I have been giving some thought in the last few weeks to the idea of river shopping. To be more precise, a regular ferry connecting Hertford East Rail Station, Bircherley Green Bus Station and Sainsbury’s.
The infrastructure is already in place.
Why this sudden flash of inspiration? Since the service road was blocked by concrete slabs in the New Year I have found that this offers a safe route from home on Folly Island to the eastern half of town. There is now no traffic to hit you from behind or lost cars mowing you down from the front.
This how it looks from the perspective of Folly Island.
This as we know, is not a pretty sight.
One of the prime motives of the Development Plan is:
‘Delivery of significant public realm improvements including the rejuvenation of the riverfront with greatly increased accessibility and usability.‘
I recall Sainsbury’s offering a safe route from bus station to the store at the time of their own planning application. Most routes through town only offer traffic congestion, badly maintained pavements, wayward cyclists, stray dogs and chariots of fire ridden by young mums.
The three major posts can now be connected and a trip to Sainsbury’s to do the weekly shop from wherever you start being completed in peace, tranquillity and fresh air.
Let’s start at Hertford East Railway Station. Hertford Basin is just a few yards away, much improved since the building of the riverside apartments.
A ferry would then take you along the Lea and collect more shoppers who have just alighted from a bus. There is ample room for a landing stage at the exit from the car park, now closed and unused.
Going by river is so much more pleasant than the current service road.
Then under Folly Bridge and alight at Little Hartham where there is already a mooring stage. From here a short walk along a new road across the new bridge with time to watch the ducks and geese and swans that have made homes there.
Anyone who has experienced the river knows what a relaxing place this is. Always improved by a cup of tea or a glass of chilled Sauvignon Blanc.
Customers will no longer have to drag two wheeled shopping trolleys from one place to another or carry heavy bags through crowded streets.
I haven’t presented this plan to Sainsbury’s. I will just take all the credit if it comes to pass.
This is part of the vision for the river and fits just nicely with the riverside as envisaged by Diageo, Savills, Wrenbridge, Barton Willmore, Uncle Tom Cobbley and all.