Bircherley Green Redevelopment 2016

News and views on shopping in the county town.
SloopJohnB
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Re: Bircherley Green Redevelopment 2016

Postby SloopJohnB » Sun 26 Feb, 2017 1:10 pm

The first thing that struck me about the River Lea elevation was that the toblerone shaped white Waitrose buildings which appeared on all previous plans have been replaced with a straight line and bricks. I don't remember anyone saying that this was going to be changed. However these are due for demolition along with everything else.

I asked about The Mall because it seemed that this was a straight run from Railway Street to the river. Are there going to be any bollards I asked. Now I know. Trees and benches so cars can't travel down there which is a good thing I suppose. On the other hand good practice for skateboarders and a place to lay one's head after the odd convivial pint in town. I like Rollercoaster Tycoon and always put in plenty of rubbish bins. I assume there will be these as well. Then there is the overhead lights in the Mall and lamps along the river. I haven't read every single line of the application but must assume that these will have a turn off switch so that I can view the stars whilst lying in the gutter. Otherwise a prime candidate for night time light pollution.

Whilst on the subject I said that this was opening up the whole shopping centre whereas before it was gated after 9.00pm latest. Now the car park has to be 24/7 owing to the new residents and hotel guests. At first I heard that the first floor of the car park was for the hotel but this has been turned on its head and the top floors - 70 spaces - for residents. This must increase the noise level as night falls and increase fuel pollution. So, we have bodies, cars and sundry other town users with full access to numerous shortcuts across town with spots to catch up on sleep, use a toilet and take in the ambient scenery every minute of every day. I mentioned plumbing the centre's CCTV into the main town watch scheme but haven't read anything about that yet.

I have to put my faith in the planning system to address these issues.

On the positive side it is worth downloading the Heritage statement for the historic photographs at least.

Re: wardclan. I noticed too that someone had been busy with varied coloured spray cans from Old Cross to Bull Plain and beyond. I would surmise that this is part of the town centre regeneration plan to replace broken pavements and other street furniture. Not before time. I understand the Town Council had half of the necessary funds from the New Homes build project but were looking for the rest. So, hopefully funding in place and those coloured squiggles will be obliterated.

wardclan
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Re: Bircherley Green Redevelopment 2016

Postby wardclan » Tue 04 Apr, 2017 6:00 pm

Does anyone know what the next stage of the process is?

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Steve
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Re: Bircherley Green Redevelopment 2016

Postby Steve » Wed 05 Apr, 2017 3:16 am

wardclan wrote:Does anyone know what the next stage of the process is?

A planning application has been submitted. The public and statutory consultees have been invited to comment.

A Planning Officer will then make a recommendation based on planning policy.

The District Councils's planning committee will then meet to discuss to proposal and the planning officers recommendation and make a final decision.

FWIW Hertford Civic Society have urged the Council to refuse planning permission.

SloopJohnB
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Re: Bircherley Green Redevelopment 2016

Postby SloopJohnB » Wed 05 Apr, 2017 9:49 am

FWIW Hertford Civic Society have urged the Council to refuse planning permission.
- no surprise there then.

However something else for you all to ponder. Waitrose will be closing for good in September - pick a date, any date between 1 and 30 - and their premises will be empty. In the event that planing permission is refused that unit is going to remain empty for some time. Wrenbrdge have stated at public meetings and with other stakeholders that the site was offered to many other players and all refused on the grounds that they required parking on the flat, amongst others.

This is going to leave Diageo Pension Fund as owners - who it must be remembered are responsible to their pensioners - with a huge drop in rental income not to mention responsibility for the rates. They will find it difficult to sell the centre with no anchor A star tenant and no one else wants to come in. I understand that a few other tenants are also on the point of leaving if not already so that is another drop in the pension fund coffers. If I recall the meeting at the River Room Premier Inn have signed on the dotted line 'subject to planning consent.'

As I may have mentioned once or twice!! on these boards what happens when Waitrose leave? No Waitrose, no redevelopment, no Section 106's and possibly no Bircherley Green Shopping Centre either. So as I have said to a few people who have listened - sometimes you have to get in bed with the devil.

wardclan
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Re: Bircherley Green Redevelopment 2016

Postby wardclan » Wed 05 Apr, 2017 1:36 pm

Yes why would you oppose change and watch Hertford slowly slide into a second rate town, I for one will be keeping my fingers crossed it all gets approved

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Steve
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Re: Bircherley Green Redevelopment 2016

Postby Steve » Wed 05 Apr, 2017 1:53 pm

wardclan wrote:Yes why would you oppose change and watch Hertford slowly slide into a second rate town, I for one will be keeping my fingers crossed it all gets approved

Yes, why would you oppose Hertford becoming another Stevenage or Harlow ;)

SloopJohnB
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Re: Bircherley Green Redevelopment 2016

Postby SloopJohnB » Wed 05 Apr, 2017 3:58 pm

Steve no one is suggesting that the whole of Hertford town centre is demolished to make way for a multi-store mega complex. I dislike Harlow and Stevenage in equal measures but last time I went to Harlow I managed to buy clothes that matched my figure and desires. I can't buy them in Herford. If you had been to as many steering groups, strategy meetings and town centre workshops as I had then you will appreciate that no one here and in Ware either wants to shop outside the town. It is a necessity now.

