Speed is key to town centre changes say businesses

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Major changes have been made throughout much of the town centre Photo: Mark Williamson

Stratford businesses say speed is key in implementing changes to the new town centre layout, though Warwickshire County Council say they have yet to finalise any alterations.

The general view expressed by businesses this week is that the scheme currently in place has presented many problems, with issues concerning deliveries among those causing the most headaches.

While the county council has always acknowledged that it is an evolving scheme which is subject to change, many businesses are now urgently calling for alterations sooner rather than later.

However what those may be is not yet agreed, with some urging the council to drop the scheme altogether, some calling for tweaks to the current scheme and others favouring a full pedestrianisation.

Yesterday some of Stratford’s county councillors presented a number of different options to the authority, including a partial pedestrianised scheme developed by the Stratford Town Transport Group.

The county council is currently assessing the options, but there is hope that changes may be on the cards next week.

Courtney Gilbert, of Stratford’s Cosy Chic Pet Boutique, organised a meeting of town centre businesses on Wednesday night to discuss how the town might move forward.

Courtney said: “It was a good meeting on Wednesday, there was a general consensus that the current scheme is not working, but there wasn’t an agreement of what to do next. I didn’t expect that we would agree on something on the night, but it was helpful to start the conversation.

“From my point of view completely removing the scheme is the best course of action, but the partial pedestrianised plan put forward by the town transport group was probably the next best thing, we’re prepared to compromise and I think that scheme might be one businesses can get behind.

“Whatever happens we need to make sure businesses can get deliveries because that is a huge problem with the current scheme.

“We just want to be kept involved in the conversation and for change to happen as soon-as-possible.”

Cllr Jeff Clarke, portfolio holder for transport and planning, said:  “We are continuing to talk to all partners in Stratford, including businesses through the BID.

“At this point, we have not finalised any detailed changes to the scheme which is not to say that we won’t do so, at some point.  We have always said that we installed the scheme at pace, in line with Government expectation that we would do so, but with a view to make adaptations where they were necessary and possible.”