Bircherley Green Redevelopment

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Golden
Posts: 221
Joined: Sun 01 Dec, 2013 10:36 am

Re: Bircherley Green Redevelopment

Postby Golden » Fri 20 Feb, 2015 6:22 pm

Do you have a link for that Hugh?

Hugh
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Joined: Sat 07 Dec, 2013 12:12 pm

Re: Bircherley Green Redevelopment

Postby Hugh » Sat 21 Feb, 2015 10:25 am

Sorry, it was sent to my inbox as I am a member. If I forward the link it opens my inbox.

SloopJohnB
Posts: 112
Joined: Mon 02 Feb, 2015 12:46 pm

Re: Bircherley Green Redevelopment

Postby SloopJohnB » Sat 21 Feb, 2015 11:16 am

I think you'll find that this is a web page put up by the interested parties in 2013. The link is: http://waitrosevanhage.co.uk/index.html.

I only came across this by accident early last year so plans have been well afoot for some time. The website was never advertised and few if anyone who I have spoken to knew about it. I only discovered it because I like putting different strings into Google - quite surprising what turns up sometimes. If you read the whole site you will realise just how old this is and has never been updated, no reference to the actual application, no reference to the withdrawal and no reference to the current and revised (!) application. Can't think why they bothered in the first place because as a PR exercise it completely fails.

However this is confusing the situation because this is not connected to the Bircherley Green Regeneration (!) Plan as being submitted by Wrenbridge. If you look at their site: http://bircherleygreenregeneration.com/ you will see that the timetable is also much askew. Rumour has it that their planning application is due shortly. However Waitrose have made it very clear that that have no intention of staying in Hertford whether this goes ahead or not. So we have the possible scenario that East Herts will again instruct Planning to recommend refusal at Van Hages to encourage Waitrose to stay in Hertford, who do not wish to (see their documentation accompanying the application by CPRE on behalf of Van Hages). They could shut their doors for good in 2016 when their lease expires and continue scouring the bowels of Hertfordshire looking for a suitable site - see their background information on all possible alternative sites which have been rejected for one reason or another. So, if you're breathless from reading that, then you could be faced with no Waitrose at all.

With all my contacts in various seats of power I don't know anyone who has the slightest idea what is going on - apart from Mr Ruffles who told me last year that it was a race to planning. Whatever that means and he usually talks to me in code anyway.

Golden
Posts: 221
Joined: Sun 01 Dec, 2013 10:36 am

Re: Bircherley Green Redevelopment

Postby Golden » Wed 25 Mar, 2015 9:45 pm

Mercury reporting that the Waitrose/Van Hage development has been approved :o :o :o

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Steve
Project Leader
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Re: Bircherley Green Redevelopment

Postby Steve » Thu 26 Mar, 2015 12:55 am

Golden wrote:Mercury reporting that the Waitrose/Van Hage development has been approved :o :o :o

This is a huge shock as as the plans were recommended for refusal by the council's planning officers.

I'd suggest there's a case for a judicial review here.

It looks as if the committee's decision was influenced by a letter sent to all councillors five days ago by Chris Roberts, Van Hage's Chairman and MD.

This is the letter:
http://www.hertford.net/chris-roberts-l ... h-2015.pdf

Edited to add:
I've just watched the webcast of the meeting and was struck by the long and compelling argument made by Planning Officer Tim Hagyard for refusing planning permission (ably supported by Perter Ruffles). However, a Ware District Councillor Malcolm Alexander (who lives in Windsor) was vocal in supporting the plans, although his arguments were often nothing to do with legitimate planning considerations. Sadly he managed to convince even a Hertford District Councillor to vote in favour of the plan. I really hope that this gets called in by The Secretary Of State because the decision to approve the store flies in the face of both the council's own planning policies and the National Planning Policy Framework.

SloopJohnB
Posts: 112
Joined: Mon 02 Feb, 2015 12:46 pm

Re: Bircherley Green Redevelopment

Postby SloopJohnB » Thu 26 Mar, 2015 11:11 am

It looks as if the committee's decision was influenced by a letter sent to all councillors five days ago by Chris Roberts, Van Hage's Chairman and MD.

Or possibly a letter from John McHale of Wrenbridge who wrote to all Councillors on 24 March and alluded to by the Mercury in their on-line report.

'There had been threats that the Bircherley Green project would be put on hold indefinitely if the proposal was granted.'

Golden
Posts: 221
Joined: Sun 01 Dec, 2013 10:36 am

Re: Bircherley Green Redevelopment

Postby Golden » Thu 26 Mar, 2015 11:27 am

The redevelopment couldn't go ahead without a flagship store - the knock on effects for the other shops in BG will be huge if there is no Waitrose. It will be the new McDonalds - but much bigger - if nobody can be found.

codek2
Posts: 310
Joined: Tue 12 Nov, 2013 4:32 pm

Re: Bircherley Green Redevelopment

Postby codek2 » Thu 26 Mar, 2015 1:50 pm

supposedly there's plenty of others who would eat up the space - lidl/aldi have been mentioned.

Whilst at first glance that may seem odd - they're actually perfect for hertford - apparently their largest growth area is middle class customers!

Steve did u mean the development would be put on hold unless the proposal was granted?

Either way there's clearly been stuff going on in the background as the decision makes no sense. someone got to the councillors.

SloopJohnB
Posts: 112
Joined: Mon 02 Feb, 2015 12:46 pm

Re: Bircherley Green Redevelopment

Postby SloopJohnB » Thu 26 Mar, 2015 3:54 pm

I think it was me rather than Steve who said that the redevelopment would be put on hold; actually quoting from the Mercury.

I have to err on the side of caution because I don't know how confidential my information was. However as we are all men and women of the world Wrenbridge put it something like this: If the application at Van Hages is approved then the application would be put on hold indefinitely and only the minimum of investment would take place. This would lead to a fall in the attractiveness of Bircherley Green for other national retailers.

On the other hand if the application at Van Hages was refused then Hertford would get a brand new shopping complex complete with megastore, bus station with loos, cafe and real time travel information, 100+ accomadation units etc etc.

And I have to ask what now becomes of the Vision and Strategy for Hertford now that there will be no juicy Section 106's coming our way. In any event I did not get the chance to ask what notice Diageo, Cordea Savills and Wrenbridge would take of Tibbalds considering the events of the past six years.

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Steve
Project Leader
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Re: Bircherley Green Redevelopment

Postby Steve » Thu 26 Mar, 2015 4:13 pm

It's astonishing that we have one of Hertford's district councillors heading up a team trying to revitalise the town centre whilst one of her colleagues backs a decision that will damage the town centre economy by an estimated £15m and make the redevelopment of Bircherley Green unviable.


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