Henderson Global Investors has been granted outline planning approval, subject to referral to the Secretary of State for Communities and local government and signing of Section 106 legal agreement, for its retail-led, mixed-use scheme at Old River Lane, Bishop's Stortford.
Henderson, on behalf of its UK Property Fund, is investing £105 million (approx. 120 million) in the over 3.5 hectare site in the northeast corner of the town center. The scheme includes a new department store; approximately 35 shops, of which 10 are smaller units designed for independent traders; restaurants; a digital cinema, a hotel, circa 670 parking spaces and up to 100 new residential units.
The planning permission and conservation area consent follow extensive consultation with a number of key residents and business groups in the town, as well as members of Bishop's Stortford Town Council and East Herts District Council.
This has resulted in a number of improvements to the scheme including: increased parking levels; the reduction of building heights, most notably to better reflect heritage assets such as the United Reformed Church; and the realignment of the central East-West route to provide direct access between North Street, via Florence Walk, and the Castle, including the addition of a proposed new bridge across the River Stort.
The scheme is subject to referral to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (under the Town and Country Planning (Flooding) (England) Direction 2007). It contains four main areas, which will be fully pedestrianized and contain two new public squares, as well as an additional open, shared space, opposite the United Reformed Church. It has been carefully designed to fit in with the eclectic architectural style of the town and to enhance the conservation area in which it sits.
The site is currently occupied by the East Hertfordshire District Council 'Causeway' offices, an East Hertfordshire District Council 'pay and display' car park and the Waitrose car park.
Cameron Fraser, Fund Manager of the Henderson UK Property Fund said: "We are pleased to have been granted outline planning permission and conservation area consent for the scheme at Old River Lane and firmly believe that it will improve the fortunes of all businesses in the town, with an additional £50 million in retail spending expected per year once the scheme is complete.
"It will also significantly add to the public space and range of facilities that are available in this historic market town as well as improve access to the town's important heritage assets, such as the Castle and the United Reformed Church.
"We committed from the outset to listen to the views of people