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Bircherley Green Redevelopment 2016

Posted: Thu 03 Nov, 2016 3:11 am
by Steve
Following discussions wth local planning officers and recent presentations to councillors and the public, it is expected that a formal lanning application for the regeneration of Bircherley Green will be submitted before the end of 2016.

The new plans envisage a 3 phase redevelopment of the site over a period of up to 2 years, featuring an 85 bed Premier Inn, 70 homes, new retail units and restaurant along the riverside. Unlike previous proposals, the bus station has been retained.

See also previous thread started in 2014 at: ... ?f=7&t=388

Re: Bircherley Green Redevelopment 2016

Posted: Thu 03 Nov, 2016 10:55 am
by SloopJohnB
I attended the Council/public meeting last evening and I must say that I haven't had such an enjoyable and entertaining evening for years. Better than watching all series of The Apprentice back to back with red wine and bombay mix served by Claudia Schiffer.

There are so many issues there is just not enough space here to cover them all. Considering that a full planning application is expected to be lodged in mid December I would advise anyone interested to get their comments in as soon as it is in the public domain.

Either the developers/planners are living in a parallel universe or I am. Not to mention some of the comments/questions from the floor. Just for a moment I was sure I was living in Hertford. But the moment passed.

Re: Bircherley Green Redevelopment 2016

Posted: Thu 03 Nov, 2016 10:58 am
by Golden
I didn't manage to get there last night but from Steve's brief description of the project it sounds awful. Welcome to Harlow phase II.

Re: Bircherley Green Redevelopment 2016

Posted: Thu 03 Nov, 2016 2:05 pm
by codek2
ah a premier inn would be bad news for all our boutique hotels i'd have thought :(

Re: Bircherley Green Redevelopment 2016

Posted: Thu 03 Nov, 2016 4:56 pm
by Steve
Views from Folly Island

Bircherley Square
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A_Elevatiom.RGB_color.jpg (55.9 KiB) Viewed 6910 times

Re: Bircherley Green Redevelopment 2016

Posted: Thu 03 Nov, 2016 5:45 pm
by Golden
Don't be fooled by artist's impressions - they deliberately use tricks to change the perspective of the drawing!

I suppose the current buildings are no oil painting so opening up the riverfront is a positive aspect however I think we should fight to the death over the inclusion of the PI!!

:evil: :evil: :evil:

Re: Bircherley Green Redevelopment 2016

Posted: Thu 03 Nov, 2016 10:24 pm
by Smudger
I was at the meeting last night also.

I think there are lots of positives, but some pretty big negatives.

What I liked
What they have done with the riverside is the best so far, using Cafes/restaurants to liven it up.
Bigger shop units to bring in National chains makes sense - I'm a big supporter of small independant shops, but you also need a balance, and there are plenty of empty shop buildings in town, so no shortage of premises for new independants.
I liked the desire to include the NHS in some way if possible.

What I was neutral on
Inclusion of a Hotel
A lot of new restaurants - is there too many ? Will current restaurants get an opportunity to relocate to what will probably be an attractive location ?

What I didn't like
Totally inadequate parking - the current car park has not been extended, and has to also service an 80 room hotel and 70 odd flats - ridiculous
The loss of Waitrose - but they were determined to leave it seems
A few individuals at the meeting who thought we'd all come to here them
The Folly Island lobby who seem to think it's all about them
The middle class snobbery when the brand "Premier Inn" was mentioned

Re: Bircherley Green Redevelopment 2016

Posted: Fri 04 Nov, 2016 9:43 am
by Kateg28
Is the inclusion of a premier inn so bad if it does inject some investment into the area and help rejuvenate it?

The premier inn is a different market to our boutique hotels, there are times when I seek a hotel like the premier inn (just a clean room and a shower) but other times when I want a boutique type hotel and refuse the cheaper chains.

Re: Bircherley Green Redevelopment 2016

Posted: Fri 04 Nov, 2016 10:19 am
by Golden
My PI reference was tongue in cheek and I have spent many nights on business and pleasure in their establishments - however it is a bit symptomatic of the whole development being promised major changes initially and now it appears to be that as Waitrose is definitely going :x :x that the current version is high density occupation. Still it used to be a bus station and that's what it will become as without any big attraction its not going to get the footfall in my opinion and coupled with the demise of town centres (I happen to think that Hertford isn't doing too badly on this front) the area could become a liability.

Re: Bircherley Green Redevelopment 2016

Posted: Fri 04 Nov, 2016 10:43 am
by SloopJohnB
On Wednesday night the developer stated that Premier inns were expected to sign on the dotted line within two weeks subject of course to planning permission being granted. Waitrose was mentioned but only in the sense that they are now not being considered as a tenant, or at all - the hotel will now be Diageo's anchor tenant supported by what is likely to be a much larger Boots.

Up until now Waitrose have been the major tenant contributing almost half of all rental income and maintenance costs. That shortfall has to be recovered for the owner is Diageo Pension Fund and their prime object is to secure and safeguard income for their pensioners. With the number of flats now reduced in the plans there is obviously a major reshuffling of where income will come from.

Now, call me cynical. I wrote in March that on Wrenbridge's Twitter feed on December 15 2015 they mention plans will be submitted to include a hotel. In all the previous consultations a hotel was never mentioned. Until that it is Tibbalds released their report in February 2016 on the Design and Vision Strategy and supported the idea of a hotel. I don't remember this being in any of their many consultations either. So what came first; the chicken or the egg.

If Bircherley Green was a new development today then there would be no problem with a river facing plan. Better than the brickworkss currently in place. The only problem is that the river wall that side is crumbling and in the artists impressions it is a fine example of the bricklayers art. And underneath all that is two septic tanks, no longer blocked so Starbucks doesn't flood any more but this is a major operation as anyone who watched the work being dome on a smaller length outside the Barge can testify.

I didn't notice the other night but there are no flats facing the river. The space above what is Waitrose now will remain. That s their store room and electric/power supply areas etc. I don't know what might happen with the first floor now. And of course there is still time for Waitrose to come back to the table unless there is movement over at Van Hages which we don't know about.

There are still a lot of balls being juggled about believe me. But Wrenbridge do not want a protracted application - you can bet that everything that is being proposed including parking and traffic flow has been researched by some of the best in the land. Premier must think there is money to be made otherwise why would they commit themselves.

A few comments as I am waiting for the gas man to call - as fans of Flanders & Swann will sympathise.