Developer Wrenbridge produces revised scheme for business centre at St James' Park estate at Stortford South
The developer tasked with building a business park on a 750-home estate at Stortford South has produced a revised plan offering "highly-skilled jobs" for up to 450 people.
A 'reserved matters' application was lodged by Wrenbridge in June for a 24/7 warehousing and distribution centre at St James' Park, off Whittington Way, which could have seen a high number of HGV movements. Following a backlash from local representatives and residents, the plan was withdrawn in September.
Residents in Stortford and Sawbridgeworth feared traffic chaos and disturbance from numerous lorries and vans using the park at all hours of the day.
And Hertfordshire County Council's highways department recommended the scheme be refused after raising a catalogue of concerns.
The criticism forced the developer back to the drawing board and this week it was announced a public exhibition would be held at South Mill Arts in South Road on Saturday (Nov 6), from 10am to 2pm, to present the revised scheme for consultation with residents.
Wrenbridge launched its revised scheme, produced by a new project team, this week and trumpeted it as offering a "unique opportunity to develop approved employment land, contribute to the Innovation Corridor and bring forward highly-skilled jobs for local people".
It further states: "It is anticipated that the proposals would generate 250-450 new jobs, based upon the Government’s Employment Density Guide 3rd Edition (November 2015)", adding: "The scheme is being built speculatively and as such there are no known occupiers at this time."
Following feedback from Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and East Herts Council's economic development officer, Wrenbridge says it is looking to provide "much-needed" space for local businesses.
"Ongoing discussions and interest has been shown by some mid-tech companies, many of which are looking to grow and stay locally near the highly-skilled workforce Bishop’s Stortford has to offer," it added.
The scheme will also be sustainable and "last for generations to come", with all building on the park certified Carbon Zero Construction in accordance with the guidelines of the UKGBC Net Zero Carbon Building framework.
Wrenbridge claims the buildings "have been sensitively designed to complement and integrate into the surrounding area".
It adds: "New landscaping will be delivered as part of the proposal to create an inviting and attractive employment park, which people are proud to work at and have as part of their neighbourhood.
"The landscaping will integrate the park with the surrounding area and wider strategic works by Countryside Properties."
Cllr Graham McAndrew, the county council's deputy cabinet member for highways and transport, has previously called for the site to be used as a business science park and told the Indie on Monday it was "refreshing" to see Wrenbridge had commissioned new architects with fresh designs.
But he said the choice of tenants would be restricted unless it included offices use and use for research and development of products or processes.
Cllr McAndrew, who is also East Herts Council's executive member for sustainability, urged residents to attend the public exhibition and added: "I along with many others wish to see business focusing on all areas of science, technology, research and innovation coming to the area, creating a progressive sci-tech community that directly links with the globally-renowned research centres of London and Cambridge."