But what is to be fate of that great wen of all? The monster called … ?
William Cobbett (1762 – 1835) Rural Rides, 1822.
You may ask what William Cobbett has to do with modern day Hertford. In Cobbett’s time the Great Wen, the monster, was London. Today the great wen (or sore) in the middle of town is Bircherley Green – no more deserved of being called a shopping centre.
Finally Chase New Homes has submitted a planning application for Bircherley Green and the plans have now been published for comment by East Herts Council.
I cannot find much to commend this application and I will post my full letter of objection at a later date here.
This is the riverside view which appears to have been stretched:
My initial reaction is that these apartment blocks A & B, being retail premises with four storeys of apartments above will tower over everything else in the vicinity.
Chase believe that it will not completely overpower the existing skyline. I have news for them. It will hang over Folly Island and cast its shadow deep. At night the lights from all the apartments together will detract from the night sky, the stars and the transition of the moon.
This is not what we should expect of a county town where private developments are allowed to overpower the town’s heritage.
Hertford Town Centre can be defined to the north, south, east and west by the River Lea, Gascoyne Way, South Street and North Road respectively. With very exceptions all buildings within this boundary which is the Hertford Town Conservation Area, are mentioned in the Department of National Heritage Revised List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historical Interest (1996).
The overwhelming majority are Grade II but Hertford Castle, The Friends Meeting House and Shire Hall are all Grade I. With help from the Home Office, the County Council restored the building during 1988-90, and the project was Commended by The Civic Trust in 1992.
‘A threat of wholesale re-development blighted the core of Hertford for more than twenty years. Once that threat was removed in the late 1970’s the town blossomed, and the new buildings which have appeared generally rest easily,in scale and detail, with their mature neighbours.’
Russell Moye, Project Architect, Shire Hall. Writing in ‘The Restoration of Shire Hall Hertford, 1990’.
No more do they rest easy; now we have the great wen, William Cobbett’s monster.
In line with previous planning applications this one fails to address the problem of parking. There will be 100 apartments (38 one bedroom and 62 two bedroom) and the hotel will have 68 rooms. Bircherley Green car park has only 188 spaces, of which 40 spaces will be dedicated to residents, 5 car club and 143 Pay and Display.
The new apartments will bring to the centre of town an extra 100 – 150 new residents along with occasional visitors who will need to park their cars; the hotel will need parking even for overnight guests, the patients attending the proposed surgery will also need to park along with all those tourists, visitors, shoppers and leisure seekers who will be coming to this destination (Chase’s word not mine). How can a lego brick be a destination? Then factor in the increase in internet deliveries. It is folly to think that all this traffic will fit in to the town centre. The maths do not add up.
The application does not state how many of the apartments will be affordable; but does explain why the emphasis is on younger, mobile, socially active couples and not much in the way of facilities for the disabled.
Permission is being sought for a NHS super surgery and another large retailer (no names, no pack drill) before they can go ahead to let premises. Retail premises could be large, small or any size anyone wants by adjusting the available space.
There is a new bus station waiting room but not much on a new ‘as it happens’ information board, small catering facility or toilets; although there appears to be three doors on the site plan where the existing ones are now.
With more residents crammed into the centre of this medieval town with few parking spaces, an increase in bars and restaurants and a hotel as well, there is little in the application to explain how other issues like late night noise from traffic and revellers will be addressed. No mention of CCTV or licensing terms.
Enough for now.
I will post my objection in full on this site but in the meantime read the application and all supporting documents and see what you think.
Sometimes I think I am living in a different universe from everyone else. Apart from a message on Hertford.net no one else seems to be the slightest concerned that the planning application for Bircherley Green Shopping Centre has been withdrawn.
So now we await an approach from Chase Homes regarding their proposals for the site which may or may not include a hotel, NHS surgery, prime retail space or hot food take-away premises.
It might appear that East Herts Council have missed an opportunity to invest in the town. All I have heard since moving to Hertford in 1980 and all through my years as Town Centre Manager is the same refrain: ‘Hertford is the county town’ followed by a list of things that should have been done, or hasn’t been done, or has been done, that has added nothing to Hertford.
Towns and cities had to bid for the £95m funding, which was first announced in May.
“Our nation’s heritage is one of our great calling cards to the world, attracting millions of visitors to beautiful historic buildings that sit at the heart of our communities,” said Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan.
