Bishops Stortford - GreenBlue Urban

Bishops Stortford


The old Roman Road from St. Albans to Colchester, Stane Street, passes right through Bishops Stortford, a town some 30 miles north of London. Whilst a small village in Norman times, its position in the country made it a useful stopping point for travellers, and it has over the past couple of centuries become a thriving town. Interestingly, Bishops Stortford has one of the world’s earliest bypasses – King Charles I instituted it as his journey from London to the races at Newmarket was often delayed by congestion in Bishops Stortford town centre, and a bypass to the east of town was constructed.

Whilst the road network established the town initially, the canalised River Stort became a transportation channel for a multitude of industries including tanning and malting, which supported the growing population. In 1842 the railway came to Stortford, and this opened up a fast route into the capital, enhancing the town's attractiveness for business, and speeding up the building of new houses.

After the second world war, the town mushroomed, with many commuters finding that it was possible to travel into London on a daily basis. With the construction of the M11 motorway and the nearby Stansted airport, employment opportunities abounded. Having been voted as the best place to live in one national survey, the housing market is buoyant, with new areas being marked out for development surrounding the town. One of these new communities is St. James’ Park, a new village to the south of the town, planned to include a new village centre, a care home, two schools and an employment park, abutting the old town bypass.

Central to the design of this new community is sustainability and climate change resilience, and working with Wormald Burrows Partnership Ltd (the drainage engineers employed by Countryside Properties), a MicroSuDS solution was specified. The GreenBlue Urban HydroPlanter Raingarden system was established and installed within the individual properties’ boundaries taking stormwater runoff from the highway in front of the houses, complete with a high-level overflow for exceedance flow.

The HydroPlanter system was supplied as a non-infiltration feature in this situation, so is fully sealed, preventing water ingress from or to the surrounding ground. This ensures that there are no risks of ground heave, and allows for a wider choice of plant species, still complying with NHBC guidelines. The River Stort and its’ tributaries run close to the site, so surface water flooding is a real challenge, and with increasing extreme rainfall events, there is a strong requirement to consider the future change in the climate.

"A comprehensive landscaping scheme is provided to ensure a high-quality visual appearance of the site, and also to provide green fingers which permeate throughout the scheme."

Countryside Properties are to be congratulated for their forward-looking attitude and embracing of new methodologies. Working with East Hertfordshire District Council and Hertfordshire County Council as the Lead Local Flood Authority, St James Park looks set to give future residents an excellent quality of life, surrounded by some of the best of the English countryside – all within an hour of central London. GreenBlue Urban – again creating sustainable urban spaces in harmony with nature.