By Email

Development Management
East Herts District Council
Pegs Lane
Hertford SG13 SEQ
By email, for the attention of Ms Eilis Edmonds

27 April 2021

Dear Ms Edmonds,

Ref. No: 3/21/0096/FUL: Jackson Square Shopping Centre . Demolition of the Bridge Street
elevation glazed entrance and mall rooflight ,Proposed extension, redevelopment and
reconfiguration of the Bridge Street elevation.
I write on behalf o f the Bishop’s Stortford Civic Federation t o say that we support the principle of
the Centre ‘s proposed redevelopment but strongly oject to the proposal to close its Bridge
Street entrance and not provide any replacement in its vicinity.
Our reasons for this are based on:
A. The Town Centre Planning Framework, which shows the Bridge St entrance to be part of a
primary north-South access between Link Road, Bridge Street and the Centre (see Figs 19
& 21), and the 2018 District Plan Policy BISH2, which is a s follows:
• Development proposals in Bishop’s Stortford Town Centre will be expected to take
account ot and positively contribute to, proposals contained within the Bishop’s
Stortford Town Centre Planning Framework, as appropriate.
B . User numbers for each entrance between opening and 6:00pm for the year 2019, which
t he Developer has provided and are as follows
• Bridge Street: 520,115
• Potter Street: 1,145,709
• Riverside: 1,606,915 (this comprises all users at mall-level irrespective of
whether they come from the Centre’s car park or from
the street}
C . The importance of the entrance for safe, equitable and non-discriminatory access between
the Centre and town centre facilities and residential are as to t he north, north east and east
of the, compared to Centre’s other entrances an d the parts of the town they g en erally
serve, both now and in the future .
These indu de present and future shops near to the Bridge St en trance, the town library,
Cas tle Gardens , splash-pool and Sworders’ Field – including the children’s play park, plus
the proposed ORL development – which will be an all-day facility, and not, as suggested,
evening only (Planning and Heritage Statement para 6.66}.

In r espons e to which:

  1. In its Planning and Heritage Statement the Developer acknowledges District Plan Policy
    BISH2 but doe s not acknowledge that the Town Centre Planning Framework clearly shows
    the Centre’s Bridge Street entrance as pan of that framework, and in its present position
    (Figs 19 & 21}. There fore what is being proposed re the Bridge St entrance is contrary to
    District Plan Policy BIS H 2 .
  2. Contrary to what is claimed in par a 6.67 of t he Planning and He rit age Statement closure of
    the Br idge Stre et entrance will restrict pedestrian access to the Centre and/or wider town
    c entre .T his is because up to approximately 30% of all pedestrians choose to use this
    entrance compared to 70% using Potter St. (The number of pedestrians using the Riverside
    entrance is unknown but is considered likely to be very small, based on the comparatively
    few people seen using Riverside for access, or the passage from Sooth Street alongside
    Marks and Spencer and its side and rear entrance s, or The Del ls, plus buses and taxis. Thus
    it should largely b e discounted as a pedestrian access. }
  3. The alternative routes pro posed from the present entrance (para 6.57) do not ap pear to
    account for the extra distances and time required, the risks t o user safety, and the
    accessibility to present and future facilities in t he locality and beyond, e . g . pedestrians
    from the north, northeast and east of the town. For example:
    i} via Potter St:
    a) Includes a gradient over the upper 40m o f Bridge St for those who have to use
    Palmers Lane , because they cannot/do not wish to use the Devoils Lane because of
    its ste ps to Pone r Stre et. Moreover the pavements on this section of Bridge St are
    very narrow on each side, i.e.:
    • approx . 1.0-1.2 m on the north side
    • approx . 1.2 -1.4 m on the south side
    Thus people have to step into a busy stre et to pass each other, not-withstanding
    social distancing recommendations
    b} Adds approx. 170 m to the distance in each direction from the Bridge Street
    pedestrian crossing to a point in front of Wilko comparable entering to via the
    Bridge St entrance; this amounts to approximately more 2 mins walking time in
    each direction for an able-bodied person and at least 4 mins or more for someone
    who is less able-bodied, is with young children, or is having to push someone in a
    wheelchair, for example; this results in either less time for shopping, etc to avoid
    going into the next price band, or extra costs for parking , neither of which are
    c} ls likely to direct many people in the Centre away from facilities such as the library,
    castle Park and/or Sworder’s Field and its facilities, and, thus, away from the
    independent traders in Palmers Lane, Devoils lane and Bridge Street.

ii) via the Centre ‘s car park, which will be the only level , step-free access available:
a) Shows no consideration or respect for those who are unable to use the Potter St
entrance for whatever reason. In particular:
b} ls dangerous, smelly and otherwise unpleasant, because of the vehicles and their
exhaust fumes, the poor light and the car park’s general unpleasantness, including
the entry and exit doors near the library.
c} It adds approximately 45(‘m in each direction to the distance to be walked
compared to th e present arrangement, an d about 5 extra minutes for an able bodied person, or about 10 minutes for someone less able, with young children,
etc. Th is will have an even greater impact on such people’s time for shopping or
spending on parkin g than Potter St users.
Thus t he proposed closure seems likely to create a class of users who feel so unwelcome
that t hey are discouraged f rom using the Centre at all. Also, is it contrary to disability
4 . In addition to the above , a straw poll of BSCF Face book group members in October 2020
resulted in 150 commenters, 50 of whom referred to many of the following issues in some
i} Elderly/less mobile and/or wheelchair /buggy users (the majority of comments):
• too far to walk to Potter St with wheelchair /buggy
• Bridge St pavements are very narrow and steeply uphill (especially at the top)
• cutting through the car park is dangerous
• not all mobility vehicles can fit into Jackson Square car park•
ii} The Bridge St entrance is used for:
• safe access to/ from the Library and P ark
• connectivity to causeway car parks
• access to Cooper s (from the C entre)
• easy access to the rest of tow n (i.e. a voiding the hill/granite steps}
S imil ar comments have been posted since the Planning Application has been made public
and continue t o b e made.
We consider au these are excellent reasons for the Development Management Committee to
re fuse Planning Permission until the Developer provides an appropriate step-free access
between that part of Jackson Square and the street- level and request that it acts accordingly.
Yours sincerely,
Paul Dean
Bishop’s Stortford Civic Fe deration