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Council Meeting Notes
Andrew Figgis – Economic Development Officer for District Council
Ben Wood – Communications and Marketing for District Council
Ausra Bitinaite – Town Centre Officer for Hertford Council
Martin Berry – Micks Barbers
Harry LeCarpentier – Shy Studios Ltd
We asked: What are the plans for the Birchley Green development now that Chase New Homes (referred to as Chase hereafter) have taken over?
The reply: Chase have not committed to any plans yet. As they are a private company, no time limits can be set or imposed as Chase are only accountable to their shareholders.
We asked: Are the plans for Birchley Green to remain the same as they were when Wrenbridge Land Ltd (referred to as Wrenbridge hereafter) had the development?
The reply: no changes have been made. The council have used Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design to asses if there is still a viable market for a mixed development (retail and residential) and they will have the final report soon. But initial finding show that this is still a viable development plan so the council would like to think that Chase will push forward with development as is but cannot guarantee that at this time.
We asked: Is phase one of the development (the hotel) going ahead as there has been talk that this is happening
The reply: The hotel is not a guarantee, it is all agreed on paper, but chase can pull this at any time.
There is a scheme in place for a trader in the town to be given a grant to allow members of the public free use of the facilities, however there are a number of criteria that need to be met and this would only be for a single establishment in the town.
The council are in talks with Chase to allow the public toilets at the bus station to be re-opened and maintained by the council
We suggested allowing market traders to use Old London Road carpark for free on a Saturday and Hartam carpark free for the public on Saturday to help encourage weekend trade. They will be speaking to the relevant department about this.
When asked about the cost of opening the Birchley Green car park again, the only solid figures the council had where from Wrenbridge and they had said that it would cost the council £10,000pcm for the running of the carpark. We were told they believed these were inflated costs by Wrenbridge to try and avoid opening the carpark at all as this would have caused them disruption. They have said that they will ask Chase about using the carpark, however they did say that they aren’t overly hopeful that this will be an option.
We asked about extending the 30 minutes free parking in Gascoyne Way car park. It was suggested that we petition the relevant councilors directly as this would hold more weight.
Another suggestion made by the council is to make a section the Taxi rank on fore street temporary parking bays, however we would most likely need support from the taxi drivers on this.
We have been offered a small amount of funding (no firm amount was mentioned) for the organisation as they are very keen for us to continue with this and be a voice for the members. The funding can be used for things like chamber of commerce meeting to help decide the best structure for our organisation and a marketing budget to help raise awareness and possible help fund online campaigns.
Overall the feeling from the meeting from Tony, Martin and myself was positive and feel like we have been heard and will continue to be heard if we can direct our opinions, concerns’ and thoughts in a well-structured and constructive manner.
Next Steps for Us
We have a meeting booked at the Hertford Club, Lombard House, Bull Plain, Hertford SG14 1DT at 9.30am. This is an open meeting for anyone that would like to be involved and put their opinion across. Please share this information and invite anyone you feel would benefit from attending.