ANGRY residents say a ‘tranquil oasis’ in the town is set to be ‘destroyed’ to make way for a Chinese pavilion.
Stratford has been gifted a Peony Pavilion from its twin town of Fuzhou Municipality, where a replica Shakespeare’s Birthplace and other local landmarks are being constructed.
It is part of a project between Fuzhou and Stratford centres on the relationship established around the area’s respective playwrights, Shakespeare and Tang Xianzu, who both died in 1616.
Stratford District Council chiefs hoped to place the six-sided pavilion – a typical symbol for Tang Xianzu’s works and a classical symbol of Chinese culture – within the Firs Garden, a small park next to the police station on Rother Street, running parallel to Grove Street.
But some 35 people have opposed the application with many saying it would bring unwanted tourists to the area, has nothing in common with the gardens and would escalate issues of anti-social behaviour and rough sleeping .
Many are also concerned at the size of the pavilion which would be around seven metres high and have 11 square metres of floor space.
One objector said: “Firs Gardens is a tranquil oasis. The erection of a pavilion, designed to be viewed by large numbers of visitors to the town, goes against the whole concept of this space and as it is nowhere near the other attractions in Henley Street area of town, is doomed to be an eyesore that would quickly become neglected.”
If approved it would sit in the gardens which were bought by Victorian writer Marie Corelli in 1910, who said she wanted to ‘preserve the open space for the benefit of the town’.
But Stratford District Council says while other areas have been considered, Firs Garden was the most suitable option.
A spokesman said: “Various other local areas have been considered for the siting of the Peony Pavilion. Firs Garden is the most appropriate location as it is a relatively underdeveloped public open space which would benefit from improvement.
“The Firs Garden is located at a prominent entrance to the town on a route between Mary Arden’s House and central Stratford.
“This location would allow the pavilion to be fully utilised for contemplation and possibly performances while also potentially being a catalyst for regenerating an area of open space.”