PRESS RELEASE - Town Council launches Strategic Plan to 2027


Town Council launches Strategic Plan to 2027

The Strategic Plan sets out what the Council intends to focus on until 2027 (the next Local Government elections) and will help it to continue with its achievements in a structured way. 

The intention is to make Bishop’s Stortford an even better place for all residents, businesses and visitors to the town.  The document is intended as a clear route map for the Council to follow and is intended also for use by the general public to measure the Council by the various objectives that are set out in a user-friendly format and written in plain English.  Meetings of the Town Council and its Committees are open to the press and public and the Council actively welcomes attendance.  Details of meetings can be found on the Council’s website: 

The two key priority areas that have been identified are:

  • The Environment
  • Communication

Town Council Leader, Cllr Miriam Swainston announced:

“I am delighted that Members of all parties were given the opportunity to collaborate with the Chief Executive Officer to develop a Strategic plan that has cross party support and sets a clear framework and action plan for the Council’s work and priorities over the next four years.”

View the Strategic Plan 2023 to 2027 at:

PRESS RELEASE - Waterside Stortford awarded Green Flag status by Keep Britain Tidy.

Waterside Stortford Press Release
Waterside Stortford Press Release

Waterside Stortford awarded Green Flag status by Keep Britain Tidy.

Waterside Stortford is a riverside and countryside trail passing through the historic market town of Bishop’s Stortford.  The trail features twenty-one information boards along its length illuminating its history and ecology. It is possible to do all of the walk or part of the walk and the entirety of the trail takes approximately 3 hours.

With the option to cycle or stroll through the 3.5 mile (5.6km) the public can enjoy beautiful relaxing views of the water, nature and wildlife. Waterside Stortford winds gently through the valley of a chalk stream, through to the maltings of historic Bishop’s Stortford and the canal scenes of the Stort Navigation. One can walk through the market town enjoying the views, whilst doing a spot of shopping or stopping to have a bite to eat or drink in the various restaurants, historic pubs and popular bars.

Waterside Stortford is an initiative created by Bishop's Stortford Town Council, Environment Agency, East Herts District Council, Hertfordshire County Council, Canal and Rivers Trust and a number of other stakeholders.  These organisations have recently collaborated to produce a flyer detailing their involvement with The Waterside Stortford Project. 

Copies of the Waterside Stortford Trail Guide are available at the Tourist Information Centre located in Market Square.

PRESS RELEASE - Town Council Set to Progress Cemetery Bill Through to Next Stage

Map of Cemetery
Register of Burials

The Town Council is delighted to report that following a two day Committee at the House of Lords on 6 and 7 July, a Private Bill to extend its powers to reuse burial space in the Cemetery at Bishop’s Stortford has progressed to the next stage.  A vote will now be taken by the Lords which should then proceed to a further hearing in the House of Commons before being enacted.

The Council believes that the Bishop’s Stortford town centre Cemetery holds significant value to the local community by providing a local place of burial and a place where relatives and others close to the deceased can visit to honour and remember their lost family and friends.  Without enacting a Private Bill it is estimated that burial space will run out within the next 12 years.  After this time, the Council would not be able to offer burials within the Town until at least the year 2080.  In fact, the practice of reusing graves is fairly common in many churchyards and has been carried out by the Council in certain specified circumstances since 2018.  However, even with these existing powers of reuse, space in the Cemetery will run out in about 2036.

The Lords listened carefully to the arguments and evidence of the Town Council which were being promoted by East Herts District Council and after careful consideration dismissed arguments by objectors that there was sufficient space within the existing cemetery, that alternative sites could be found and that the extra burial space was not needed as more people chose to be cremated rather than buried. 

In essence, the Bill allows the Council to extinguish rights of burial in grave spaces and to disturb graves for further interments; a practice that the Church of England approves of and one with sufficient safeguards to ensure that graves are treated with dignity and respect.  These safeguards  include protecting certain graves which are of special significance (such as War Commission graves) and those where families object to disturbance.  During the Committee, the Lords asked the Council to broaden its interpretation of the word “relative” which means that not only lineal descendants but also lineal descendants of grave owners and other relatives will be able to object to specific graves being reused.

A similar process has been followed by other burial authorities, notably at Highgate Cemetery in London and it is hoped that the same practice can apply at Bishop’s Stortford Cemetery.  A further public consultation will follow should the Bill reach the Commons stage and the Council will continue to keep residents informed of developments.

Notice of Conclusion of Audit for 2022/23


Sections 20(2) and 25 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014
Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/234)

1. The audit of accounts for Bishop's Stortford Town Council for the year ended 31 March 2023 has been completed and the accounts have been published.

