A RENEWED bid to secure funds for a multi-million pound transformation of Stratford town centre has been submitted to the government.
The bid for £13.6million from the government’s Levelling Up Fund has been put in a second time by Warwickshire County Council (WCC) – with support from strategic partners – after an unsuccessful attempt last year.
If successful this time round, the cash will be used to revamp three streets in the town centre – Bridge Street, High Street and Union Street – to make them more attractive to pedestrians and cyclists and reduce vehicle traffic.
This includes the creation of a central walkway on Bridge Street and narrowing the road, closing High Street to through traffic between 11am and 4pm and widening the pavement, and restricting on-street parking to blue-badge holders only on Union Street and High Street when they are open to traffic.
The plans for the town centre have not been finalised yet and work is underway to review the feedback to a public consultation that took place earlier this year. WCC received more than 1,000 responses to a consultation, which will be used to refine the final design. A report detailing the feedback received will be published later this year.
The initial plans were drawn up by consultants PJA after being instructed by Stratford Town Council and WCC in association with the Stratford Strategic Partnership, of which Stratford District Council (SDC) is also a member.
The town missed out on a grant during the first round of the Levelling Up Fund last autumn but received positive feedback from the Department for Transport which assessed the original bid.
Since the original funding bid was submitted, WCC and its partners have continued to work on the project.
WCC transport spokesman Coun Wallace Redford said: “We have taken on board the feedback received from central government after submitting our first bid and have continued to work on the project.
“I am very grateful for the time and effort people put in to responding to the consultation on the scheme proposals. The fact that so many people have responded makes our second bid much stronger and shows the keen interest residents and town centre users take in the future of their town. We are hopeful that we will be successful this time around but acknowledge that this is a highly competitive process with many deserving projects bidding to a limited pot of money.
“This project has the potential to be transformative and to help revitalise the town for the benefit of residents and visitors alike, and which befits the town’s global status.”
SDC deputy leader Daren Pemberton added the plans would provide a much-needed boost to the town.
He said: “If successful, the bid will deliver a wide range of benefits to the town and wider district’s local economy as it continues to recover from the downturn of the pandemic.
“It will enhance the unique place appeal of Stratford to all who choose to live, work and visit the area while supporting the business economy and at the same time supporting our climate change objectives.”