Question mark hangs over Shottery scheme

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The field, known as Briars Furlong, was bought in the early 1950s to protect the cottage from any future development. Officially the trust remains opposed to the Shottery scheme and voiced disappointment when it was given final approval.

The crucial date is 24th October this year — three years after outline permission for the Shottery scheme was finally approved by the government.

By that date the developers must put in an application regarding details of their proposals, known as ‘reserved matters’, and these include such issues as the proposed relief road from Evesham Road to Alcester Road.

With less than two months to go before the deadline expires there are still no applications of this kind from the developers, let alone approval of them.

The situation takes on an even greater significance than would normally be the case because it concerns not just Shottery but the whole of Stratford District Council’s emerging core strategy.

Following modifications to the strategy the council has included plans for 2,100 homes up to 2031 — out of an eventual 3,500 — at Long Marston Airfield.

This scheme also involves a relief road, paid for by the developers at a cost of around £30 million, with the intention of it linking up with the proposed Shottery Road.

The Long Marston Airfield road would run from the Clifford Chambers area to Evesham Road. If it dovetailed into a road through Shottery it would create a semi-ring road for Stratford.

But if there was a hiccup over the Shottery Road it would simply pile more vehicles onto Evesham Road and worsen Stratford’s already bad traffic problems.

Furthermore, the 800 homes planned next to Shottery already form part of the district council’s planned housing target of 14,480 in the period between 2011 and 2031, and any problems with this development would seriously skew its projections.

A spokesman for Stratford District Council told the Herald that the outline application did not expire this year.

But he added: “The date in condition two of the permission requires an application for the approval of reserved matters for the first phase of the development to be made within three years of the date of permission, ie by 24th October, 2015.

“If the applicants do not submit this application by that date, it is for them to take appropriate professional advice as to what their next steps might be.”

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust said: “The situation remains unchanged with regard to the portion of land owned by the trust and affected by the scheme, which has not been sold.

“I can only refer you once again to our previous statement about our position, which explains that any decision regarding the land, if one is required, would be a matter for our full governing body.”

And a spokesman for Bloor Homes and Hallam Land Management told the Herald yesterday: “There is nothing new to advise you from either Bloor Homes or Hallam Land on the Shottery scheme.”

In another twist to the story the Birthplace Trust flatly denied suggestions by some residents of Shottery that it was amending its constitution to reduce local representation on its board of trustees to make it easier to get a decision to sell Briars Furlong.

The Birthplace Trust spokeswoman said: “The matter of the governance review is completely unrelated. The trust has been considering how best to update its governance for some years.

“The application is subject to approval by the Charity Commission and by the Secretary of State. If that approval is forthcoming, the new governance arrangements would not come into effect until late 2016.”

In a further statement, the trust said: “Our recruitment campaign for our new ‘shadow’ board closed on Monday, 10th August, and we are delighted to have received over 60 applications, more than half of which are from local people.

“The appointments panel will be looking for new trustees with the right balance of skills, experience and local knowledge to meet the needs of the trust.”