COUNCIL chiefs could buy up land to make the proposed Gateway project in Stratford a reality.
Local businessman Peter Warwick is looking to develop the site at the junction of Birmingham Road and Arden Street and agreed a deal to buy land from Stratford District Council at the end of January.
The deal for the land, which could see the council-owned Windsor Street car park knocked down and rebuilt, meant Mr Warwick’s company Gateway One Ltd could finally put forward plans for the long-sought development.
As it stands, most of the land required for the project is owned by either the authority or Gateway One Ltd.
However the developer’s architects are currently in the process of putting together a series of design options, which will help determine what further land is required.
The possibility of using compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) was discussed at a meeting of Stratford District Council’s ruling Cabinet this week.
It was agreed ‘in principle’ that should it not be possible to acquire the land through negotiation, the authority would use its CPO powers.
But although the responsibility for organising CPOs lies with the council, any costs associated with the project – including invoking CPOs, carrying out land purchases, legal agreements and the overall process – would be covered by the project’s developers.
Tony Perks, district council technical services chief, said: “The Gateway development provides a unique opportunity to create a pedestrian link that joins together the Maybird Centre, the Canal Quarter and the historic town centre.
“It also regenerates a key entrance to the town – replacing the aging Windsor Street car park – and improves coach drop off facilities for visitors to the Birthplace Trust.
“By having CPO powers in the background it should ensure we are not held to ransom by a land owner who owns a small piece of land that is key to the development going ahead and should make the project more deliverable.”
Funding streams and land assembly negotiations are now being investigated further while a design team is working on plans for the project.
Set to include shops, homes, offices and a luxury hotel, the project would also allow for the creation of a new drop-off point for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.
But the Trust has previously raised concerns over the potential impact of the project on visitors.
Spokesman Mark Armstrong said: “The coach facility at Windsor Street is absolutely crucial to our business operating one of the nation’s leading tourism destinations. We will need to consider the options and implications for our service to visitors.”