Plans for the redevelopment of Bircherley Green shopping centre have been approved by the district council's Development Control Committee this evening.
Following a 2 hour virtual meeting, members voted 11-1 to approve the planning application to provide homes, commercial floorspace and parking at the derelict town centre site.
Committee members expressed concern about lack of visitor moorings, cycle storage security and low numbers of charging points in the car park. The proposed medical facility is still under negotiation.
Questions were also asked about deliveries having to use the river frontage and potential conflicts between traffic and people.
Of the 188 spaces in the car park, 40 are allocated to residential use, 5 car club spaces, with the remaining 143 to be pay-and-display. The proposals include 10 car charging points. There are also 112 cycle parking spaces.
Cllrs. Jeff Jones (Con, Buntingford) and Carolyn Redfern (Lab, Hertford Sele) lamented to lack of affordable housing and Section 106 payments to support local infrastructure. Both the developer and independent consultants engaged by the council have reported that the scheme would not be viable if affordable housing and S106 payments were made a condition of planning permission being granted.
Following the decision, Jan Goodeve, executive member for planning and growth, said: "I am truly delighted that approval has been given for the redevelopment of Bircherley Green, it will bring much needed social and economic benefits to our town adding both variety and vibrancy."
Developer Chase New Homes hope to start work in August and see buildings emerging from the ground by Christmas.
Updated 26/6/20 to include quote from Jan Goodeve
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