Stratford's future defined in 22-point plan?
A CRUCIAL survey of people’s priorities has been launched by Stratford District Council as it faces even further cuts in government funding.
A wide-ranging questionnaire has been sent to the council’s 1,200-strong citizens’ panel asking what members think are the key public projects that need to be supported as cash becomes ever tighter in the years ahead.
Four vital areas are covered — transport, the local economy, housing and health and wellbeing — and members of the panel are being asked to indicate which projects they regard as low, medium, high or essential priorities.
One project that stands out is the creation of a new park in Stratford, on land between the back of the leisure centre and the River Avon.
It would be the first new park in the town for 100 years and would link the area to the recreation ground.
The questionnaire asks the panel how much importance should be placed on such a proposal.
Other ideas are to establish a Shakespeare Museum in Stratford dedicated to the playwright’s life and works. Such a scheme would be conducted in collaboration with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.
There is also a proposal to establish a science and technology park.
There are a total of 22 potential schemes contained in the questionnaire. They include establishing a rail link from Stratford to the Birmingham International HS2 station, reinstating the rail line from Stratford to Honeybourne, and improving Stratford Railway Station.
There are suggestions for the redevelopment of the A3400 Birmingham Road in Stratford to ease traffic congestion and building an eastern relief road linking the A422 Banbury Road in Stratford with the A429 at Wellesbourne.
The road-related projects also include a question about whether the council should try to encourage the government to dual the entire length of the A46.
There’s also an idea to improve cycle routes in Stratford to provide safer passage in the town and link the town centre with various Shakespeare attractions and other market towns in the district.
People are being asked for their views on introducing the Boris Bikes scheme in Stratford.
On housing, the questionnaire asks whether the council should take a more direct approach to the provision of affordable accommodation and also help provide market housing for key workers that could be made more affordable through subsidies.
Regarding health and wellbeing, there’s a suggestion that the council should investigate options for the funding of investment in health services. There’s also an idea that agencies, including the council, should be more co-ordinated and focused on tackling the issue of child obesity.
Listed under infrastructure, proposals to regenerate the Canal Quarter in the heart of Stratford include a mix of housing and light industry as well as a possible multi-purpose community facility.
Cllr Chris Saint (Cons, Shipston North), the district council leader, told the Herald: “The questionnaire is a serious piece of information gathering to help the district handle its role in infrastructure provision.”