Bircherley Green Redevelopment
The Bircherley Green Shopping Centre was built in the early 1980s, on land that had previously been a large bus station and car park, together with a shopping arcade, disused grain store and maltings.
The estate is owned by the Deagio Pension Fund and covers the pedestrian precinct, shops fronting Railway Street and the bus station.
For most of it's 30 years the retail units have been fully occupied, with Waitrose as the anchor tenant.
Until recently the car park and bus station were leased to East Herts District Council, but this lease was given up to allow the centre to be redeveloped into a modern shopping environment.
In August 2014 a public exhibition was held to display some of the options for the centre and get feedback from the public, before the submission of a planning application.
However, the support of Waitrose or other anchor tenant was vital for any redevelopment to go ahead, and the John Lewis owned supermarket made it clear that the plans for the precinct did not offer an attractive site and they were looking to occupy an out-of-town store at Little Amwell.
Great Amwell Store
Plans for the new Waitrose store at Little Amwell were controversially approved by the District Council in 2015. However, following the threat of a judicial review by the new Asda store in Ware and subsequent legal advice to the District Council, the plans were sent back to the Develoment Management Committee. On the day before the committee were due to meet to discuss the plans, Waitrose and Van Hage (the site owners) withdrew the plans. Despite claiming that they were going to review and resubmit the plans, no further planning application was submitted.
The Waitrose store remains at Bircherley Green on a short term renewable lease.
In October and November 2016, new plans for Bircherley Green were shown to local councillors and the public at meetings and exhibitions in the town.
The plans featured a 3 phase redevelopment featuring an 85 bed Premier Inn hotel, 70 homes , retail units and an improved bus station and river frontage. A formal planning application is expected to be submitted before the end of the year.
This article was last updated on 3rd November 2016.