£1m bus plans boost sustainable transport for Bishop's Stortford South
Residents of the new Bishop’s Stortford South estate are in for a bus bonanza, with their own 7-day-a-week service plus a free travel pass for every home.
The £962,000 public transport initiative forms part of a £17m package of bonuses for the community after Countryside’s plans for 750 homes on former Green Belt farmland off Whittington Way were finally signed off by planning authority East Herts Council.
Education, public transport and leisure are the key services set to benefit from EHC’s Section 106 agreement with the developer. The bulk of the money – more than £15.5m – will go towards new and existing schools, including relocating The Bishop's Stortford High School to the estate.
The highly-contentious hybrid scheme was sanctioned by EHC’s development management committee last March despite a fight by Thorley Parish Council, Bishop’s Stortford Town Council and Old Thorley and Twyford Residents’ Asociation, and a flood of objections from residents about congestion and pollution.
Since then, East Herts and Countryside have been crunching the numbers. The money will be released in stages as the estate progresses.
The first phase of the scheme is full planning permission for 142 homes and a north-south access road.
The second half of the project comprises 608 homes, a neighbourhood centre with shops, a relocated Bishop’s Stortford High School, a primary school, a care home and up to 10 acres (4ha) of employment land including a car showroom.
As part of the public transport provision, Countryside has committed to provide up to £680,000 to Herts County Council for buses to run through the site into the town centre every 15 minutes from 7am to 9am and from 4.30pm to 7pm Mondays to Fridays.
Outside of those hours, between 6am and 10pm, there will be a service every 30 minutes. The same half-hourly frequency must be maintained between 9am and 6pm on Saturdays, with an hourly service from 9am to 6pm on Sundays.
Measures to make London Road more bus-friendly will be paid for with a £65,000 contribution, while a maximum of £217,477 will ensure each home on the new estate will receive a voucher for a free three-month bus pass followed by a 50% discount for a further three months as a condition of occupation.
The developer’s other financial commitments include £4.72m to relocate Bishop’s Stortford High School from London Road, £3.46m to help fund expansion of Herts and Essex High School in Warwick Road and £7.39m for a new primary school.
Sports facilities across the town will be boosted by £476,234 for projects including improvements at the town’s rugby, cricket and hockey clubs. There is also £50,000 for Southern Country Park.