Strategy plan under attack

PUBLISHED: 16:33 21 February 2008 | UPDATED: 15:41 11 May 2010

A 10-POINT response to radical Royston town centre strategy proposals has been drawn-up. The document outlines Royston Town Council s thinking on the future of the town centre. And it is critical of a number points in the strategy produced by consultants

A 10-POINT response to radical Royston town centre strategy proposals has been drawn-up.

The document outlines Royston Town Council's thinking on the future of the town centre.

And it is critical of a number points in the strategy produced by consultants working for North Herts District Council.

Much of the town council's response comes from a discussion last week when members went through a 25-page report on the strategy.

Then the district council's project was described as being "disappointing".

Cllr Rod Kennedy, who led a working party looking at the strategy said, too, that it gave the appearance of creating a "Utopian vision.

One key paragraph in the town council's response is over the town hall site in Melbourn Street.

It has rejected any idea of housing being developed on part of the site.

The response says: "The site is too valuable an asset to be designated for housing.

"There is no evidence that more dwellings make the town centre more vibrant."

The response stressed that the site should be "protected from residential development" and be allowed to be used for civic, leisure and entertainment facilities.

"Such development could possibly be combined with the provision of a high quality hotel and conference facilities to support local industry," it says.

The response document continued that the town council could not support any reduction in car parking.

The town council said "While we support the concept of increased use of public transport, realistically for many people who use Royston there are no buses and nor is there likely to be any future increase."

And it stressed: "With the aim of the strategy to increase the vitality of the town centre, more parking may be required."

There were strong objections to making an opening in the eastern side of the Corn Exchange. "Nothing should be done which damages this important listed building or its setting."

On the question of moving the bus station from The Warren it said that there did not appear to be any benefit in such an action and a "significant area" would be lost with a transfer of such an operation to the market place.

The Warren, however, could be redeveloped with underground car parking and a supermarket or national retailer at ground-level.

This, said the town council, would act as a "counter-balance" to the dominant edge-of-town Tesco superstore.

Such redevelopment could include some residential units over the retail space.

The town council said, too, that a suggestion to reverse traffic movement in Upper King Street would be "impossible to implement".

The scheme, it said, would cause a safety hazard and would not see a reduction of traffic in the town centre. "This proposal should not have been included," it said.

The public consultation will come to an end tomorrow (Friday) and all comments will be included in a report on responses to the strategy.

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Town centre points

# Town Hall site: Too valuable to be designated for housing

# The Cross: Needs to be developed as focus of town centre

# Angel Pavement: To be developed to encourage larger stores

# Corn Exchange: No to building two-storey development on site

# The Warren: No to ­moving the bus station from The Warren

# High Street (south): To be made pedestrian-friendly with traffic restricted

# Fish Hill square:

Support for using site to develop a cafe society

# Cattle Market: Site to be developed to provide a covered market

Royston Town Council's response to North Herts District Council's town centre strategy

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