A rethink of new anti-terrorism measures on Waterside is underway amid opposition to plans put forward earlier this year.
Back in the summer the Herald revealed that plans to install bollards on the front and prevent cars from driving past the RSC Theatre by putting in place a one-way system on Sheep Street were in the offing.
The proposals led to concerns from a number of businesses and King Edward VI School over the redirection of traffic down Chapel Lane.
In anticipation of the scheme’s introduction, the Sunday Waterside market was relocated to Bridge Street again sparking anger from some Bridge Street businesses.
While most agreed that it was sensible to look at ways to prevent vehicle-based attacks, the actual nuts and bolts of the scheme was not universally popular.
The measures were originally scheduled to be in place on 1st October, then it was put back until 1st November, but still there has been no progress.
last week a spokesperson for Stratford District Council said: “In the process of exploring options to close Waterside, Warwickshire County Council and Stratford District Council, working with Warwickshire Police, are now planning an alternative scheme which involves keeping the road open.
“The new scheme, which will be developed in the New Year, will aim to provide effective protection for visitors and residents, while maintaining the traffic flow and access.”
Warwickshire County Council have refused to elaborate on the reasons for their change of heart on the scheme.
Catherine Mallyon, Executive Director, Royal Shakespeare Company, added: “Our priority is always to ensure the safety of our visitors and staff, and we look forward to working with Stratford District Council, Warwickshire County Council and Warwickshire Police on the plans for this alternative scheme for the town.”
Users of social media have been quick to welcome the re-think with one writing ‘thank goodness for common sense’.
The police, county and district councils have always reassured residents that there is no specific threat against Stratford, with the measures being considered in response to a heightened level of awareness across the country.
Temporary measures to stop vehicles accessing Henley Street are already in place, with preparations underway to make these permanent when a series of improvements are made to the street in the next 12 months or so.
Bennet Carr headmaster of KES said: “I understand why they want to put measures in place, but the system they proposed would have led to far more traffic coming down Chapel Lane. It is already a dangerous road and such a move would have made it even more dangerous. I’m sorry that the council has not yet resolved the issue with hostile vehicles, but I am relieved that they’re reconsidering their original plans.”
Joe Baconnet, director of Stratforward BID, added: “If the county council have come up with a better scheme that is less disruptive, then that can only be a good thing. With the traffic situation in Stratford it is inevitable really that any changes that are made will have some impact on somebody. The reason for the one-way system on Sheep Street was to cope with the road closure so maybe that won’t happen now.”