“It is right that we ensure these buildings are preserved for future generations but it is important that we make them work for the modern world.”
Maybe an application was doomed to fail but you have to try.
Hertford is the county town. Nearly all of the buildings in the town centre, which is considered a Local Conservation Area in its own right, feature in the Government’s list of buildings considered to be of architecturally or historic interest.
“Under the scheme, districts of our size were limited to one bid so we had to select the town with the best chance of success.
“In submitting the bid, we knew that by most measures within the scheme (e.g. vacancy levels) none of East Herts’ towns are in the ‘failing’ category.
“The principle vehicle for improving Hertford town centre is the Bircherley Green redevelopment which is not owned by the council so the basis of a bid would not have met the HSF criteria.”
No council at any level gave any support to the Hidden Hertford project which sought to attract visitors to the county town. Well, not until I had already raised over £32,000 towards the project. The aims and results of the Hidden Hertford project can be viewed here.
In 2010 East Herts Council paid me to produce a report to provide a series of environmentally sound projects at minimal cost with maximum benefit to the community.
After a lengthy consultation with a wide range of businesses, traders and organisations which had an interest in the town I suggested the following, amongst others, based upon the success of what had already been achieved with Hidden Hertford (see above):
Tenants of listed buildings should be responsible for their maintenance
New town centre signage and visitor maps
More benches throughout the town
More salt bins in vulnerable places
Using litter bins to take recycling products in place of anonymous bollards
Bikes for hire at bus and rail station
Community toilet scheme
The motive behind all the above was to attract more visitors to Hertford and to make their stay as enjoyable as possible whilst improving the local economy.
Not surprisingly none of the above were introduced.
Since it was announced that Chase Homes intended to buy Bircherley Green the newspapers, message boards and pubs have been full of hopes, plans and wish lists. Unfortunately the planning process does not work that way.
I have lived in Hertford since 1980 but was born and grew up in Camden Town. On Saturday morning I was dragged along by my mother to do the weekly shop. I hated shopping then and still do now. Ask my wife!
However back in those far off days of the early 1950’s shopping was a far different experience from what it is now.
We started at Allens Newsagents in Camden Road to pay the paper bill and to pick up my copies of Beano, Dandy, Lion and sometimes Topper. Then across the road to the butcher. From there to Camden High Street. Our first call was Talbots the Fishmongers. They had a large metal tray outside the shop in which several eels swam. Once chosen the evening meal was taken to the back of the shop and beheaded and sliced into ….. slices.
Next the Greengrocers. I think it was called ‘Greens’. Anyway my mum had an excellent relationship with one of the proprietors, Chic. They weighed everything on large scales with weights. I doubt if the measures were ever correct but once weighed the potatoes and larger items such as cauliflowers were tipped straight into my mother’s shopping bag. Fruit tended to be shoved into a large brown paper bag and then into mum’s bag.
Our final routine call was to Biroths the Bakers. Bread was always freshly baked; always a wonderful smell wafted out on to the street. They were open for a a few hours only on Good Friday to sell hot cross buns. Once gone, they shut. My mum was always an early bird then, bringing home freshly baked and still warm hot cross buns.
There were of necessity some days with other routine stops such as Pages the general store for all things household such as needles, cloth, knicker elastic etc.
These were easy going days. My mum knew all the traders by name and vice versa. Such as Montagu Saxby the leather goods man who sold cases, satchels and handbags. We all bought our sweets from Pugh’s – which for some reason my mother and all her friends and acquaintances called Puckies.
She had a Christmas club everywhere so we ate and drank well in the season to be merry.
Now they’ve all gone – the butcher, baker and candlestick maker. I’ve never met a candlestick maker but he is up there with the best of them.
As Bruce Springsteen once said: ‘these jobs are going boys and they aint coming back’.
People in Hertford are hopeful of a return to those good old days but at the risk of repeating myself: they’ve gone. Shopping and the High Street have changed forever.
You cannot demand that River Island, Next or Harrods open a store in town; or even Bircherley Green Shopping Centre. You can try but they will not come.
These big firms known all about demographics, return per square metre of selling space or in plainer terms – footfall.
However there is one aspect of shopping in those days which is so, so far ahead of today’s world. We knew all about recycling and carried it out.
