Responses to Planning Applications

The Stratford Society keeps a watch on planning applications and proposals for new development within the town. We also encourage the conservation and restoration of significant buildings and landscapes. We are not against development, and do not adopt a 'nimby' attitude, but we seek to ensure that the character of the town is maintained, that its architectural heritage is respected and that the principles of good design are applied. We encourage adherence to the Neighbourhood Plan. Drawing on the experience and knowledge of our members, we are able to provide expert advice and guidance to the Councils and planning authorities. We also challenge the Stratford District Council in relation to the planning process where we feel it to be necessary: see the letter to the Herald by Dr Kevin Bond, Chairman, in June 2021.

The Society submitted objections in March 2021 to a Planning Application, in which the operator of the huge Observation Wheel on the Recreation Ground (near the Swan's Nest) sought to use it 'for a period of six months in each calendar year'. Grounds for refusal include that it is not permitted within the scope of the Neighbourhood Plan and that it is against the spirit of the Riverside Green Corridor. Above all, if the application were granted it would enable the wheel to be erected and active for half of every year indefinitely, i.e. with no time limit. The application was subsequently modified to be on a temporary basis for five years, and was referred to a meeting of the SDC Planning Committee. The Society spoke at the meeting with further objections, but councillors felt that the commercial attraction of the wheel outweighed the nuisance to neighbours and breaching of environmental policy.

For the public consultation for the Stratford Riverside Project, the Society conducted a survey of members and collated a response, submitted at the end of January 2021. Although there was broad support for the environmental aspects of the scheme, there was also widespread concern over the proposed 500-car park at the northern end of the land. A meeting was organised in December, with two of the project leaders as speakers. The revised plan issued in May 2021 includes many of the changes recommended by the Society. More detailed plans for the northern area were published in July 2021, showing the amenities for the Fisherman's car park, now to be extended by only 71 spaces, and also a design plan for the whole of the northern section. New concerns have been raised about contamination of the land, because of its former use as a landfill site for rubbish from the town, and an objection was raised to the Planning Application. A subsequent site investigation by an independent environmental consultant found that 'there are no valid pollutant linkages relating to end users, construction workers, neighbours/the general public or controlled waters'. The Planning Application has been resubmitted, with a deadline for responses by 27th October.

The Society submitted vehement objections in January 2021 to a Planning Application, in which the District Council sought to grant itself retrospective permission for the holding of Markets on the Waterside area, near the Bancroft Gardens and river. As a result of these, together with strong objections from the Canal & River Trust, the Council withdrew the proposal.

In January 2019 the Society expressed the concerns of members about the proposed location of a Chinese Pavilion at the end of the garden between Rother and Arden Streets, known as 'The Firs'. These amplified the widespread view in the town that this was the wrong location. Nevertheless the District Council went ahead with the plan.