STRATFORD needs more than just restaurants and coffee shops.
So says Stratforward BID director Joe Baconnet who has been speaking with the company managing the BHS building as plans are finally prepared for its future after having stood empty for two years.
Hermes Investment is expected to shortly submit plans to Stratford District Council for the prominent Bridge Street site and it is thought they could include two restaurants and a hotel, although the developers remain tight-lipped.
Mr Baconnet told the Observer a number of studies into the local economy suggested there was room for a another hotel in the town, but added with the national difficulties facing the High Street, the question of more restaurants was ‘tricky’.
He said: “Personally I do not think that Stratford has yet had time to adjust to the recent increase in the number of restaurants and coffee shops.
“This increase comes at a time of increasing economic uncertainty and when the impact of Brexit remains largely unknown.
“We understand the developer’s dilemma, but at the moment we would prefer to see a greater mix of uses and occupiers.
“We like to think of Stratford like a department store and each part of the town plays its part in the business, retail and leisure experience.
“Bringing the BHS site back to life will be a good thing but would advocate the best possible mix to maximise the offering to locals and visitors.”
The £30million revamp of the town square completed last year, has seen several chain restaurants set up home there including Nandos, Miller and Carter, All Bar One and Italian wine bar Veeno.
The redevelopment saw the closure of clothes store H&M, although said it was the company’s own decision, and New Look, on Bridge Street, is also earmarked for closure in a nationwide move to secure the future of the struggling fashion chain.