Milk bottles were washed and left out for the milkman the next day, along with a note asking for just one pint to cut down on waste. Bottles from the Off Licence were returned for the small deposit. Yesterdays newspapers were given to the fish and chip shop. There was a minimum of plastic packaging as everyone used their own shopping bags and if you did get a bag from the shopkeeper it was usually a plain brown one given a bad reputation by purveyors of ‘glamour magazines’.
We weren’t wealthy and neither were the bunch of kids who I knocked around with. If we wanted a new football we knocked on doors and took all the newspapers we could cram into a an old pram and took them to the rag and bone man under Camden Road railway bridge for a few pennies. We did our bit!
So, what future for Bircherley Green? One with no butcher, baker and the other one. That’s for sure.
You can contact John Barber here:
The two black and white photos come from a booklet called ‘The End of One Story – A Souvenir of the Borough of St Pancras’. There is a page of photo acknowledgements but they are not referenced to page numbers. The booklet was issued in 1965 when the boroughs of St Pancras, Hampstead and Holborn were merged to form the London Borough of Camden.
The best thing about going on holiday with the grandchildren is that you forget about the cares of home and become a child yourself again.
The downside is that when you come home you realise that nothing has changed and you are an adult again.
So I didn’t expect much to have happened in Hertford during my absence. How wrong could I be?
I find that Bircherley Green Shopping Centre (Phase 2 anyway) has been sold by Diageo Pension Fund to Chase New Homes Ltd. No figures given but the last time I was privy to these sort of things I understood that the going rate for the shopping centre was somewhat south of the figure Diageo paid for it. I can’t see a pension Fund taking a big loss on an asset to the detriment of its pensioners. But who am I?
Where does that leave us now? I and the rest of the town have no idea.
Chase are housing developers and concentrate their energies on apartment blocks. They do not appear to be mixed use developers such as Bircherley Green needs. Despite East Herts stating that any development in the town centre should include some form of retail use.
The closing date for the recent planning application for Bircherley Green was 8 August 2019. You can check it out on East Herts web site reference: 3/19/1308/VAR. It is unclear as to whether Chase will develop the site according to these plans or submit a totally new concept. Or if Phase 1 (Premier Inn Hotel) will still go ahead. I assume it will.
In the immortal words of football commentators using the Radio Times map we are back to Square One.
What kind of retail will want to come here. Where are the residents going to park. What will happen to the bus station, not to mention the waiting room and toilets. And the Riverside Walk featured at the head of this post.
No doubt East Herts Planning Department and all the other organisations and individuals who have posted objections will pore over the details and object all over again.
It makes my head ache.
If it makes you just as confused then you might like to sign the Hertford and Ware Labour Party petition to East Herts asking for clarification. Of course many of the councillors who have chewed these plans over have been replaced by a new Council. They may not be too excited about taking responsibility for past procrastination but look forward to a new and exciting future for Hertford, its traders, residents and visitors.
The good news is that the gates have finally been installed at either end of Maidenhead Street.
Much to mine and I understand many others, the gates do not actually block the entrances completely. There is a wide gap but not wide enough for delivery vehicles but could allow passage for mobility scooters and the like. I am waiting for the driver of a car such as a Fiat 500 to try and negotiate the entrance. What larks!
So, the powers of conservatism in Hertford have finally won. The developers have pulled out of the second phase of the Bircherley Green redevelopment scheme.
This is a Pyrrhic victory at best. We are left with a shopping centre with empty and boarded up shops and grass growing through every crack like a town in a Hollywood Western.
This all began in 2014 or even earlier. In 2013 perhaps I was invited to a workshop to discuss the introduction of what was to become the Hertford Town Centre Urban Design Strategy (HTCUDS). I was flattered to be invited to this as I had only just retired as Town Centre Manager and the invite was on the basis that I knew more than most what actually went on in town. I should not have been surprised to find that I was the only person at the meeting at Wallfields not employed or connected to any Council; County, District or Town.
One thing not discussed was the need for another hotel in town. I was surprised to find that in the first submission by Wrenbridge there were plans for a new hotel – a Premier Inn. I thought this even odder when the first draft of the HTCUDS also contained reference to a new hotel.
The redevelopment proposals came about as Waitrose had strongly indicated their intention to leave Hertford as early perhaps as 2010. Despite numerous plans suggested by the owners Diageo and managing agents Savills over the previous years there was no way that the store could be extended to meet Waitrose’s requirements.
