TRUSTEES are set to vote on whether or not to sell land to developers for a new road linking controversial housing developments in Shottery.
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust will be holding an extraordinary meeting on Saturday(October 3) to decide on the future of the land known as Briar Furlong, which developers Bloor and Hallam Land Management want to buy.
The trust bought the land back in the 1950s to safeguard neighbouring Anne Hathaway’s Cottage from future development and permission for the building of 800 homes on two sites was finally given back in 2013 by then Secretary of State Eric Pickles.
It followed a long fight by Stratford District Council, the trust, and villagers opposed to the plans, which included a failed legal challenge.
Developers now face a race against time as they only have until October 24 – when outline planning permission expires – to submit details of their proposals including the link from Evesham Road to Alcester Road.
The trust has come under fire since it was revealed all 32 trustees would be allowed to vote in a secret ballot at the meeting with the result being announced afterwards and details of how many have voted for and against kept under wraps.
Chairman of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Peter Kyle, said: “The trustees hope everyone understands whatever decision is taken it will be with the benefit of expert professional advice after a thorough examination of all the facts, and mindful of the trustees’ responsibility to secure the best outcome for our charity and the future of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage in particular.”
RASE (Residents Against Shottery Expansion) have long opposed the sale, and previously commissioned a report on the duties of the trustees in considering whether to sell the land.