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16th Jun, 2021

Town centre transformation plans aim to balance pedestrians and traffic

Editorial Correspondent 16th Apr, 2021 Updated: 16th Apr, 2021

A TRANSFORMATION could see more space in Stratford town centre for pedestrians and cyclists.

A feasibility study to potentially redesign Bridge Street and its roundabout with Wood Street and High Street is underway. Changes could include widening pavements and narrowing the road to redress the balance of pedestrians, cyclists and traffic.

The move would mean a potential six month closure to traffic in High Street, except emergency vehicles, taxis and blue badge holders, from 11am to 4pm. A 20mph speed limit to traffic could also be introduced around the whole of the town centre.

The move is part of the Stratford Neighbourhood Plan, which was approved by over 90 per cent of voters in 2018.

The Town Centre Strategic Partnership (TCSP) made up of various organisations including Stratford Town Council, is undertaking the study. It was formed in 2020 to oversee the implementation of the Neighbourhood Plan.

Consultants PJA will create a detailed design based on the Neighbourhood Plan, which will then be scrutinised by the partnership. If it is deemed feasible, public and stakeholder feedback will be invited on the proposals this summer.

PJA technical director David Moores said: “The key thing for us is to strike a balance between creating a space at Bridge Street and High Street that is attractive to pedestrians, allowing traffic flow to continue to a certain extent, and to respect the unique character of Stratford.

“We want to make sure our proposals are realistically deliverable, so will work closely with various stakeholders such as local authorities, destination management organisations like Shakespeare’s England, and business groups like Stratforward, and listen to their advice when drawing up our design.

“At this stage, we’d like to be advised as much as possible by those who know Stratford inside-out so we can make a sensitive yet effective design.”

Stratforward BID director Joe Baconett added: “In the future, we have to recognise that successful town centres will be those that give people the experience that they want. There will be a balance and ‘give and take’ in these ideas. The hope that we all have is that they will deliver an improved town centre for Stratford and increase business confidence in the investments that they need to make.”

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