THE LONG-AWAITED revamp of Stratford’s run down Town Square is set to be completed by this time next year.
The planned redevelopment has been in the pipeline for nearly a decade but has been dogged by delays and legal problems – but councillors this week gave the green-light to the £30million proposals put forward by UK & European Investments.
The project will include shops and restaurants, a four screen Everyman cinema, together with public open space for events and outdoor entertainment.
The new-look square will be renamed Bell Court and the 14th century bell that was previously hung at the site will be re-installed.
Coun Mark Cargill, chair of Stratford District Council’s west planning committee, told The Observer: “The old Town Square is well past its sell-by date and has become run down and prone to vandalism.
“The new design, with a mix of cinema, restaurants and retail will bring a vibrancy to the town centre.
“This imaginative scheme will create an open and relaxing space, refreshing the heart of Stratford and making it an attractive place for all to visit
“I very much look forward to the development taking place in the new year with an indicated completion by Christmas 2016. This timescale will help minimise disruption and give us the town centre that Stratford deserves.”
The much-anticipated revamp has been welcomed by Stratford Town Council, the Stratford Society and Stratford Voice.
And townspeople are equally as keen. Hundreds attended a public exhibition earlier this year to see the plans, with nearly all in favour.
John Stacey, asset management director at developer UK & European Investments, said: “For many years, Town Square has been an under-used part of Stratford.
“We believe that our proposals will create a high quality, well managed environment where both local residents and visitors to Stratford can shop, eat, drink and enjoy their leisure time.”
The developers own the lease on the square – two thirds of which is owned by the district council and the other third by Stratford Town Trust.