Comments on the Chase plans made before late February

Posted on 22nd February, 2020

The three comments below were made in response to Chase showing its draft plans to the public, before Chase made a formal planning application in February.


I live on Riverside, Folly Island, directly opposite Bircherely Green, and am lucky to live in such a wonderful part of Hertford and one which must be of the most photographed places in the town, I have concerns that the views of those who would be most impacted by the development need a 'louder voice' and the Riverside residents need support with what would be a huge and somewhat emotional change to our day to day lives and living. I understand and agree that the site does need developing for the future regeneration of Hertford, but the current plans show no respect or consideration to the heritage of Hertford or Folly Island residents.


The visuals presented by Chase Homes are a stark reminder of how their proposed design does not, in any way, respect us or the character of our homes and the surroundings. I find the imagery of the development distasteful in the extreme and when comparing the two sides of the river I don’t see how any consideration has been given to the heritage of the area by Chase Homes with the proposed overbearing buildings which are completely out of keeping with this historic area.


I met with Alan Ward from Chase Homes albeit briefly at the exhibition at The Hertford House Hotel, Alan Ward said he wanted to work with the Riverside Residents to come to a solution that worked for both parties, this has turned out not to be true as we have since arranged to meet Alan Ward twice, both times he has cancelled the meeting at very short notice with no offer of another meeting, extremely disappointing that he promised so much and has not even found the time to meet with us once.


The proposed images cause me to feel great sadness that a developer could even think such a monstrosity is viable.


On 11th January, 2020 by Gill Potter



Regarding Chase New Homes’ proposal we are particularly concerned about the appearance of the buildings along the river front.

Hertford grew up over many centuries around its river transportation system. This system peaked around the 15/16 Centuries and since then the town centre did not develop much further. The strong character of the small medieval dock basin and the surrounding streets and buildings should be recognised as a potentially powerful tourist attraction. It would therefore be worthwhile to try to maximise the leisure value of the river frontage on the North West part of the site while paying attention to the scale and style of the medieval centre of Hertford.

We strongly believe that "Victorian warehouse style" buildings as illustrated in their proposal would be extremely overbearing, and inappropriate since Hertford was never a big Victorian city. It would be quite possible to design the buildings along the river frontage in a style more in keeping with the late medieval.


On 12th December, 2019 by Martin and Kate Bath



My first impression from the exhibition held at Hertford House of the Chase Homes proposals was that they are a great improvement on what Wrenbridge proposed, but there is a danger of viewing them too favourably because 'anything is better than nothing'.


The design concept seems to be to mimic a riverside warehouse complex, on the lines of those found on the Thames. I question whether this is appropriate for Hertford. Yes, the site is next to a navigable waterway, but it is right at the end of it and I do not believe there was ever significant commercial traffic on this stretch. The result of Chase's design approach is a rather heavy-looking building, a bland facade with a horizontal emphasis and repetitive fenestration - OK in some contexts, but is it right for Hertford? The town has few large buildings and is characterised by buildings on fairly narrow plots, with subtle differences in height and width.


As with the Wrenbridge scheme, the pedestrian street leading from Railway Street to the river is straight, though Chase is an improvement in that a building more or less on the footprint of the old Waitrose wine department does project. But a curved alignment (compare the Maltings Centre in St Albans) would be much more interesting and in keeping with the rest of the town.


It is not clear whether Chase intend to have a service yard near what was Starbucks, and if so how vehicles would reach it. Wrenbridge were proposing time-controlled access via the riverbank, but this would severely constrain the design and usefulness of that area. Would early morning/late night access for lorries via the internal pedestrian street be better?


Chase have obviously not thought very deeply about the riverside: there was one drawing showing a tree with a shadow thrown by the midday sun shining from the north! Outside tables next to the building would be very gloomy - if further away they would get more light and at times maybe some sunlight.


On 2nd December, 2019 by Peter Norman

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Comments (4)

I agree with the comments about the wind tunnel that the high narrow north -south pathway will create. Also the scale of the buildings on the river front needs to take into consideration the nearby Hertford Club and the varied roofscape of much of Hertford. This has been achieved well at Old Cross. The drawings give the impression of a glorious sunny riverside area. It does in fact face north and is not sunny for much of the day.
Although I did not manage to see the exhibition of this scheme, I would like to add that my immediate response to the plans and visuals are that in accepting this proposal Hertford will be left with a large inhospitable wind tunnel between two over large and over high and meaningless blocks of buildings.
The straight line running between these blocks will admittedly give a view to the river and Folly Island, but this runs due north/south and a cold wind will deter anyone from spending time there.
There are many previous examples of this. See the new Dalston Square in Hackney for example, where the local residents were persauded to accept a plan on the basis that the landscaping and seating would be a bonus to the area - it is of course a large mostly sunless (unless at midday) wind tunnel, made more cold and windy by the height of the overshadowing buildings, and is as a result largely unused, with empty unfilled shop spaces as a result.
Harlow New Town is a much earlier similar disaster zone example, and so it goes on.
No one seems to learn!
Folly Island residents and the important listed club house building will be dwarfed and overshadowed.
Please can this scheme be reconsidered for something more people friendly and in scale with the surroundings. It is too important an opportunity for the town to just accept something because it is better than nothing.
Bircherley Green 1
I'm sure that the vast majority of people agree that Bircherley Green needs to be revitalised and opening up the riverfront without overbearing buildings and late night licencing could be a good thing however the Council have a responsibility to protect the wellbeing of existing residents along with their right to peacefully enjoy their homes. This application appears to treat the Folly Island as a tourist attraction rather than the quiet , peaceful community that it is and it has scant regard for the impact it will have on the lives of the people on the opposite side of the river.

The East Herts District Plan provides the current statutory policy framework for determining planning applications and I consider that in a number of instances this application does not conform to the Plan.
I urge the Council to reject the application in its current form.
I live on Riverside, Folly Island object to the proposed application for the following reasons:
I believe the proposed buildings along the river front do not enhance or compliment a conservation area of small 2 storey buildings. Policy DES4 of the East Herts District plan states that “developments shall respect or improve upon the character of the site and surrounding area in terms of its scale, height, layout and landscaping”. It also states that “development should avoid significant detrimental impacts on the amenity of occupiers of neighbouring properties and land and ensure that their environments are not harmed by noise and disturbance ,or by inadequate daylight, privacy or overshadowing”.
I feel that the proposed buildings along the riverside are excessive, overbearing and dominant and fail to respond to its setting and in regard to the significant impact it will have on existing residents. continued - Bircherley Green 2
Sorry to read of the dissatisfaction of one Riverside resident and I can understand the worries of those on the other side of the river. However, I should have thought that the proposals provide a better view than the current huge blank wall at the rear of what was Waitrose. I welcome the plan for the surgery etc, a much needed facility. I am horrified that we have to wait until May for the Council to pass their verdict. We desperately need the work on the carpark to start. (Wasn't it refurbished a few years ago?) The bus station too needs urgent modernisation. This whole project has dragged on far too long already.