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Stratford jewellers wins permission for bollards to protect against ramraids

George Pragnell bollards (46833308)
George Pragnell bollards (46833308)

WOOD Street is set to become a 20mph zone to allow for new bollards to be installed to protect jewellers George Pragnell from the threat of ramraids.

A total of 19 black bollards – known as hostile vehicle mitigation – are to be placed along a 31-metre stretch of the Grade-II listed building’s frontage.

To allow room for the steel bollards, the scheme also includes extending the pavement to provide enough space for pedestrians, wheelchair users and parents with prams.

And as the expanded pavement will encroach on the road space, the highways department at the county council has requested that Wood Street should become a 20mph zone.

The planning application, which was considered by Stratford District Council on Wednesday 28th April, had been recommended for refusal by the council’s officers over concerns about the impact on the conservation area and nearby listed buildings.

However, after listening to an agent representing Pragnell and debating the pros and cons, the councillors on the planning committee unanimously voted to permit the scheme.

Andrew Wilkins, representing Pragnell, told the meeting: “The high street is on its knees and collectively we need to do everything possible to help trade.

“Pragnell embraces its role as a key strategic anchor retailer to the town and while there is a genuine desire to continue to invest in Stratford, this application really is the watershed moment.

“The London outlet is working well and if support for this application isn’t forthcoming, then investment will need to be directed out of town. Jobs will be moved and there will be a significant reduction in the inflow of affluent customers to Stratford.”

He added: “Bollards are not an alien concept and are seen throughout Stratford town. The implications of not approving this application are significant.”

Mr Wilkins also stressed that the pavement would be 2m wide and Wood Street would still have enough road space for two lorries to pass.

The jewellers was attacked in 2008 by a criminal gang who smashed windows and stole watches in broad daylight.

Giving reasons for supporting the application, councillors said the bollards would not affect the building’s fabric and would indeed offer the wooden-framed shop protection against the huge destruction caused by a ramraid.

Ward councillor Jenny Fradgley told the meeting that similar bollards feature in many historic towns and urged the planning committee to back the application.

Cllr Matt Jennings proposed to go against the officers’ recommendation, seconded by Cllr Christopher Mills, on the basis that the benefits of the scheme – the preservation of a listed building and a reduction in the speed limit – outweighed the harm.

Pragnell will have to contribute £6,000 towards the costs of changing the speed limit and must always ensure the bollards are painted black.

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