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Bishop’s Stortford retirement homes plan moves a step closer

By Herts & Essex Observer  |  Posted: March 06, 2013

Comments (9)

THE first phase of ambitious plans to regenerate an important gateway into Bishop’s Stortford has been granted planning consent.

Churchill Retirement Living has won approval to demolish the dilapidated South Street Commercial Centre to make way for 50 retirement homes.

The retail premises at 71-77 South Street, which fall within the conservation zone, are currently home to Polish delicatessen Polski Sklep, takeways Master Fryer, Shekos and Pizza Line, and the Baby Boy Tattoo Studio.

Several conditions have been laid down by planning authority East Herts District Council, including that demolition shall not begin before permission has been granted for the redevelopment of the site to ensure “the historic and architectural character of the locality is not disrupted by a vacant site for any lengthy period of time”.

Churchill revealed its proposed sheltered housing scheme for the eyesore town centre site in January. The complex of 52 self-contained flats would be overseen by Millstream Management Services and would provide accommodation for a lodge manager, car parking and 432 sq m of retail floor space.

Residents would have access to a range of communal facilities, such as a lounge area, treatment room, guest suite for overnight visitors and garden.

A report on the need for more private retirement housing in East Herts, which was submitted as part of Churchill’s application, says that the number of people over 65 in the district is expected to grow by 18,300 - an increase of 84.7 per cent - by 2035.

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  • Herts & Essex Observer  |  March 10 2013, 2:00PM

    EH dont 'List' themselves. They expect public to do the applications and its a bit arduous so that I guess is why it doesnt happen unless someone has the time and passion. But Town Council did host a working group about 3 years ago that identified possible buildings; then handed over to Civic Fed but nothing directly happened. In the background EHDC got on with a very protracted process (due to amount of work across all of E Herts) on a Conservation Area Assessment for BS. The draft was published in Aug last year but depsite a flurry of "ooh, ahh, isnt that interesting" and 'is my house mentioned?' I dont know of much or any public feedback to EHDC, (was going to check on that next week anyway). You might put the parking idea to the Post Office (which is effectively a private company) - had heard they might be closing their office there though

  • Herts & Essex Observer  |  March 09 2013, 9:26AM

    Thank you "Some answers". Why doesn't the Council demand something be done? For example, why not have English Heritage List the properties (obviously not the former fuel station). The fuel station could be leased for additional parking (Post Office vans?) to get them off the road where they get parking tickets (which we all pay for ultimately). There are a whole host of ideas out there some good, some terrible. The Council (Town and District) have got to get their PR working. If the Council tell people what the problems are then we will all be more understanding. Saying nothing breeds distrust and disbelief. It isn't complicated. And by the way the Council employees issuing the parking tickets are the worst PR ever. There is a sea change in the country. We are all getting fed up with our authorities not listening. That is why UKIP are doing so well.

  • Herts & Essex Observer  |  March 08 2013, 1:18PM

    The owner of the former petrol site pays business rates on an empty site,(their choice even if the logic is not apparent). The owner lives in a nearby village and so is 'local'. Several developers have made approaches to the owner and been declined, (no clear reason known). Council does not have the funds to Compulsory Purchase at market rate and then pay to develop (what?) or then try to sell on.

  • Herts & Essex Observer  |  March 07 2013, 2:45PM

    The petrol station and attractive neighbouring properties are a disgrace. The sites ought to be compulsorarily purchased and developed. Totally unacceptable with the housing shortage and lack of income from business rates and council tax.

  • Herts & Essex Observer  |  March 07 2013, 1:42PM

    I must say it would be nice to have the lower end of South Street redeveloped entirely. It is an eye-sore almost the moment you pass the Jolly Brewer all the way up to Chinese restaurant and Bo Jangles on the other side. Also 50 and still breathing - whether the site is owned by a private individual or not, the truth is that 'developers' who defer development (as you seem to suggest they are doing) are impacting quite dramatically on the planning process. If they are not prepared to develop the site but have submitted planning applications, there should be an element of compulsion to have at least a portion of the site developed within a certain time frame. Instead a perfectly useable and derelict brownfield site is not being used in a central location and it is compelling other developers to find greenfield / greenbelt sites for development. There are a number of ugly sites across central Stortford which owners are seemingly happy to sit on for private gain with almost zero consideration for the community for both the aesthetic damage they create and the subsequent urban sprawl of other developers.

  • Herts & Essex Observer  |  March 07 2013, 12:33PM

    50 - thank you for the info; I still don't understand why the comment about leaving a site vacant doesn't appear to apply to the planning permissions given for the old petrol station site. However, I do believe that councils have some powers to enforce action when sites become an eyesore.

  • Herts & Essex Observer  |  March 07 2013, 12:09PM

    As far as I am aware, the old petrol station and adjoining properties in South Street are owned by a private individual and the site has had a couple of planning applications on it, which I believe have been passed. However,surely it is up the indiviudal owner whether he chooses to develop the site or not.If the owner feels that he may achieve a higher price by deferring any re-development, then that is up to him!

  • Herts & Essex Observer  |  March 06 2013, 7:11PM

    Disruption to a historic area by a vacant site for a lengthy period? So what about the empty petrol station and houses further down the road on the opposite side? Could a local councillor tell us who owns those sites and why they are not being developed?

  • Herts & Essex Observer  |  March 06 2013, 1:40PM

    "Dilapidated" along with its cousin "Run-down" is increasingly heard these days. Wonder if the owners deliberately with-held maintenance to 'help' along the Planning process? BTW, how is a Conservation Area 'conserved' if the buildings within it are demolished - it's a mystery? :) More ghastly, inappropriate, Flats - BS should be renamed Developers' FlatTown. :/