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1st Jul, 2022

Residents take Picturehouse fight further with air quality equipment

RESIDENTS fighting an application to convert a Stratford cinema into a hotel are funding equipment to monitor pollution levels in a bid to get the plans overturned.

Windsor Street resident Liz Willetts has called on environmental experts in an ongoing battle after the application to turn the Picturehouse cinema into an 81-room hotel was approved by Stratford District Council earlier this year.

The pensioner fears the hotel and building work will cause pollution levels in the already traffic-choked street to rocket.

She has already applied for a judicial review of the planning application, but it was refused leaving her with a bill of over £5,000 in legal fees.

But residents have now had equipment installed to measure nitrogen dioxide levels over the next three months.

Liz told the Observer: “It’s just one way of challenging the plans for this ugly, out-of-keeping building.

“Windsor Street is one of the busiest and one of the narrowest streets in town. There’s always a line of traffic with engines idling waiting from the junction at Greenhill Street.

“The council should have had air quality monitored to to see if increased traffic level would be acceptable. Instead they gave a verbal assurance that it is ‘unlikely impact’ which is nonsense.

“It’s ludicrous permission was given for this.”

Stratford was declared an Air Quality Management Area in 2010, leading to strategies being adopted in a bid to reduce pollution levels. A focus on nitrogen dioxide saw Greenhill Street – off the Windsor Street junction – identified as among the worst areas in the town.

The council has confirmed levels for nitrogen dioxide on busy roads in the town were still monitored annually – but not in Windsor Street – and recommendations were being met and gradually improving.

The council also confirmed it was not obligated to measure air quality when considering planning applications.

A spokeswoman told the Observer: “The traffic statement submitted with the application and accepted by Warwickshire Highways reports that there will be no on-site parking provision, with customers using public car parks. There is a small on site drop off area for customers. It is reported that the overall vehicle trip generation will be less than the former use of the site.

“As air quality assessments are informed by traffic assessments it follows that impact on air quality in this case is likely to be minimal.”

Residents have also raised road safety concerns, lack of parking for large delivery vehicles and the impact of building work on households and businesses.

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