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Stortford railway station trader steps up fight as town councillors object to redevelopment plans

By Herts & Essex Observer  |  Posted: May 17, 2013

Nibbles owner Sue Loder (centre) with staff Linda Maylong (left) and Jeanette Bryan

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A TRADER facing eviction from Bishop’s Stortford railway station as part of redevelopment plans has stepped up her fight to keep the business – as town councillors object to the proposals.

Nibbles owner Susan Loder says her “world came crashing down” when train operator Greater Anglia served her with a six-month notice to quit on the business she has run on platform one for 22 years.

She has since discovered that several other independent traders across the country are facing the same fate as train operators look to upgrade stations. After gaining support from both Stortford MP Mark Prisk and Eric Pickles MP Mrs Loder, who also owns a shop at Broxbourne station, has called for the government to step in.

Plans for a £1.7million upgrade to Stortford station – which include the construction of a new entrance incorporating ticket office, concourse and retail unit – were discussed at a meeting of the town council’s planning and development committee on Monday night.

Addressing the meeting, Mrs Loder said: “I’m not against the redevelopment but we don’t want to lose the identity we have in the town. I’ve run a successful business for 22 years and I’d like to continue to.”

Councillors echoed the need for redevelopment at the site but raised concerns about the proposed design of the building which features a glass and aluminium frontage.

Cllr Keith Warnell said there were similarities between this application and that which was originally put forward by Aldi for their nearby site.

“When the Aldi development of glass and steel came before us it did not fit; it jarred with the environment and got chucked out,” he said.

“It seems to me this is a similar situation. It’s a needed development but it has got to be more sympathetic to the area.”

Committee members were also concerned about the loss of retail units at the station.

The proposals were unanimously objected to by councillors and the final decision will be made by East Herts District Council.

• Confusion was caused by the appearance of a WHSmith logo on the proposals for the new station, despite Greater Anglia stating that no decisions have been made regarding the future retail facilities, nor the choice of future tenant. A spokesperson said the logo was for “illustrative purposes only”.

A spokeswoman for WHSmith said: “As a leading national retailer, we continually look for new opportunities but have nothing to announce regarding this development.”

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