BSCF's Comments on the Development of the Mill Site

Letter to George Robertson, East Herts District Council

East Herts District Council
Pegs Lane
SG13 8EQ
5 November 2010

For the attention of George A Robertson

Dear George,

Reference: The Mill Site

This letter summarises the views of the Civic Federation on the possibilities of the development of this site. Before doing this, I list, at your request, the constituent bodies making up the Federation:

  1. The Civic Society
  2. The Chantry Community Association
  3. Thorley Manor Residents Association
  4. Haymeads Residents Association
  5. Hockerill Residents Association
  6. Old Thorley and Twyford Residents Association
  7. Parsonage Residents Association
  8. Havers Action Team
  9. Portland Road Residents' Association
  10. Warwick Road Maintenance Association

In total we represent about 6,000 households.

The more I looked at the comments I have received, the more I think we should regard this site as really two quite separate sites; the first, of course, is the river, the other the commercial/industrial area behind it.

The River

There is unanimity that this must be made attractive, include some appropriate shops and restaurants but not be overshadowed by tall buildings. It is essential that there is a feeling of light and openness.

However, I am worried about the effects on the water quality, maintaining canal water level and the amount of barge traffic versus the building of a marina. We must get expert evidence including British Waterways and the Natural History Society before any decisions are made.

The chairman of the Natural History Society, Bob Reed, is willing to meet the committee on this matter. He is a freshwater biologist and has known the river for all his life. He may wish to involve the Environment Agency as well.

The Remainder of the Site

Whatever the outcome of the development of the Station Goods Yard and the results of any town pedestrianisation, Dane Street and Station Road will be pretty full of traffic. It would be wrong, therefore, to consider any further residential building for reasons of noise and air pollution.

We can see no point, either, for considering any cafe or restaurant use here. Perhaps the only use is for other commercial operations like Shepard’s Garage.

General Comments Received

1. It is very difficult to be firm about the future of any section of the town without recognising the interaction with other sections. We believe that a skeleton map of the town should be prepared, indicating those areas that are residential, commercial, industrial and a mixture of them. In addition, a clear indication of which bits can be pedestrianised. It follows therefore that the Bishop' Stortford transport study should be updated.

2. There is a significant difference of views on the Causeway Site development. Almost all of the members do not wish to see building on the two car parks but would accept development of the Charrington building itself and its own small car park.

Although some of our younger members can see advantage in more quality shops, it must be remembered how many empty shops there are, both in the old town and the new developments around Jackson Square and Riverside.

3. Although this should now be obvious, there is a strong feeling that the town has quite enough flats.

4. Your brief says that the ASRs are to be brought forward for development. We are unanimous in saying that the town is incapable of absorbing the traffic that could result from at least 3,000 houses, let alone the hundreds that are, and will be, built in the adjoining Essex villages.

5. Your comments on the Whittington Way schools proposal should be updated.

I am anxious for you to get this letter quickly and it will be considered by our constituent associations as soon as possible. If there are any significant amendments I will, of course, let you have them.

Yours Sincerely,

Michael Hurford
President, Bishop's Stortford Civic Federation

Copies to:
Anil Khosla EHDC
Councillor Ralph Gilbert
Councillor Mike Wood