PLANS for the future of Stratford are a step closer to fruition.
The first draft of the Neighbourhood Development Plan has been published, outlining a number of projects that aim to make the town a more attractive place to live, work and visit.
Neighbourhood plans are a key component of the Government’s Localism Act, which aims to devolve greater powers to councils and neighbourhoods. The plan covers everything from green spaces and sustainable transport, to housing and leisure facilities.
Stratford Town Council prepared the plan with the help of the local community, including a steering group of more than 40 volunteers. Development will be ongoing until 2031, with the plan being reviewed every five years.
Plans are in-line with the Stratford’s history and heritage, and are designed to bring benefits to the town and community.
Proposed developments include:
* A 20mph speed limit for the whole of the town centre
* Widening of pavements in Bridge Street (including a review of taxi ranks and bus stops)
* Evaluation of town centre car parks, with the possibility of adding additional levels onto some
* Reducing congestion caused by coaches by stopping them using narrow streets and introducing designated pick-up points
* New cycle-to-school routes, which, where possible, will be segregated from traffic
* A pedestrian and cycle link along the disused railway bridge, improving links to the ‘Canal Quater’ and Maybird Centre
* A new footbridge at Lucy’s Mill and additional pedestrian and cycle routes across the river
A green ‘corridor’ around the town, incorporating footpaths and cycle routes, and community woodland areas
* A ‘shop-front’ scheme to help guide retailers on appropriate signage and frontage, as well as providing funding to support improvement work
In addition to this, the plan addresses the issue of isolation of elderly people, which is an increasing problem.
Retirement villages and schemes that originally segregated the elderly will be encouraged to introduce mixed tenures and children’s play areas, so families can live in these communities too.
New mayor Victoria Alcock spoke about the work behind the plan.
She told The Observer: “The dedication and commitment by those who have worked on this has been quite staggering.
“Although there are still a number administrative stages to go through, it is hoped that the plan will proceed to referendum in the spring of 2018.
“We’ll be launching the referendum campaign later in the year and will be delivering leaflets, answering questions and galvanizing the community into action. If you are willing to help with any aspect of this Campaign, we would love to hear from you.
“I am hoping we achieve a ‘Yes’ vote before May 17 2018, otherwise it will be my successor, deputy mayor John Bicknell, who will, I hope, be congratulating all the incredible volunteers who had the vision, dedication and commitment to set down this exciting Plan for the town. We owe them all a sincere amount of gratitude”.
Submitting the draft plan for formal consultation is the last stage before Independent Examination. Comments and representations on the plan must be made to the council by 5pm on Friday July 7.
Visit stratford.gov.uk/nplan to view the full plan.
Paper copies can be viewed at Stratford District Council’s Elizabeth House offices, and also at libraries in Stratford, Alcester, Henley, Shipston, Southam, and Wellesbourne.