Rival plans for education and community center take shape


Rival plans for Old River Lane (ORL), defining a new future for Bishop’s Stortford’s Causeway, were released this week.

Last Friday (July 16), East Herts Council launched a three-week consultation on its controversial cost-cutting proposals to build a £ 15.5million cinema-run arts center on the site as part of ‘a broader transformation.

In response, the Old River Lane Task Force is asking for comments on its alternative to create an Education and Community Center (EACH) at Charrington House instead.

Artist’s impression of the arts center at the heart of the Old River Lane project (49365585)

The group was formed earlier this year by the Labor, Liberal Democrats and Green parties in East Herts to determine whether there is a business case for developing educational facilities to counter the Tories’ arts center project.

The opposition says its report is the product of a five-month analysis by a team including planners, academics, and civil servants and civil servants.

They concluded that the district council’s multiplex vision is “deeply flawed”.

EHC wants to build a 150-seat cinema with facilities for high stage performances, an 80-seat multipurpose cinema / auditorium, another 80-seat cinema and two 50-seat cinemas. One of the smaller cinemas will adjoin a gallery so they can be used together or separately for private rental.

A cafe bar will have indoor and outdoor tables, and there will be a “public domain” space outside for events such as open-air theater, music festivals and sports screenings. live.

The larger ENT Cultural Hub project includes the 546-space multi-storey car park under construction at Northgate End. City council development partner Cityheart is also planning 137 housing units, 90 senior living apartments, shops, restaurants and offices in parking lots on the council causeway.

The task force argues that in addition to the EACH, the rest of the site could be “sympathetically developed for residential and commercial use”.

Labor, Liberal Democrats and Green opposition parties want to stop council cinema project
Labor, Liberal Democrats and Green opposition parties want to stop council cinema project

Her report ends with a call for residents, businesses and community groups to join an Old River Lane campaign group to work on implementing this alternative.

President Elif Toker Turnalar said: “This report shows what can be achieved when we work together constructively with a common goal. We think this report has a compelling vision of ENT as a community asset in the heart of the city rather than an unwanted cinema. “

A spokesperson for Lib Dem said: “In recent years, the shape of the city has been determined by the district council and conservative-controlled developers. The ORL fiasco has been plagued by secrecy and secrecy. arrogance towards the citizens of the city without taking into account the financial uncertainties linked to the pandemic This report exposes and analyzes the ENT system and proposes prudent alternatives.

The East Herts Green Party said: “This is what democracy should look like. [We] welcome this opportunity to collaborate with local Labor and Liberal parties for the benefit of our community. Adaptation and reuse as a sustainable alternative to the huge carbon footprint associated with demolition and reconstruction is at the heart of the green philosophy and we wholeheartedly tolerate this approach. Inviting residents, community groups and businesses to join us in creating, collaborating and campaigning rather than accepting the dictates of the council is exactly how local democracy should work and we would like this approach to work. ‘extends to all of Hertfordshire. “

The group said the council consultation was a “sham” and called on residents to write protesting leader Cllr Linda Haysey to [email protected]

East Herts Council leader Cllr Linda Haysey outside Charrington House.  Photo: Vikki Lince (49365566)
East Herts Council leader Cllr Linda Haysey outside Charrington House. Photo: Vikki Lince (49365566)

Copies of the report can be downloaded from the group’s Facebook page or requested by email from [email protected]

For more information on the council’s plans, see www.eastherts.gov.uk/orl-consultation.


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