Stratford’s swans will be harmed by the town’s proposed South Western Relief Road (SWRR) according to campaigners, convinced the structure is the wrong solution to traffic problems.
Last week the Stratford Residents Action Group (SRAG) declared the road the biggest threat to Stratford’s swan population in more than 40 years, saying construction will disturb their flight paths to fields South West of the town.
The group points out that road developer CALA Homes, make no reference to the swans or how they intend to protect them during construction and operation of the road, within their planning application.
SRAG’s warnings also have the backing of former mayor Cyril Bennis, who has volunteered with Stratford’s Swan Management Committee for the past 40 years.
Mr Bennis said: “Over the years the swan population in Stratford has gone through many challenges regarding the threat to their environment. The proposed bridge across the River Avon will have a detrimental impact to their movement, and therefore the survival, of the swans.”
Chair of SRAG Marion Homer added: “We talk about a lot about roads and traffic with our campaign – and rightly so because if the SWRR goes ahead in its current guise our traffic will be worse than ever. However, just as and worrying are the prospects for our beautiful riverside environment, and thus our appeal as a tourist destination, if these proposals go ahead.
“SRAG committee members met recently with Cyril Bennis of Stratford’s ‘Swan Management Committee’. Cyril has worked as a volunteer with this group for 40 years. He is well known in the town as a champion and protector of Stratford’s swans, which are a huge part of our riverside scenery. Back in the 70s, when he started this work, there were no swans at all on the Avon in Stratford and now Stratford boasts a flock of over 60.
“Cyril accompanied us to Stannells Bridge on the Greenway so he could get a proper idea of where the elevated road will be and what it will mean for the swan population. Close to Stannells Bridge is a field, which is used as a ‘winter assemblage point’ for the swans; this precious site will be destroyed if the construction of the road and flyover goes ahead. The swans’ flight path to this field is in line with the proposed road and bridge, and its construction would cause many swan casualties. It would seem that the SWRR is a real threat to the survival of Stratford swans.”
A CALA Homes spokesperson said: “All ecological matters will be considered by Stratford-on-Avon District Council when determining the application.”