-lane.

A spokeswoman for the county council told the Indie: "We are currently considering two options for a bridge which can provide both pedestrian and cycling access. The first option is to provide a completely new, separate walking and cycling bridge adjacent to the existing crossing, and the second is to improve the crossing facilities on the existing bridge.

"We are currently investigating the likely impact on traffic flows of utilising the existing bridge, to see if this would be a viable option, and expect to make a decision by August. Both suggestions will depend on securing the necessary funding and landowner agreements."

Cllr Phil Bibby, HCC's cabinet member for highways and environment, said: "Hertfordshire County Council is always keen to promote better walking and cycling opportunities for its residents and the two options currently being considered will make this possible.

"Preliminary work to identify which option is the most suitable should be completed in June and we hope to make a final decision by late summer. Once we know which option to progress with, we will be securing all of the necessary agreements with the landowner and will make the strongest case possible to potential funders and developers."

Last month, East Herts Council refused planning permission for one of Bishop's Stortford's oldest businesses to relocate from Station Road to a paddock in Thorley Street. When mooting the move, stonemason J Day & Son said that vacating the site it has occupied since 1912 was integral to plans for a new bridge.

Any new link will connect the town centre to Solum's Bishop's Stortford Goods Yard regeneration scheme, in which 582 homes, an 85-bed Premier Inn hotel, a 55-unit care home, shops and offices are being built on the 14.4-acre (5.82-hectare) brownfield site, along with two multi-storey car parks, a new bus interchange, a station square and a link road just for buses connecting Dane Street and Station Road with London Road near Tanners Wharf.

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