Once the die had been cast the net was spread but no other group wanted the premises as they all insisted on having parking on the flat. I am told that shoppers would rather walk to their car in the rain than use a lift! Of course Waitrose plans to move to Van Hages also met with strenuous dissent and they were constantly rejected.
Enter Wrenbridge who organised a series of public exhibitions to explain their plans. See bircherley-green. From here on in Planning, Council and Councillors, not to mention interested groups in town and other concerned residents launched campaigns and legal moves to thwart any development at all.
In my mind if someone came along with £40m and offered to regenerate the shopping centre I would have bitten their hand off – but this is conservative Hertford.
It was said that Bircherley Green was part of the Hertford Conservation Area. True, but the whole of Hertford is. Bircherley Green was built in the early 1980’s and has no special architectural or historical merit to deserve preserving and enhancing.
There is not enough space to list all the objections but one was that there were no tenants to fill the proposed retail units. Of course not. Even Premier Inn only signed up to the scheme on the understanding that planning permission was forthcoming. Who is going to commit to a unit that would not be ready for another three years, knowing as we do the machinations of our local councils.
So for the next three years Wrenbridge submitted plans, revised plans and new plans. All of which were poked over like a diner in a new restaurant presented with the chef’s specialty and testing to see if it was still alive.
It is surprising that it too so long for the developers to walk away. I would have walked a long time ago. If Council did not want a new shopping centre with retail units, restaurants, coffee shop and upgraded bus station then I would raise two fingers and put my money where it is wanted.
Meanwhile in Stevenage (from BBC News, 14 March 2019):
Britain’s first new town is set to get a £350m revamp inspired by some of Europe’s most thriving cities.
The regeneration of Stevenage includes new shops, bars, restaurants, 600 homes, a park and a council building.
The borough council said it had studied successful examples from the continent in designing the mix of residential, retail, office and leisure uses.
The SG1 project will take up to eight years to complete in phases and it is hoped work could begin in 2020.
But this is Hertford and nothing ever happens in Hertford. We just slide into anonymity. People still tell me that this is the county town – with no County Court and no shops. Just the place to come to.
I have sat in workshops with traders from Hertford and along with counterparts from Ware have all stated. ‘We do not want to shop in Harlow, Welwyn, Stevenage or Cambridge but the state of shopping in our own town leaves us no choice. We have to travel or use the internet.’
So what happens now? No idea!
What i do know is that the planning application due to be heard on 19th June has now been withdrawn in total. This means that the baby is being thrown out with the bathwater and a new planning application will have to be submitted, approved and heard by the Development Management Committee at the next available date which could be July or even August.
In the meantime this is the view of the hotel site.
The hoardings have been painted a deep shade of black; very nouveau.
With acknowledgements to Laurence Sterne and ‘The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman’.
He also left a page blank to insert your own image of a beautiful young lady. We are a long way from that in Hertford; a beautiful hotel that is.
It is a case of deja vu – waiting for the next boot to fall or in Hertford’s case, waiting for the gates to open.
This Road Traffic Order has been affixed to the notice board at the southern end of Bull Plain for a number of weeks.
What it says is that gates will be installed at either end of Maidenhead Street and only open before 9.30am and 5.30pm to allow free movement of pedestrians. So far no gates have materialised.
The notice goes on to say that the RTO will come into force on 13th May and that traffic will only be able to access Maidenhead Street from Salisbury Square .
To underline the reversal of traffic flow there are two ‘No Entry’ signs at the western end of Maidenhead Street. However if you are driving from Mill Bridge they are not highly visible. I would have thought that extra signage before Maidenhead Street saying ‘no left turn’ would be appropriate along with a similar sign ‘no right turn’ from Parliament Square.
Last Tuesday (21 May) travelling on the 390 bus to Stevenage we were delayed by a forty foot pantechnicon travelling through Fore Street from Parliament Square. The lorry then turned left along Maidenhead Street despite the large warning sign in place to prevent such access. When we finally made Mill Bridge ourselves that lorry was blocking Maidenhead Street.
So what you might say. But it was 11.15am and traffic is apparently banned from Maidenhead Street after 9.30am.
That was bad enough but on our return at 2.30pm a delivery van turned into Maidenhead Street from the wrong end.
