Updated Wednesday 14th January 2004
Town Centre Enhancement
Hertford embarked on a Town Enhancement Scheme in the early 1990's to improve the attraction of the town.
This started around The Shire Hall and later took in Parliament Square and the western end of Railway Street. However, the scheme ground to a halt, with the local authority saying at one stage that it did not have the finances to maintain the existing enhancements. There were also issues with the utilities, which carried out minor works within the enhancement area and did not replaced the expensive York paving stones, using instead cheaper tarmac.
In the mid-nineties an experimental traffic scheme was implemented in the town centre. Although the scheme was permanently adopted on a de facto basis, much of the temporary work remains in place. Problems with town centre traffic management remain though, much of it connected with parking.
In 1995 minor repairs were carried out after cable-laying damaged some of the surfaces. Heavy vehicles also caused damage to road humps.
Fore Street Repairs 1999
In September 1999, repairs were made to the first phase of the Town Enhancement Scheme. The Western end of Fore Steet closed for four weeks after serious deterioration of the materials used during the initial implementation in 1994 at a cost of £147,000. At that time the contractor was criticised for the poor quality of work and has since been removed from the authorities list of approved contractors.
Poor workmanship led to the early deterioration of surfaces
The £40,000 repairs were criticised because they meant yet another closure for the street. The then Mayor of Hertford, Colin Harris, also claimed that a lack of routine maintenance and underfunding were responsible for the poor state of the road.
Market Street 2001
Since this time, other enhancements works have taken place, such as those in Market Street in 2001, which were paid for by Barclays Bank. It has become a policy of the local authority to encourage local businesses to pay for such works, in exchange for granting planning permission for their proposals. This policy was also applied when McMullen's Brewery opened a new continental style bar named Baroosh in Fore Street, with a length of pavement replaced in Fore Street.
The Town Centre 2004
New proposals for the town centre were announced in the Autumn of 2003, with a public exhibition held in The Corn Exchange. The plans were drawn up by Hertfordshire Highways, a County Council agency, and included new town centre gateways, a 20mph speed limit, reconfigured bus-stops, a toucan crossing across the relief road and a new cycle route through the town.
Work on the new scheme is scheduled to start in early 2004, although the controversial proposal for a toucan crossing will not feature in the initial work.