THE Stratford Mop of 1914 appeared little changed from previous years. Wartime austerity had not yet set in and few people foresaw that the conflict would be lengthy. One of the great traditions of the fair was its roasts. No less than five oxen and seven pigs were rotating on the spits outside the pubs on the big day. The excursion trains brought their usual hundreds of revellers from Birmingham and other centres of population. None of Stratford’s conscripts had yet embarked overseas, although just five days before, a regular with the South Wales Borderers, Sgt RH Savage, had been the first Stratfordian to fall victim to the war. He had been struck by shrapnel at the Battle of the Aisne and died of his wounds in Bournbrook Military Hospital.
Four years ago Ellis Holtom, of Stratford-upon-Avon, was born with half a working heart. Later, the Herald featured his condition as a tribute to the work of Birmingham Children’s Hospital where he was treated. Now, to mark Congenital Heart Defect Week his mum, Vicki, updates his story. . .
ALL 326 local planning authorities in England, councils like Stratford-on-Avon District, need a local plan. The core strategy is a component of that local plan. It contains all the local district wide policies that need to be considered when processing planning applications. New development needs to satisfy local needs, helping to realise the hopes and ambitions of its communities and protect them from situations they fear. New homes and places to work should provide then with a healthy lifestyle, a pleasant place to live, good recreational facilities and above all the infrastructure that enhances their quality of life. The buzzword to describe this is ‘sustainable’.
THE poor are paying more than they should be for their energy, according to damning new evidence from Stratford-upon-Avon’s Citizens Advice Bureau. Prepayment meters (PPMs) are costing users in fuel poverty a “disproportionate amount” for what little gas and electricity they can afford, the bureau has found. There are around 7.2 million people on prepayment meters in the UK and several thousand in the district of Stratford. Despite Stratford’s reputation as an affluent area, the bureau is being forced to come to the aid of more and more people living in fuel poverty on an increasingly regular basis.
EXPLOSIVE proposals to build 155 homes on the edge of Shottery, in addition to the 800 already approved by the government, have been unveiled.
If approved, the plans by developers Gladman would bring the number of extra homes in the vicinity of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage—a world tourist attraction of immense historic significance—to nearly 1,000.
Gladman have announced that they’re launching a public consultation process on their plans to build the homes on 18 acres of land between Evesham Road, Stratford and the huge new scheme earmarked for land west of Shottery.
On being told of Gladman’s proposals Cllr Chris Saint (Cons, Tredington), the leader of Stratford District Council, told the Herald: “This is a surprise. I need to look at it in more detail, but my instinct is to say it would not be welcome.”
Later, Cllr Saint said: “This development sits outside of our policy framework and has huge environmental impacts upon Bordon Hill and open countryside.
“The traffic impacts could be most unwelcome. To my knowledge, the developers have not sought pre-application advice. I trust that the developers will take full account of public viewpoints before promoting any form of planning application.”
Cllr Peter Moorse (Lib Dem, Stratford), the district council’s opposition spokesman on planning, said: “We fought long and hard to try to stop the Shottery development. To learn that other developers are now coming forward in this sensitive area is appalling.”
In the public consultation document Gladman capitalise on the vital words contained within the government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) that have put local authorities at the mercy of developers in recent times.
The Gladman document states: “Every council is required by the government to boost significantly the supply of housing and to make planning decisions in the light of a presumption in favour of sustainable development.
“Stratford-on-Avon District Council do not presently have a five-year supply of housing land. Approval of this development will help towards addressing the present shortfall of housing within the [district].”
The document says that the Gladman development would provide a residential development of about 155 homes of varying sizes, types and tenures, of which 35 per cent would be affordable housing for local people.
The development would also contain public open space with recreational facilities and provide new landscape planting to complement the existing hedgerows and trees.
Gladman add: “Shottery supports a range of services and facilities which are used by both residents and those in the surrounding area.
“The site is well located with good access to existing community facilities and the local public transport network. The proposal will provide new homes to sustain the vitality and viability of the local community.”
The controversial scheme for 800 homes on the edge of Shottery was fought all the way to the High Court—and still triumphed.
Initially it was rejected unanimously by Stratford District Council’s west area planning committee, but it was backed on appeal by a planning inspector whose decision was supported by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles.
The district council then decided to mount a legal challenge to Mr Pickles’ ruling, but lost.
There is no sign yet of work starting on the site, but an archaeological survey has taken place in advance of the heavy ground work that will be necessary.
Meanwhile, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust—which owns and maintains Anne Hathaway’s Cottage—still has an ace up its sleeve.
The trust owns a field behind the Cottage that was purchased in 1953 for the purpose of protecting the building from unwelcome future development.
The field would need to be made available to developers Bloor Homes and Hallam Land Management for a relief road planned for the site.
The Herald understands that the trust, which remains officially opposed to the housing scheme, has not yet decided whether or not to sell the land to the developers and, that in any event, such a decision will not be made for months, if not longer.