So, where are the gates that are meant to prevent this.
What I have yet to discover is exactly who is responsible for opening and closing these gates? And then ensuring that no-one or vehicle is locked inside. Answers on a postcard please.
Today there were two vehicles parked close to Honey Lane at 1.00pm.
I have no words left to say on the state of Bircherley Green. Why was the application not heard last night (22 May) by the Development Management Committee. Another three weeks at least (next scheduled meeting 19 June) will elapse and in the meantime time will stand still and nothing will happen in Hertford.
I could not blame Diageo, Wrenbridge, Premier Inns or Whitbread if they all walked away and left Hertford to its own devices. They won’t; but would East Herts Council really care if they did?
Son take a good look around
This is your home town.
I am tired of everybody telling me that Hertford is the county town. Maybe it is; but on what grounds? Look at this.
This is the situation facing anyone walking through Maidenhead Street towards Salisbury Square. You have to turn left and cross Bull Plain. Try looking up Bull Plain from Folly Bridge:
Traders are complaining about loss of trade, residents are completely baffled and if I were a first time visitor I doubt if I would want to return.
I know that parts (parts! all of it really) of the town needed resurfacing to make it safe for pedestrians. Those with a memory as long as mine will recall that it took a trip over cobbled stones by the then Mayor Cllr Richard Ovenden to have something done about the surface.
People are asking me why is it necessary to dig up one set of stones to replace them with another set, but of a different colour.
I answer that as far as I know it is easier to apply and receive a grant for capital projects than say for marketing or a tourist initiative. So you can get millions of pounds for new pavements but diddly squat to attract anyone into town to walk over them.
I know because I have been there. Are visitors really going to flock to Hertford just to marvel at our pavements? Fine, you can walk without tripping over but there is nothing here to spend your money on, apart from bars, nail bars and sandwich bars.
I walk through town most days and the only shops that seem to have any custom at all is Poundstretcher and the charity shops. This is a county town and this is the best we can offer!
The best laugh I had this week was this story in the incredibly shrinking Hertfordshire Mercury. It concerns the planning row over the proposed building of a Premier Inn.
I have written enough words on these pages, on this subject, to complete a small book so I will not comment further only to once again show a photo of the blank space now occupying a prime site in the county town.
Do the Officers and Members at East Herts Council sincerely believe that they know what is best for Hertford. There has been no progress on this application for years. It is likely to remain a pale imitation of a post-war NCP car park last seen in Passport To Pimlico  – DVD from Amazon – and that was a bomb site!.
There was a time when local councillors either lived or ran a business in the town that they represented. I don’t think that is true any more because what person who had a personal or financial interest in Hertford would allow this fiasco to continue, or even begin.
Have those Officers and Members actually walked around town lately. To the east of the site is Bircherley Court, painted in primary colours and looking like nothing else in town. Halfords across the road is painted black and yellow and Anytime Fitness in the same revamped Marquee Centre has its name back lit with violet neon.
Yes I know that the old Bircherley Green Shopping Centre was situated in the Hertford Conservation Area but it was built in 1981 and there was nothing of architectural or historical interest in it to preserve or enhance.
The Friends Meeting House is what those that know best say they are trying to protect. I may hold a very minority view but an old, interesting building in the middle of a sprawling modern development has an even deeper charm.
It seems to me that East Herts Council is just trying to score points by claiming that it holds the high moral ground over architectural design when in fact, by throwing out every application by Diageo, have been delaying a development that holds the key to Hertford’s future.
Anyone who has tried to maintain trade in the face of sustained road works or a major redevelopment outside your shop knows that in the long term once you have lost customers who are fed up with the disruption, they never come back. The longer the disruption the deeper the cut to income and with it the chances of retaining your customer base.
I noticed years ago that during the week Hertford town centre was only filled with the elderly, young mothers, the unemployed and the economically disenfranchised. This is not the basis for a thriving economic community. There are no shops selling normal goods and even traders who have been here a long time, and they are getting fewer, will agree with long term residents that: ‘there is nothing in Hertford to come here for’.
The Saturday charter market is shrinking, the Farmers Market is showing less affinity with local farming and the number of outlets offering food and drink is rapidly increasing.
What does Hertford offer that make people believe it should still be called the county town? There is no court, no police station open all hours if at all, no tax office and a town where even pedestrians cannot cross the road in a straight line.
