THE SHAKESPEARE Birthplace Trust has agreed ‘in principle’ to sell a small parcel of land to developers for a new road linking controversial housing developments in Shottery.
At an extraordinary meeting held on Saturday (October 3) trustees voted to sell the part of the land – known as Briar Furlong in a field beyond the boundary of the cottage grounds – to Bloor Hallam Land Management.
The trust maintain the decision will help secure views and preserve the setting of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage for future generations.
The trust bought the land back in the 1950s to safeguard the neighbouring cottage from future development.
Permission for the building of 800 homes on two sites was finally given back in 2013 by then Secretary of State Eric Pickles.
It followed a long fight by Stratford District Council, the trust, and villagers opposed to the plans, which included a failed legal challenge.
Bloor Hallam have agreed to meet all the Trust’s non-negotiable requirements to safeguard the setting of the cottage and the trustees have now instructed the Trust’s executive team to enter into further negotiations with developers to secure detailed traffic calming measures in Cottage Lane and other related matters.
As part of the sale, the developers will also pay the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust a purchase price yet to be agreed.
Peter Kyle, Chairman of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, said: “By opposing the developers’ proposals and holding firm to these non-negotiable requirements for the past few years, the trustees have been able to secure the setting of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage for future generations.
“Alongside many others, we have opposed the housing development and in an ideal world, we would not sell the land.
“We are a small charity with a big job to do and that is to get the best outcome in line with our duty to protect and enhance the Shakespeare legacy.
““We appreciate the developers’ proposals have provoked strong views locally and further afield.
“The trustees hope everyone understands the decision was taken with the benefit of expert professional advice after a thorough examination of all the facts, as well as the trustees’ legal responsibilities to act in the best interests of the charity.”
For the full story and reaction see next week’s paper.