Submission to Herts and Essex Observer 21 November
BSDFA and SOS – spotlight on the ASR’s
Public footpath FP02 (Dane O’Coys to Farnham) in the north-west of Bishop’s Stortford was the location chosen for Bishop’s Stortford & District Footpaths Association (BSDFA) to present a cheque to the Bishop’s Stortford Civic Federation (BSCF) Save/Shape Our Stortford (SOS) fund. The donation will be used to fund continued transport consultancy input in connection with the Bishop’s Stortford North application, due to be determined at a special meeting of East Herts District Council’s development management committee on Thursday, December 5, at the Mitre Suite, Bishop’s Stortford Football Club, Dunmow Road.
A spokesperson for BSDFA said ‘there are three Public Rights of Way across the land known as the ASRs (Areas of Special Restraint) and SCA (Special Countryside Area). These footpaths currently offer well used traffic-free routes to the open countryside to the north and west of the town, and the wider public rights of way network beyond the A120. Under BSN Consortium’s plans the setting of the paths will be fundamentally altered and we will see the footpaths and bridleway (BR08) cut by the main estate road and bus route through the development, as well as by more minor roads. We have submitted our concerns to EHDC and highlighted that as proposals currently stand, safe access to and safe use of public rights of way by walkers, horse riders and cyclists will be compromised. It is vitally important that the impact of the increase in traffic from this development is fully explored and it is for this reason that we are supporting BSCF and SOS’.
The activities of BSDFA include a programme of guided walks throughout the year published on their website www.walksaroundstortford.org.uk. Their ‘Walks in Herts and Essex (vol 4)’ booklet can be purchased at the Bishop’s Stortford Tourist Information Centre.
SOS spokesperson Diane Basavaraj said ‘we are very grateful to BSDFA for their support and indeed to other groups and members of our community. We have provided evidence to EHDC to support our claim that the Transport Assessment submitted with the BSN application is not robust and that this significantly prejudices decision making concerning the transport impacts of this development, including assessment of severity. This is a material consideration because if transport impacts are judged to be severe, this is a reason for refusal in accordance with Paragraph 32 of the National Planning Policy Framework. We have also raised concerns that proposals to secure and enforce the Travel Plan (which aims to encourage the use of sustainable travel such as walking, cycling and bus use) are currently insufficient and fail to provide adequate protection for the town should targets not be met.
The points we have raised have been informed by the expert knowledge of a Transport Consultant. SOS, along with other community groups and members will be speaking at and attending the Development Management Committee meeting on 5 December to determine the BSN application. Please come and support your town.’