There is no political opposition worth talking about, the local paper is a pale imitation of the one that I remember splashing local issues on the front page; and there are no town centre organisations fighting the town’s corner.
As T S Eliot said; ‘this is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but a whimper’.
I wish to register my objection to the planning application on the grounds that this will hasten Hertford’s decline into a town reliant on the service industry particularly the night time economy, and lessen its profile as a mixed economy.
I refer to Document 3-18-2210 Full A3 frontage 1294242 of the Planning Statement which delineates the proposed A3 stores. This frontage appears to take up the majority of the centre’s perimeter. This leaves Units R4, R5, R7, R8 and R9 as those intended for A1 prime retail use.
One of the problems Hertford has faced over the years is that as a medieval town with buildings of architectural or historic interest it is not able to accommodate modern retailers who desire much larger selling space than is available.
The units described above fall short of what a major High Street chain would expect. Units R6 and R7 when let as one unit to Waitrose was considered too small even for them to continue trading in a modern retail climate.
Therefore to attract a major player these units would of necessity have to be merged. However this will severely reduce the number of major stores that the centre can hold. This option has always been stated within each planning application but also as with this one the opportunity to divide units to accommodate smaller stores.
But this might appear to conflict with the applicants own statement in section 3.2 of the Planning Statement when describing the current site as: ‘an over-supply of smaller and poorly configured units which are not suited to the requirements of national retailers’.
The previous site contained over 25 retail units which although including kiosks and similar small outlets did offer a diverse shopping experience. However the majority of residents always enquired of myself as to when a major player such as River Island or Next would be coming to Hertford. I realise that the retail world is in a state of severe flux at present but the town is short of a good reason to come here.
In fact Hertford is dramatically short of key attractors. The following information is based on my database of 2007 which I researched when Town Centre Manager and updated in 2015 for an independent third party.
In 2007 Hertford had seven key attractors as listed by GOAD and this has now been radically amended as follows:
There are five stores which could be considered as key attractors in 2019. W H Smith, M&S is a food store only, Boots Opticians is separated from the main store which itself has been substantially downgraded and moved from Bircherley Green; and finally Sainsburys and Tesco who often are considered and consider themselves as being ‘out of town’.
The other side to this coin is the continuing rise of the food and drink sector. In 2007 there were 51 outlets that provided coffee, alcohol and food (not including take-aways). In 2015 this had risen to 65 being 41% of the total retail outlets in town.
Recently this figure has again risen dramatically. We have lost the following mixed use stores: Cake supplies (now Serendipity coffee shop although this unit has moved from Bircherley Green), Plumbing Centre (now a coffee bar), Artico (now a milk shake bar), Colormax (an estate agent with coffee shop in-house), Hertford Framing (a bar), Clintons (a coffee shop), Sun Studio (a wine bar), Macdonalds (now housing the Post office with in-house coffee bar), Slades (a café) and The Decorated Room (restaurant).
Alongside this there has also been a significant increase in the hair and beauty sector. Together with the above they make up over 66% of all retail based outlets. A trend that is accelerating with more hairdressers and nail bars being opened; and the figure does not include the number of take-aways.
The planning application under consideration will hasten this change of Hertford’s profile towards being a place to eat and drink but not a lot to offer the shopper. Greater consideration should be given to the impact this will have on the town’s economy and what kind of town Hertford deserves. Efforts should be made to ensure that the tenants that take up the units are those that will attract custom from the hinterland and beyond and not be solely a contributor to the night time economy.
I would also like to remind the applicants and the Planning Officers of my previous objection to an area around Unit R1 being given over to Community events.
Over the last 30+ years no one has attempted to stage an event here. There is a sound reason for this. Pedestrians, cars and water do not mix.
Unless a permanent barrier is erected as close as possible to the river edge there is always going to be a risk that a visitor to an event will fall into the water. A risk that will certainly have to be covered by some form of Public Liability Insurance.
Although the outside seating areas especially on the River Lea are well defined there is no indication as to how this arrangement will be policed. Is there to be an appointment of a Centre Manager to ensure that the noise from the al fresco drinkers and diners will not overspill onto the service road and cause disturbance to the residents opposite?
I have made further comments on these proposals together with other alarming developments on the site in my following post –Large hole.