TOWNSPEOPLE have spoken about how they see the future for Stratford.
Volunteers representing residents and town organisations have spent two years working on the Neighbourhood Plan detailing the way forward on everything from transport to tourism.
Residents, and people who work in the town, will now have an opportunity to comment over the next six weeks on the proposals.
If the Stratford-upon-Avon Neighbourhood Plan is approved it will be subject to a referendum, and if more than half of townspeople vote in favour then Stratford District Council will have to adopt the plan to use when considering planning applications.
Mark Haselden, chairman of the volunteer steering group which has drawn up the plan, said: “The lengthy process is an important one as a Neighbourhood Plan can make a real difference.
“There is still some uncertainty surrounding the district council’s strategic direction and this may impact a few policies in our plan.
“But we now need to make sure it reflects the wishes of local people and it is vital everyone is involved in forming policies.”
A public consultation on the original plan in 2013 found residents were keen for Stratford to retain its market town character and unique heritage.
The wide-ranging updated plan focuses on hot topics such as the increasing traffic congestion in the town.
It proposes calming measures, reduced speed limits and fewer traffic lights, together with an increase in public transport along with pedestrian and cycle paths.
And it also proposes the need to expand existing schools or build new ones to meet the needs of the town’s growing population.
Residents also raised concerns about the availability of green space and in response the plan includes measures to protect the environment.
It suggests making areas including Rowley Fields, Welcombe Fields and Shottery Fields ‘local green space’ – protecting them from the threat of housing development.
And while townspeople would not be able to change the plans for some 11,300 new homes in the district – set to be confirmed within the Core Strategy, the district’s key planning document – they could influence where they will be built and how they will look.
Mr Haselden said: “It’s vitally important Stratford has its own Neighbourhood Plan. Without it the town will be in danger from inappropriate development. We think this updated version now covers our community’s major concerns, bringing local residents one step closer to having a legal say in the town’s future.
“It’s challenge that with responsible planning will make Stratford a place we continue to love living and working in, decisions that future generations will be proud we made.”
People have until July 3 to submit comments. Visit www.ourstratford.org.uk to read the full draft proposals. Printed versions are available at Stratford Library, the Town Hall or district council offices.