Trading Places: Bishop's Stortford
PUBLISHED: 01:16 26 April 2011 | UPDATED: 12:01 28 February 2013
High street chains and independent stores coupled with plans for a multi-million pound development are sure to keep Bishop's Stortford ahead of the game...
BISHOPS Stortford benefits from both high street chains, such as Marks and Spencer and Laura Ashley, and long-established family firms, with the main retail areas South Street, Potter Street, North Street and Hockerill Street.
A traditional street market is held on a Thursday and on a Saturday, when shoppers can pick up bargains from a selection of stalls, including bags, flowers, cards and clothing.
Jackson Square shopping centre, with stores open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5.30pm and on Sundays from 10am to 4pm, has something for every shopper. In the heart of the town, just five minutes from junction eight of the M11, Jackson Square has everything from Next and Monsoon to the Sony Centre and The Body Shop. For a quick pick-me-up, head to Starbucks or Yerbz Coffee House, or, to relax and unwind, treat yourself to a visit to Urban Spa, which has recently been voted a five-star experience by Professional Beauty Magazine.
Jackson Square has launched a community arts project to design a sculpture for the town centre which represents Bishops Stortfords values, its strong community and positive atmosphere. Set to transform the entrance to the walkway on Potter Street, it is intended to draw attention to the small independent shops on Devoils Lane and is due to be unveiled this summer.
Proposals have been submitted to East Herts Council by development firm Henderson Global Investors for a 105 million redevelopment
of The Causeway site, creating a leisure and residential complex featuring new shops, car parking and entertainment facilities.
Martin Perry, director of retail property development at Henderson Global Investors, says, The scheme has been developed in response to East Herts Councils Town Centre Plan. The proposals provide up to 16,000sqm (gross) of new retail space, which is critical to prevent
the towns decline.
The Causeway was identified in East Herts Councils Retail and Town Centre Study as the preferred site for providing the identified retail floor space in the town centre that is required to maintain Bishops Stortfords existing retail market share.
If given the green light, Henderson Global Investors hope to begin construction in summer 2012 and expect the scheme will be open for business in 2014.
The Bishops Stortford 2020 Vision group has been set up in response to concerns about the future development of the town, and is supported by East Herts Council.
Key participants include Bishops Stortford Town Council, Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Bishops Stortford Chamber of Commerce, Hertfordshire County Council, Bishops Stortford Civic Federation and the Hertfordshire Community Foundation.
The group has produced a comprehensive vision for the future of the town, intended to help Bishops Stortford grow and thrive into the next decade and beyond. The vision is of a bustling high street supported by national anchor stores, whilst keeping a strong independent retail presence and a thriving market, states the groups brief.
Ways to improve the town centre, says the group, could include revitalising or redeveloping tired retail premises and retail areas, pedestrianising areas of the town centre to make the retail experience more comfortable for shoppers, and enhancing, developing and extending the market.
Bishops Stortford is home to Allinson flour mill, which is said to contribute 12million to the local economy. Allinson mills British grains to make its flour and, wherever possible, sources wheat from the farms around Bishops Stortford.
A brief for the mill site, which has been developed by the 2020 Vision group as an exploratory exercise, includes the possibility of a river-related development, but bosses at the mill have confirmed that they are not looking to relocate at present.