Proposed new dwellings near Holy Trinity

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  • THE Herald has been asked to point out that the application is for six ‘dwellings’ on the site referred to in the following story, rather than ‘apartments’ as stated on the front page of this week’s paper.

PLANS to build a striking set of new dwellings just yards from Shakespeare’s final resting place, have attracted opposition from local residents.

The application involves demolishing a modern property called Avonfield in Old Town and replacing it with six dwellings, a mix of two and three storeys in height.

The site sits on the opposite side of the road to Holy Trinity Church and well inside Stratford’s conservation area.

Studio Spicer, who have submitted the plans on behalf of the owners of Avonfield, say the current building is out of character and developments close to Holy Trinity in recent decades have not been sympathetic to the historic building.

The firm said that the public welcomed the retention of large areas of open space within its plans during a public consultation, but admitted there were concerns over a new access road into the site on Trinity Street.

The application has the backing of local ward councillor Jenny Fradgley, who believes the design and proportions of the development pay respect to the history of the site.

However not everyone is quite so keen with residents on the council’s planning portal website raise issues about traffic, the removal of trees and the removal of earth to create underground car parking.

The dwellings are all flat roofed structures and have been described as containers piled on top of one and like something out of a Mediterranean market town, rather than Stratford.

Nicholas Butler, from the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: “The whole point of having a conservation area is so that new developments have to adhere to the character of the surround area, otherwise there is no point in having one, we would just end up with a rag bag of different architectural styles.

“This is clearly out of place and would set an awful precedent. There is a place for this type of architecture but not within a conservation area, because if it was there it wouldn’t be a conservation area.

This will be an eyesore, it’s outrageously different to the surrounding area.”

Local resident Bob Griffiths said: “There is a lot of pressure for housing in Stratford and I would hope that if these are approved, some of it should be classed as affordable. New developments need to be in character in the rest of Old Town, if they are not this part of Stratford will be spoiled.”

A statement on the council’s planning portal from Historic England also objects saying: “The proposed three storey building will intrude into the landscape by its dominance and will be visible from within the churchyard in a manner which will have an impact on the significance of the church and its relatively open context.”

It adds: “Historic England has concerns about the application on heritage grounds. We consider that the scheme in its current form is unacceptable.”

Some residents appear more accepting of the plan though, one saying: “I think everyone around here would like to see the status quo remain, but I expect there was opposition when the buildings were built at Lucy’s Mill too.”

Commenting on the application Rev Patrick Taylor, of Holy Trinity Church, said: “We have discussed this application at our recent PCC meeting and we are preparing our response to the developers. One of our areas of concern is the limited access to the site and another is the potential disruption to services that the construction might cause, these are areas where we would have to work closely with the developer to minimise the impact the work might have.”

“We would look forward to welcoming new residents, they will need to have a love of the sound of church bells!”

Oliver Spicer, of Studio Spicer, told the Herald this week that a preliminary design review will take place next week involving planning experts and ward councillors, to assess whether the company’s designs were suitable and whether any changes needed to be made.

Although residents may have concerns over access, these do not appear to be shared by Highways Department at Warwickshire County Council, who offer no objection to the plan.

A decision on the application is expected to be made next month.

Full story in this week’s Herald.