COACHES would park in Rother Market under long-awaited plans to redevelop a major gateway into Stratford town centre.
The draft Stratford Gateway Masterplan went before members of Stratford District Council’s Cabinet on Monday (October 2) when they voted unanimously for it to go out to public consultation.
But the vote was not passed without some reservations from the porfolio holder for the project about the relocation of the town’s coach park.
The ambitious masterplan, which aims to rejuvenate the “underwhelming’ northwest gateway into the town to give visitors a sense of arrival, includes plans for a World Shakespeare Centre to boost tourism and the town’s status as the “pre-eminent destination” for celebrating the life and works of the Bard.
Other proposals include cafes, shops, educational facilities and residential properties.
The site, which has been in much need of regeneration for over a decade, is bounded by Birmingham Road to the northeast, Arden Street to the northwest, and Windsor Street to the southeast and occupies a ‘transitional zone’ between the historic core of the town, and more recent peripheral expansion consisting of employment and commercial buildings.
The area, of just over a hectare, is currently predominantly used for parking including a multi-storey car park and a coach park.
The coach park will be removed from the gateway site and under the proposal, coaches will be able to pick up and drop off in Rother Market instead.
Gateway portfolio holder Coun George Cowther said he was very pleased to bring this report to the cabinet as it deals with something that the council has been concerned about for about 12 years.
He continued: “It is a very important site in Stratford and I am delighted that we are now taking the first positive step forwards in terms of trying to come up with a scheme for eventual implementation.”
But Coun Cowther added that he had some reservations. “I do have some personal reservations about coaches in Rother Market which I know will be controversial. However, this is a very good document, it needs to go out to consultation so we can get views back.”
According to the masterplan, the aim is to to improve the sense of arrival into the town, and create a high-quality urban gateway
with safe and attractive routes between the town centre and the emerging Canal Quarter, which is also currently under development.
The main objectives for the site are boosting the economy, representing Stratford on the regional, national and international stages, responding to the climate emergency, and enhancing the quality of Stratford as a place.
The public consultation would commence on Thursday October 19 and run for six weeks.
Once the public consultation has been completed, comments made to it will be assessed and presented to the Cabinet along with a final draft of the masterplan for approval.