Former Chairman's MessageThe Stratford Society has a special role as a civic society. Its mission is to bring together everyone interested in the well-being of the town. It is also an influencer or trusted correspondent with decision-making authorities on issues concerning the town centre.
We are not a historical society, insofar as we are not focussed exclusively on the past. Rather, we are guided by a knowledge of the history of the town in assessing what may or may not be beneficial now and in the future. We do not oppose development, but seek to encourage good practice, following the guidelines of the Neighbourhood Plan, balancing the needs of residents with those of visitors. We are particularly focussed on four aspects:
1) Preservation and appreciation of the architectural heritage and historic character of the town centre.
2) Environment, to preserve green space, encourage wildlife and natural habitats, and keep the river and canal in good order.
3) Planning of new buildings and amenities, to encourage high quality of design for both residential and commercial use.
4) Transport and traffic flow, to minimise congestion and make it easy and pleasurable to get around town. This includes cycling and pedestrian routes, as well as cars, buses and trains.
Our monthly meetings for members since last autumn have been held online by zoom, and this has enabled us to record the presentations and place them on our YouTube channel. When we are finally able to resume normal meetings, we hope to adopt a hybrid format so that we can continue the zoom transmission and recording. The website is steadily being developed with more content and a wider range of facilities.
It is an honour and privilege for me to be Chairman of this important organisation, and to be able to work with such a talented group of people on the Committee. Our priorities for the coming year are to increase the number of members, to have a wider range of activities, to become more engaged through social media to stimulate debate about the town’s affairs, to engage more with the councils in shaping development, and to press on with projects related to the Historic Spine. We welcome questions, ideas and participation from everyone with an interest in this wonderful town. If you can contribute, please join as a member and get involved!
Dr Lindsay MacDonald