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Give us answers on Stratford Park and Ride

A CALL by the Herald for answers over the future of Stratford’s park and ride has won the backing of a county councillor.

After Warwickshire County Council refused – again – to say whether a two-acre parcel of land within the car park was still up for sale, Cllr Dominic Skinner added his voice to those seeking answers.

The land was put on the market more than two years ago, but despite repeated enquiries by the Herald, the council refuses to say whether it is still for sale, has been sold or, if it has been, what it will be used for.

When the land was originally put up for sale, the council said the area – about a sixth of the overall park and ride site – was underused, but that the authority was committed to the success of the facility.

Encouraging more people to use the park and ride has been part of a strategy to reduce Stratford’s town centre congestion problems. However, it has long been underused, prompting accusations that the county council has failed to promote the facility properly.

Last week the Herald once again sought answers on the sale, only to be told that the authority was unable to comment as the land remained “a commercial interest in confidence”. A similar response was issued in response to a freedom of information request by the Herald in July.

Lib Dem county councillor Dominic Skinner, in whose Stratford North ward the park and ride sits, said: “The plan to sell off a section of the park and ride has been around for a while now and I, like many, am frustrated not to get any definitive answers as to what progress has been made to date.

“I’ve long called for the park and ride to be a major part of a wider sustainable transport plan for our town. If we are to truly fight climate change and improve traffic flow in our town, we have to be encouraging people to use more sustainable transport options.

“Visitors will return to our town. Now is the time to explore creative and sustainable options.

“Could we not explore a shuttle train service into town on busy days, such as Shakespeare’s birthday? And we’ve all seen the streams of traffic coming into town on a bank holiday. Surely these situations are exactly what the park and ride was built for?

“Many residents agree that this area just has not been fully utilised to its potential.

“Selling off part of the site raises some serious concerns about the long-term future of the site. I asked the question in full council that, if the land sale be completed, any funds be invested in the Stratford North area, where the park and ride is located.

“I believe that the park and ride is part of this community and the benefit of any sale should support accessibility projects for local residents.

“The answer I received from the Conservative portfolio holder for finance was very disappointing.”

Cllr Skinner added: “I will continue to push for answers and fight for sustainable transport solutions that residents need and deserve.”

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