THE PUBLIC is set to have its say on long-awaited plans to redevelop a major gateway into Stratford town centre.
The draft Stratford Gateway Masterplan will go before members of Stratford District Council’s Cabinet on Monday (October 2) when they will decide whether it is ready to go out to public consultation.
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.
The Gateway proposals will be subject to detailed planning applications at a later date and once adopted, the masterplan will be used to help make sure all the proposals are cohesive.
The main objectives for the site are boosting the economy, representing Stratford on the regional, national and international stages, responding to the climate emergency, and enhancing the quality of Stratford as a place.
The masterplan continues: “Regenerating this underused and unattractive site will put in place a ‘new piece of town’ for residents and visitors alike to enjoy. It will create new spaces and places, activated by a vibrant mix of shops, cafes and homes, as well as a major new cultural attraction – incorporating community and educational facilities – that are inclusive and welcoming to everyone.
“The proposals will bring a wide range of community benefits including employment opportunities, affordable housing and educational facilities that take advantage of new ways of studying Shakespeare.
“Boosting the town’s tourist offer will also support the long-term viability of local businesses.”
It is anticipated that, if given the go-ahead by councillors, the public consultation would commence on Thursday October 19 and run for six weeks.
Once the public consultation has been completed, comments made to it will be assessed and presented to the Cabinet along with a final draft of the masterplan for approval. This is likely to be in early 2024.