Part of Bishop’s Stortford is set to undergo a major transformation as the Old River Lane (ORL) scheme moves forward. The scheme is supported by a £9.6m injection of Local Growth Fund investment from Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), made up of a £6m grant and £3.6m interest-free loan.
Following the completion of the judicial review process, Chester-based developer and public sector specialist Cityheart Ltd has been appointed as the preferred developer to work alongside East Herts Council on this exciting project. The site, which is owned by East Herts Council, will also see a mixed development of around 150 new homes alongside retail and commercial space, a new public square (see artist's impression above) and parking facilities.
The 597-space multi-storey car park will include charging points for electric vehicles. Among the many exciting features in the arts centre will be a 544-seater theatre with state of the art staging system, a four-screen cinema and visual art displays.
Quality food and drinks will be available. There will also be an extensive space that can be hired for community and private events, contributing towards the cost of running the centre, as well as a small new woodland area.
Adam Wood, Head of Infrastructure & Regeneration at Hertfordshire LEP, said: “The Old River Lane project will bring vibrant new public amenities to Bishop’s Stortford town centre to benefit the local community, attract new visitors, and help the historic and strategically located market town live up to its full potential.
“With the help of £9.6m LEP funding, under-used land which previously served as surface-level parking will be transformed with a new arts centre, cinema and town square to increase footfall, with plentiful parking provided in a new space-efficient multi-storey car park. We look forward to seeing this much-awaited scheme come to fruition.”
Council Leader Linda Haysey said: “We are delighted that we’re now in a position to progress our vision and that we can move forward with the next stage of this project to transform and revitalise this part of town.
“Everyone in the town and further afield can look forward to quality arts of all kinds in a superb space, while the multi-storey car park will contribute towards supporting the local economy and the ambitions of the town. The new public square will be a space to be enjoyed by the town’s residents and visitors.”
During the planning phase, there will be an opportunity to comment on the planning application. The council will also carry out more specific consultation with relevant groups. To keep up to date with the project visit www.eastherts.gov.uk/OldRiverLane.