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.
AN OFFICIAL paving stone commemorating Stratford-upon-Avon’s forgotten war hero for the 100th anniversary of the First World War will be placed in the town, the government has confirmed. Rex Warneford – the first man to single-handedly shoot down a zeppelin - was ignored in the government’s initial plans to recognise Victoria Cross winners because he was born abroad in India. The Herald launched a campaign, together with King Edward VI school, where Rex lived and studied for five years, to get the fighter pilot recognised.
PLANS for a massive development of 3,500 homes on Long Marston Airfield have been unveiled – along with another proposed relief road for Stratford-upon-Avon
The huge scheme, prepared by Cala Homes, is one of several “new settlement” options currently being considered by Stratford District Council. But this one will increase fears that the previously abandoned eco-town idea is far from dead.
Apart from the immensity of the Long Marston scheme, its most striking feature is the highway planned from just north of Clifford Chambers on Shipston Road, which crosses The Greenway and the River Avon and goes through to the start of the proposed Shottery relief road on Evesham Road.
The Shottery relief road is part of the scheme to build 800 homes on land west of Shottery and is planned to link with Alcester Road.
But Stratford district councillor Mike Brain (Cons, Quinton)—who has previously voiced concerns that the ill-fated 6,000-home “Middle Quinton Eco-Town” could be built “by stealth” —told the Herald: “Stratford needs a proper by-pass not just piecemeal relief roads.”
Cala’s proposals for Long Marston Airfield also include the provision of a secondary school and two new primary schools, together with a number of “thriving centres” with shops, cafés, a community centre, a GP surgery and a library.
Other elements of the scheme include outdoor sports pitches, children’s play areas, informal green open space and wildlife corridors, with about 33 acres set aside for offices.
Stratford District Council is now in the throes of a consultation process for its revised core strategy, which includes looking at not only the proposed large new settlement at Long Marston Airfield but also the controversial “new town” plan for Gaydon and Lighthorne Heath and 2,500 homes on the edge of Stratford between Banbury Road and Tiddington. The remaining major settlement proposals are in the vicinity of Southam.
The Long Marston Airfield scheme is therefore only one of a number of options currently being considered by the district council as it tries to find ways of meeting its revised housing target of 11,400 between the years of 2011 and 2031.
But there is little doubt about the outward confidence of Cala’s management regarding these particular proposals.
Alan Brown, chief executive of Cala Homes, said the scheme would provide widespread community benefits and a long term solution to the district’s housing shortage beyond 2031.
“We believe this is the right proposals on the right site in the right location,” he said.
“If given the go-ahead, our proposal would transform the area and create a new community that would help meet local housing need, not just within the current plan period but over the next two decades.
“We want to create a new community worth caring about, invoking garden city principles to create a superb place with opportunities to live, work and socialise within ten minutes of Stratford-upon-Avon.”
Not surprisingly Mr Brown’s support for the scheme is not shared by Cllr Brain.
“It’s the wrong site, basically because of road infrastructure and lack of employment opportunities,” said Cllr Brain.
“The best site in the consultation is Gaydon and Lighthorne Heath. It ticks the boxes for infrastructure and employment.”
Cllr Brain’s comments illustrate the extent to which protest groups throughout the whole area are finding themselves in conflict with each other as the council tries to work out which locality should bear the brunt of the district’s housing needs.
One thing is certain: Cllr Brain’s suggested solution to the “new settlement” problem will not be smiled upon by Forse (Friends of a Rural and Sustainable Environment), the group formed to fight the Gaydon and Lighthorne Heath scheme.
Meanwhile, an event held last week has contributed to Cllr Brain’s anxieties about the re-emergence of the eco-town by stealth.
St Modwen is holding a public consultation event between 4pm and 7.30pm at Quinton and Admington Village Hall to discuss proposals to add another 550 homes to the 284 already being built as part of the so-called “leisure village” on the site of the old army camp at Long Marston.
Originally 500 permanent homes were planned, along with 300 holiday properties. But the latest proposals will push the permanent homes figure to well over 800—right next-door to the 3,500 planned by Cala.
And that’s not to mention the 380 homes planned for the other side of the locality at Pebworth, which are currently awaiting a planning inspector’s decision following an appeal.
Cala is calculating that if planning permission is granted for its 3,500-home scheme, work could start on site as early as 2017, with 200 properties a year being built over the next 20 years.
The proposals for Long Marston Airfield raise immediate questions about the future of the Bulldog Bash, GlobalGathering and the Shakespeare County Raceway events, should the scheme get the go-ahead.
Stratford District Council has produced a detailed booklet to explain the issues involved in the core strategy. This can be viewed online at www.stratford.gov.uk/csfurther2014
Hard copies of the booklet are available to all town and parish councils across the district and can be viewed at the district council’s offices or at public libraries across the district during normal opening hours.
The district council is also publishing a sustainability appraisal of the alternative strategic options.
This analyses the likely impacts of development in each location and comments on the potential to mitigate those impacts. The document will be available via the website and a reference copy can be viewed at public libraries.
Comments can be made electronically via the consultation document itself. Alternatively, they can be made on the Comment Form and returned via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or via post to Stratford-on-Avon District Council, Freepost CV2468, Consultation Unit, Chief Executive’s Unit, Elizabeth House, Church Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6BR.