2. The Annual Governance & Accountability Return is available for inspection by any local government elector of the area of Bishop's Stortford Town Council on application to:

        Mark Westwood, Responsible Financial Officer
        Bishop's Stortford Town Council
        The Old Monastery, Windhill, Bishop’s Stortford, CM23 2ND
        01279 712140,

       Between the hours of 10:00 and 15:00 Monday to Friday

3. Copies will be provided to any person on payment of £0.25 for each copy of the Annual Governance & Accountability Return.

Announcement made by: Mark Westwood, Responsible Financial Officer

Date of announcement: 11th September 2023


View the Notice of Conclusion of Audit and the Audited Annual Governance & Accountability Return 2022/23.

Special Town Council Meeting - Thursday 7th September 2023 at 7.30pm

Recognising the importance and public sentiment surrounding the proposed Old River Lane development project, the Council has decided to hold a Special Meeting on 7 September 2023 at 7.30pm, at The Council Chambers, Windhill, Bishop's Stortford, CM23 2ND.

It will be an opportunity for Town Councillors to receive a brief on the history and current status of the proposals and to consider questions and responses submitted to East Herts District Council.  There will be an opportunity for Members of the Public to speak to Members. 

The Agenda for the meeting can be viewed here.

Notice of Public Rights and Publication of Unaudited Annual Governance & Accountability Return 2022/23


Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 Sections 26 and 27
The Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/234)


1. Date of announcement Tuesday 27th June 2023

2. Each year the smaller authority’s Annual Governance and Accountability Return (AGAR) needs to be reviewed by an external auditor appointed by Smaller Authorities’ Audit Appointments Ltd. The unaudited AGAR has been published with this notice. As it has yet to be reviewed by the appointed auditor, it is subject to change as a result of that review.

Any person interested has the right to inspect and make copies of the accounting records for the financial year to which the audit relates and all books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers, receipts and other documents relating to those records must be made available for inspection by any person interested. For the year ended 31 March 2023, these documents will be available on reasonable notice by application to:

        Mark Westwood, Responsible Financial Officer
        The Old Monastery, Windhill, Bishop’s Stortford, CM23 2ND
        01279 712140,

       commencing on Wednesday 28th June 2023

       and ending on   Tuesday 8th August 2023

3. Local government electors and their representatives also have:

  • The opportunity to question the appointed auditor about the accounting records; and
  • The right to make an objection which concerns a matter in respect of which the appointed auditor could either make a public interest report or apply to the court for a declaration that an item of account is unlawful. Written notice of an objection must first be given to the auditor and a copy sent to the smaller authority.

The appointed auditor can be contacted at the address in paragraph 4 below for this purpose between the above dates only.

4. The smaller authority’s AGAR is subject to review by the appointed auditor under the provisions of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014, the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 and the NAO’s Code of Audit Practice 2015. The appointed auditor is:

PKF Littlejohn LLP (Ref: SBA Team)
15 Westferry Circus
Canary Wharf
London E14 4HD


5. This announcement is made by Mark Westwood, Responsible Financial Officer


View the Notice of Public Rights, Summary of Your Rights, Annual Internal Audit Report 2022/23 and the Unaudited Annual Governance & Accountability Return 2022/23.

Election Results May 2023

Following the local elections that took place on 4th May 2023, East Herts Council has declared the results which can be found here.

The elected Town Councillors for Bishop's Stortford Town Council are:

Cllr Martin Adams (LD) – All Saints

Cllr Richard Bower (LD) – All Saints

Cllr Yvonne Estop (Lab) – Central

Cllr David Jacobs (Lab) – Central

Cllr Matthew Bird (Lab) – Chantry

Cllr Miriam Swainston (LD) – Chantry

Cllr Richard Townsend (LD) – Parsonage

Cllr Chris Wilson (LD) – Parsonage

Cllr Sarah Copley (LD) – Silverleys

Cllr Stephen Skinner (LD) – Silverleys

Cllr Alex Chapman (Lab) – South

Cllr Oliver Diffey (Lab) – South

Cllr Holly Drake (Con) – Thorley Manor North

Cllr Calvin Horner (LD) – Thorley Manor North

Cllr Mione Goldspink (LD) – Thorley Manor South

Cllr John Wyllie (Con) – Thorley Manor South

Cllr Murray White (LD) - Waterside

Ice Cream Van - opportunity

Bishop's Stortford Town Council is inviting tenders to station an Ice Cream van on Sworders Field and at the Splash pool during the period 1st April 2023-30th November 2025. Full details are available at and tenders must be received no later than 16th December 2022

Cemetery Garages Tender

Bishop's Stortford Town Council is seeking a contractor to fully manage the replacement of garages at the Old Cemetery. Full details can be found here.