"The People's Vision for Bishop's Stortford"
A statement from the Bishop's Stortford Civic Federation - November 2009
This Vision is designed to reflect the views of the population of Bishop's Stortford, represented by the Civic Federation. Bishop's Stortford is the largest town in East Herts and should have facilities to match.
This statement is produced in response to increasing disquiet at continuing development in the town without any formal strategy to manage its impact on our environment and infrastructure, and to ensure all future development enhances and preserves the character and treasured features of our town.
We believe no further development should take place in Bishop's Stortford unless it complies with 'The People's Vision' for the future of our town.
All those attributes which we regard as essential for the future vitality of the town will be imperilled by increasing traffic congestion. The very nature of our town means its mediaeval street pattern is incapable of being re-structured to accommodate additional traffic.
The intention to build as many as 3,000 houses on land to the north of the town (the ASRs Map ), together with continued expansion in the Essex villages of Stansted, Birchanger, Takeley, Elsenham and Henham, would cause an unsustainable amount of traffic to swamp the town.
We believe the town must not expand beyond 40,000 people. Bishop's Stortford has borne the brunt of all new housing in the last twenty years and is now the largest town in the district. This growth cannot continue as it is destroying the very attractive features so highly valued by the people in the town.
Historic Market Town
- Market town ethos/appeal must be maintained
- Aesthetic features of the town must be protected and enhanced for all future generations – conservation areas and historic buildings must be preserved
- Historic features of the town should be promoted to encourage tourism
- Green Belt Map and green spaces in and around the town must be defended
- More conservation areas must be created to preserve the character of our town
- All new buildings in the town must be in styles complementary to existing historic buildings in terms of materials, scale, bulk and design and must incorporate all sustainable building features
- Housing developments must focus on traditional family homes with gardens to protect the social fabric of our community – no more flats
- Affordable housing allocations should focus on local residents' needs as a first priority
- Back garden developments and developments replacing old 'character' houses with multiple dwellings must be rejected
- EHDC, the Town Council and the BSCF must work in partnership on all strategic developments to ensure the People's Vision is paramount.
- The town centre should:
- be more welcoming with public open spaces - seating areas/meeting places
- be more appealing to all visitors – less street signage, coordinated shop signage, traditional street lighting, furniture and shop fronts
- have a better bus station
- have cycle lanes and cycle racks.
- The river frontage should be regenerated with colourful moorings, boat trips, seating and walkways – the river and towpaths should be maintained and regularly cleaned
- Unique small businesses should be encouraged to attract shoppers from outside – the town should not become a "cloned" high street
- Chain stores and retail outlets should be limited to the reasonable mix we already have and quality "high end" retailers encouraged to fill existing outlets
- Employment should be promoted by attracting major organisations and by providing quality office accommodation
- Our historic market town should be given a new heart by attracting new market traders and extending the market area by pedestrianisation of Potter Street
- Phased pedestrianisation must be implemented as outlined in the Transport Study Link taking into account the above.
- The existing Waitrose and Causeway car parks must remain because they are accessible and provide an essential facility to the town
- This historic townscape preserves the open views across the river valley from the castle mound to the church and prevents overbearing high rise developments dominating the skyline
- A sympathetically styled office block should be provided within the footprint of the demolished offices.
- Traffic congestion must be significantly reduced and properly managed against the impact of all future developments
- In conjunction with the above, a comprehensive car parking strategy embracing all car parks, on- and off street parking and residential schemes in the town must be implemented to provide additional parking
- A comprehensive Park and Ride for the town must be introduced to service business, visitors and residents
- The Transport Study must be updated to include all current developments and its recommendations should be fully implemented together with completion of the ring road
- Roads and pavements must be well maintained
- A comprehensive network of cycle paths must be created to help tackle congestion.
Infrastructure and Services
- Additional primary and secondary schooling must be provided for Bishop’s Stortford families in schools that are sited to serve all areas of the town, thereby minimising journeys by car and reducing congestion. The reserved school site on the Hadham Road should be developed to provide secondary school facilities to meet the demand for places
- Doctors' surgeries and NHS dental services must serve all local communities, with easy access to comprehensive medical care and appointments
- The town must have an Urgent Care Centre
- Indoor and outdoor sports and leisure facilities must be well maintained and extended to meet the needs of people of all ages and offer a wider range of activities, eg new squash and tennis courts, more cycle paths
- Services must be expanded to provide a Job Centre, a better Citizens' Advice Bureau, a fully opening police station/cells
- There must be an improved police presence in the town and in local communities
- The airport should not exceed its current capacity but continue to provide a link for local people/businesses with Europe and the rest of the world