11:10 Wednesday 06 February 2013

Stortford law firm set to quit town centre

Written bySinead Holland

ONE of Bishop’s Stortford’s oldest businesses is set to quit the town centre.

Tanners Wharf in London Road, Bishop's Stortford
Tanners Wharf in London Road, Bishop's Stortford

Tees Solicitors has confirmed it is in talks about a move from the High Street to Tanners Wharf – just a week after neighbouring tailors Tissimans announced it was shutting up shop after four centuries.

The law firm, founded in 1913 by Herbert Stanley Tee, which has over 200 employees in the town and offices at Cambridge, Chelmsford, Dunmow, Northampton and Saffron Walden, is bound for the office block at Marriott Court previously earmarked for a new medical centre.

David Redfern, senior partner, said: “I can say that we are in negotiations with a developer that may result in our relocation to Marriott Court in due course.”

The move has prompted speculation about the future of the historic High Street premises of both Tees and Tissimans as plans progress for the adjacent Pearsons site, fronting North Street.

Mr Redfern said: “The business does not own the freeholds in the High Street, Bishop's Stortford, but the owners of those are in connected discussion about their sale. It is far too early to say what future plans may be made in relation to the High Street.

“Neither the business nor the owners of the freeholds have any connection with, or involvement in, any part of the former Pearson's site or its future.”

Richard Coke, of Coke Gearing Chartered Surveyors, is the agent for Tanners Wharf Ltd.

Last year the developer went into battle over plans for a Stortford super-surgery and emerged victorious when East Herts District Council approved its scheme for the building off London Road and rejected the rival scheme for Silver Leys from Care Capital.

Both were bidding to provide a new base for the existing South Street surgery, but this week Mr Coke confirmed the change of direction: “We are in discussions with a major local occupier … hopefully everything will be signed by the end of February.”

He said negotiations with the South Street surgery were currently on hold – with an appeal pending on the Silver Leys site and uncertainty about how plans for 2,200 homes from the Bishop’s Stortford North Consortium will affect future demand for GP services.

However as Marriott Court comprises of two, near identical 25,000 sq ft blocks, it would still be possible to accommodate a medical centre, regardless of the Tees Solicitors move, in the future if required.

Mr Coke confirmed that developers behind plans to revitalise the former Pearsons site would be meeting with East Herts District Council planners shortly to discuss options.

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