THE SHAKESPEARE Birthplace Trust is set to consider whether or not to sell land to developers for a new road linking controversial housing developments in Shottery.
The trust is to hold an extraordinary meeting on 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.
The vote comes as developers 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.
All 32 trustees will have the chance to vote in a secret ballot at the meeting in two weeks time and they are set to receive reports from a range of the trust’s professional advisors before making their final decisionl.
Peter Kyle, chairman of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, said: “Alongside many others, we have opposed the developers’ housing development and link road proposal.
“The current situation is that the Secretary of State has allowed the developers’ appeal and the High Court has ruled against the district council’s legal challenge. We now have to deal with the consequences of decisions made by others.
“Our job is to get the best outcome in line with our duty to protect and enhance the Shakespeare legacy which is in our care, including the five Shakespeare family homes, the internationally renowned museum and archive collections, and our education programmes.
“We appreciate that the developers’ proposals have provoked strong views – for and against the scheme particularly locally.
“The trustees hope that everyone understands that 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 or not to sell the land.