A COLLABORATIVE Stratford organisation dedicated to working together to help improve the town has appointed a new chair.
Sara Aspley, chief executive of Stratford Town Trust, has become the new chair of the Stratford Strategic Partnership after her predecessor Geraldine Collinge stepped down.
The Partnership, made up of councillors and officers across the three tiers of councils in Stratford- along with major Stratford organisations in the public and private sectors – is committed to working collaboratively to improve the town.
It has overseen a bid to improve Bridge Street and High Street, which is currently being considered for Levelling Up funding by the government.
And it is also working on strategies to improve transport in the town and to help fill empty units with new businesses.
Sara is looking forward to continuing the work of the Partnership as she takes over as chair.
She said: “The Town Trust is one of the largest commercial property owners in Stratford through our two historic endowed estates – so we are uniquely placed to understand the challenges the town centre faces and the ways in which it might be improved.
“When properties come up for rent, we take a broad view of the opportunities that this presents. Although we have a responsibility to maximise the income from the endowed estate as it is this that funds the £1.1 million worth of grants that we award to local charities annually, we also look beyond the financial return and take a much more rounded look at whether the tenant is the right fit for the town and the other businesses around it.
“Indeed, the goals of the Town Trust are very similar to those of the Partnership – we want to see a vibrant and connected community in Stratford where people want to live, work, study and visit – so I’m really pleased to have been appointed as the Partnership’s new chair.”
Sara continued: “Having lived in Stratford for around 20 years, I think it is a fantastic place. It not only has its great history that attracts plenty of visitors, but has brilliant businesses in a variety of sectors which means plenty of people live and work here too. It’s not just a place for tourists.
“That said, improvements can definitely be made. We are actively working to improve Bridge Street and High Street through the bid we have overseen, and our members are continuing to actively pursue the best ways to improve issues such as transport and empty units in the town centre.
“My predecessor Geraldine Collinge did a fantastic job as the Partnership’s inaugural chair, and I’m hoping to continue where she left off. I am looking forward to being supported by vice-chair John Scampion who will stay in his role.
“Working together to improve Stratford is something I care deeply about, and I’m really looking forward to helping the Partnership achieve great things for our town.”