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Sawbridgeworth Town Council protests over 'bombshell' plan for 24/7 distribution centre at Stortford South




Concerned town councillors in Sawbridgeworth are hoping to mitigate the effects of a proposed 24/7 distribution centre and warehousing unit on a development in neighbouring southern Bishop’s Stortford.

At Monday's town council meeting, interim town clerk Joanne Sargant said that news of the centre plan for Countryside's 750-home development at St James Park – where a new campus for The Bishop's Stortford High School plus a primary school and care home will also be built – had been a “bombshell”.

Members were asked to vote on four resolutions, which included requesting a meeting with developer Wrenbridge and asking planning authority East Herts Council why the town council had not been consulted.

Interim town clerk Joanne Sargant (48695259)
Interim town clerk Joanne Sargant (48695259)

Cllr Annelise Furnace said that when outline planning permission was granted there had been no mention of warehousing or distribution. “This will have a significant effect on the traffic in Sawbridgeworth,” she said.

Cllr Nathan Parsad said: “We need to be thinking about what conditions can be brought in to mitigate the effects of the application – see what’s in East Herts’ gift.”

Last week, after Stortford residents had criticised the £50m scheme, saying it would be "catastrophic" for the road network, in response Wrenbridge director James Feltham told the Indie the latest plan was “entirely consistent" with the outline planning permission granted by East Herts.

Development and building work on the new St James Park site, which is just over the Sawbridgeworth border. Pic: Vikki Lince. (48695207)
Development and building work on the new St James Park site, which is just over the Sawbridgeworth border. Pic: Vikki Lince. (48695207)

Mr Feltham also said that the new scheme, if permitted, would generate fewer vehicle trips.

Councillors agreed unanimously to go ahead with the four motions proposed:

  • Contact Wrenbridge/Polity for a meeting to discuss the impact of the proposed warehouse and distribution centre off St James Way on traffic using the A1184 through Sawbridgeworth and the AQMA (air quality management area)
  • Ask planning authority East Herts Council why Sawbridgeworth Town Council, as an immediate neighbour, was not consulted on the proposed warehouse and distribution centre
  • Ask EHC if it will "honour and abide by" the Bishop's Stortford Neighbourhood Plan, All Saints, Central, South and part of Thorley, para 3.10.
  • Ask EHC if it will release the Metropolitan Green Belt area off St James Way for class B8 development.


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