At its October meeting the Society received an update on the District Council’s Core Strategy from Dave Nash, the Council’s Planning and Housing Manager. As Dave said, planning policy often seems to exist in “a parallel universe”, which is hard to penetrate by ordinary mortals. However, judging by the question and answer session after his talk, he succeeded in giving a clear explanation of the current position, hot off the press afterthe draft was agreed by the full Council earlier in the day.
The key change since the Core Strategy was last discussed by the Society is that following a public examination by an independent inspector, the Council has agreed his recommendation to increase significantly the number of new houses and flats across the District. There is expected to be substantial growth in the number of jobs in the area and in order to avoid a big increase in in-bound commuting, the number of dwellings proposed has increased from just over 11,000 to about 15,000.
Much of the increase is proposed at a major new settlement at Long Marston Airfield, with 2,100 new houses to be built before 2031 and more to follow later, and 450 to be built at Bishopton Lane to the north of the town. The Society’s concerns at both locations have so far centred around the need for high quality design, and for sufficient investment in new roads, schools, health facilities, etc. This continues to be the case, and we expect the Council to flesh out the details of these proposals in due course. The access arrangements to a new development at Bishopton Lane will need to address the canal bridge constraint and the continuing problem of heavy traffic on Birmingham Road.
One thing we do know is that the Airfield developers propose to pay for a new secondary school and local health centre as well as a new link road from Shipston Road, across the Clifford Chambers Road, eventually skirting the racecourse and joining Evesham Road. If it goes ahead, together with existing roads andthe A46 to Evesham Road link to be built as part of the Shottery development, it will almost give Stratford a complete ring road. The only gap would be across the river from Warwick Road, through Tiddington and around to Banbury Road.