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Old River Lane, Bishop's Stortford

East Herts Council is committed to investing in the future of East Herts and has worked with Allies & Morrison and Montagu Evans to create a high level land use proposal for the Old River Lane site in Bishop's Stortford.

The land use proposal was approved by Full Council on 13 December. The next stage will be to create a detailed masterplan for Old River Lane, develop a planning application for the multi-storey car park and secure funding for an arts centre. 

Old River Lane - Master Plan [1Mb]

We are in discussion with Herts County Council, Bishop's Stortford Town Council and Rhodes Birthplace Trust during the creation of this proposal and we will continue to work with these partners, and others, to ensure we get this right for everyone in Bishop's Stortford.

The key elements of the proposal for the site include:

  • New arts and cultural centre with a 500 seat theatre and niche cinema, potentially the library, one stop shop for council services, hot desking workspace and café
  • Housing
  • Retail/restaurant space (detail still to be defined)
  • A new public square, pedestrianised areas, and clear walkways through to Castle Park
  • A multi storey car park to the north of the site  

These recommended elements have been made based on feedback from a consultation held in 2016 on the framework document that looked at future options for Bishop's Stortford Town Centre.

The consultation found that:

  • 65% of respondents felt that recommendations to improve culture and leisure were good or excellent. They also felt the town lacked a good music venue, the Rhodes Arts Complex was too far out of town and there was a lack of entertainment for teens.
  • 56% of respondents thought suggestions to develop retail were good or excellent and were keen to see a greater range of independent stores.
  • 62% of respondents rated the ideas for improved public spaces as either good or excellent and were excited by the potential for better access to Castle Park.
  • Lack of parking in the town was also highlighted as a concern.

FAQs

When will this work begin?

Now that the land use proposal has been approved we can move on to the next stage in the process This will be to submit a planning application for the multi-storey car park at Northgate End early in 2018, to create a detailed masterplan for Old River Lane, and secure funding for an arts centre, all before we can submit a planning application for the main Old River Lane site.

How long will it take to build?

We would hope to be on site with the new multi storey car park by January 2019.

At this stage we're not able to provide specifics on the main Old River Lane site, until we have a more detailed masterplan in place, but sites of this size tend to take 2-3 years to complete.

What will happen to the Rhodes Art Complex?

We have been in discussion with Rhodes Birthplace Trust and will continue to work with them moving forward to find the best solution for the town and the Arts Complex.  Up until any potential relocation of the arts centre business, Rhodes will continue to provide the wide-ranging programme which Bishop's Stortford has come to love - as demonstrated through its loyal audiences and visitors.

What will be in the arts centre?

The proposal includes a 500 seat theatre and niche cinema, potentially the library, one stop shop for council services, hot desking workspace and café.  We will spend the new few months refining the detail of this proposal in partnership with the Rhodes Trust and Bishop's Stortford Town Council.

When will the multi-storey car park open?

Again, it is too early to say at this stage as a planning application will not go in until the new year. If approved, we would expect construction to take around 12 months.

What shops will be there?

This is yet to be decided, and depends largely on who the council chooses to help us develop the scheme.  We will be looking for options that complement what's already here, ensuring high quality.

What about the Causeway car park?

The proposals suggest building retail and residential property on this site and moving the existing car parking spaces to the new proposed multi-storey car park. Waitrose car park (which Waitrose operate separately) will not move.  However, the entrance to the car park is proposed to be moved to the North of the site alongside the side of the store.

Can the council afford this?

The council will work with partners to secure funding for the site. The council is committed to investing in the future of Bishop's Stortford for our current and future residents and visitors.22

For more informations please read the  Old River Lane Arts Centre Project - Heads of Terms for Partnership Agreement [84kb] between East Herts Council, Bishop's Stortford Town Council and Rhodes Birthplace Trust.