St Gregory's Hall in Stratford safe from demolition - The Stratford Observer

St Gregory's Hall in Stratford safe from demolition

Stratford Editorial 11th Apr, 2024   0

CONCERNS St Gregory’s Hall will be demolished as part of plans to redevelop a major gateway into Stratford have been quashed by council chiefs.

Some 279 people signed a petition against the demolition of the former school hall in Henley Street, currently occupied by the Boston Tea Party, as part of a public consultation into the draft Stratford Gateway Masterplan.

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.

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.

A six week public consultation on the masterplan took place at the end of last year.

As well as concerns about St Gregory’s Hall, residents also submitted the objectives they would like to see met as part of the regeneration project.

These included improving access through the site and stitching the site into the ‘fabric’ of the town, regenerating an underused and underutilised area of land and improving the ‘built form’ through the provision of high quality buildings, achieving significant improvements to the public realm in and around the site to promote walking and visitation, and making a positive contribution to the historic context including securing the long-term future of the listed buildings.

These will be put before Stratford District Council’s cabinet on Monday April 15 and if agreed by members will be incorporated into the final draft of the masterplan.

Gateway spokesperson Coun George Cowcher said: “The Gateway is a key site in the regeneration of the town centre and the further promotion of Shakespeare in the town. The consultation exercise has been completed and the SPD document amended accordingly. It is vital that this is approved to enable funds to be secured to implement the proposal and provide a new World Shakespeare Centre.”

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