Reaction to Countryside Properties' development plans

This email was sent to the Herts and Essex Observer and a copy was received by the BSCF on 13 April 2012

Email from a dismayed resident expressing alarm at the scale of Countryside Properties' proposed large development on an area of the ASRs  Map .

Given the size of your page 7 article mentioning the proposed development to the north of Stortford, I was expecting Countryside's display of proposals at the Charis Centre yesterday evening not to hold any major surprises. I was horrified to discover from a combination of the Countryside employees and residents of the North of Stortford who have had meetings with other developers involved, that in fact the proposed new development stretches from the Hadham Road/A120 roundabout, right across the North of Stortford to Rye Street, following Dane O' Coys, and including all of the open land on the south side of the A120 (up to Mountbattens (old Red White & Blue) and Tim's Tiles).

Countryside may be the first developer to display initial plans for their relatively small part of the development, but their representative made it clear that their development will be in conjunction with the larger area as access roads will be shared.

Developers have told residents that Bovis will be building a small primary school at the Hadham Road roundabout end of the development, a large primary school next to Foxdells Animal Rescue and converting Foxdells itself into a community centre. This is to service the development of between 2,500 and 3,000 houses, which themselves are to be serviced by a main access road which will run the length of the proposed development, be bordered by the social housing which is required by law, and which will run from Rye Street to the Hadham Road roundabout, cutting Hoggetts wood in two.

The traffic consultant engaged by Countryside, who was at the presentation, was unable to refute information given to a resident by one of the other developers that for ASR1-4 they are assuming that the residents of the new development will be split 80:20 in terms of commuters to London as against local workers. Even if that is an overestimate and the split is 50:50 then that is potentially another 1,300 commuters heading into Stortford at rush hour. It would be naive to assume that these commuters will cycle or take the bus to the station. The traffic consultant reassured a Rye Street resident by saying that they are hoping that not all the traffic will exit onto Rye Street, that hopefully some will exit out onto the A120. This isn't of any comfort, where will the traffic go from there?

Being rather cynical, the proposed super surgery at Silver Leys, and the moving of the long stay parking for the town to Grange Paddocks appears to be a deliberate plan to be ready for this new mega development. As various letter writers have pointed out, the big Grange Paddocks car park is already full, even before the Northgate End and link carparks are closed in autumn. The only way to cater for another 1,300 cars going into Stortford will be for the whole of Grange Paddocks to be turned into car parking. With such an influx of new residents it is very clear why Henderson were so keen to develop in the centre of Stortford.

Anyone who opposed the proposed new superschool in the Green Belt, the Henderson Development, the new supersurgery, and the appalling traffic management in Bishop's Stortford should write to Mark Prisk via markprisk.com or care of the House of Commons. We should also be asking why our local newspaper isn't headlining the most serious threat to Bishop's Stortford in years.

A Chantry Close resident