Bircherley Green occupies a finite space. It has no historic or architectural merit and everyone at the Design and Vision workshops saw a need to revitalise the river front. It is an eyesore. Transforming the river is now part of the Local Plan and in sympathy with Government guidance. You can't do it without demolishing part of the infrastructure.

The day time economy is almost dead. Many of the traders that I have known for years and still trading say the same thing: 'there's nothing in Hertford to come into town for'. There are no office staff to browse W H Smith during the lunchtime, or pore over the crab sandwiches at their favourite coffee bar.

Like everyone I have some reservations about this redevelopment. However without some key attractors in the centre then no one will want to come to Hertford. Hopefully if you can get the shoppers in then the Council(s) may be able to persuade them to spend their hard earned elsewhere in town and kick start a tourist boom.

Waitrose contribution to Diageo in terms of rent, rates and maintenance charges is enormous - I know the figures. No one has yet explained to me how this is going to be replaced. What will Diageo do - put yourself in their shoes. Waitrose is going - some people can't get their head around this, It will happen and there will be big hole in town. Others will be discouraged from investing without a big name in situ. This current plan is not the first - not by a long way. I know of at least Plans A, B and C before the current farrago started in 2014 and before anyone had heard of Van Hages. Everything that could be done was proposed to Waitrose but they always wanted out.

If this application gets thrown out then I don't think there will be another. Back to the drawing board will delay and delay again. Everyone's patience will have been eroded and nothing will happen apart from the end of days.

I was going to correct my mis-spelling of Hertford (first para) but Cllr Ruffles tells me that this is how we should pronounce our town - silent t - so I will leave it as it is.

wardclan
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Re: Bircherley Green Redevelopment 2016

Postby wardclan » Thu 29 Jun, 2017 11:29 am

Lots of rejections to plans on the east Herts site to redevelopment proposals , i must admit it puzzles me. It seems locals and those of neighbouring towns and villages are happy with charity shops , pound stretchers , boarded up premises and an uninspiring riverfront ..........

SloopJohnB
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Re: Bircherley Green Redevelopment 2016

Postby SloopJohnB » Thu 29 Jun, 2017 2:16 pm

wardclan wrote:Lots of rejections to plans on the east Herts site to redevelopment proposals , i must admit it puzzles me. It seems locals and those of neighbouring towns and villages are happy with charity shops , pound stretchers , boarded up premises and an uninspiring riverfront


Well, nothing surprises me anymore.I know you mention lots of rejections but as at today there were 117 comments - 89 objections, 22 in support and 6 neutral. Many of the objectors have lodged two letters and in some cases three so that figure is not quite so overwhelming; then add in those who have objected and don't even live in the District. On the other hand for a town of 27,000 souls and growing it is a poor response to something that will affect everyone living here. Of great entertainment is the document posted by Planning which summarises all the objections and comments to the development. It can be found under documents on the planning page. Some are quite bizarre; many have already been incorporated into the evolving plans.

The Development Management Committee meet on 19th July to determine the application. The majority do not live in Hertford or have a business in Hertford; they represent Bishops Stortford and the rurals. On the other hand owing to one of the most bizarre meeting anyone can remember they did vote for the Van Hage's application to develop a store on the site - apparently Waitrose, but this was overturned after Asda played the Green Belt card. Who knows what will be on their minds this time round.

More important Waitrose shut their doors for the final time at 4.00pm on Tuesday September 12th. The Luxury Soap Co has already gone, Hobbs the hairdressers closed last Saturday and Freedom Australia emigrated from Centurion House some months ago. Other moves and closures are imminent. This does not look good for the town centre. Even if the application is approved it will be many months until any work can start. In the meantime Christmas will have come and gone.

Wrenbridge have been back and forward to Planning and other groups and have tried to accommodate everyone's views. All the operators of boutique cinemas turned the offer down of a site in Hertford. No one will take on the riverside property unless there is parking on the flat. The NHS has been extremely backwards in coming forward. A new submission for a GP surgery will have to be made if the NHS finally make up their mind.

I'm afraid that this application is the only white knight on the horizon; no one else is going to pump money into the town and if the application is refused outright who could blame Diageo if they pulled the plug and said 'adios Hertford'.

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Steve
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Re: Bircherley Green Redevelopment 2016

Postby Steve » Fri 30 Jun, 2017 1:56 am

Indeed. This is a huge investment in the town and compromises have to be made. It's far from perfect but given the needs of the town versus the needs of the developer, this is probably the best that can be achieved. Wrenbridge have put a huge effort in to this and deserve more credit. If the planning application is refused then the town centre will rapidly decline and I don't think anyone wants to see that.


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