New Concepts for the Stratford Shore for Council to Consider
SCALED-back proposals for Stratford’s shoreline development have been released, with proponents saying the focus is now more on nature.
As expected, new concepts for the £ 2million scheme have reduced plans for a 500-space car park off Warwick Road, while a proposed cafe / restaurant near the Fishermen’s Car park is also being phased out, as is than other elements.
The new concepts were commissioned by Stratford District Council and the Stratford Town Trust after concerns raised during a public consultation that the original ideas would lead to overdevelopment of the northern section, which runs along the Avon, from the Crowne Plaza hotel to the caravan / vacation. parks.
However, the board and the trust, which both fund the program with a £ 1.5million grant from Coventry and the Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, have not made enough changes for opponents of the program, who believe that the new facilities would lead to an invasion. people and expel wildlife (click to read “Vanity Project Focused on Tourists”).
The new concepts are to be discussed by the cabinet of the district council on Monday, May 17. Councilors will review a report describing the proposals as creating “a nature reserve north of the site, giving better public access to nature” and decide whether they should take the next step.
The concepts still include improved and accessible footpaths and cycle paths through the site, which the city believes are found along existing routes already used by people, as well as bicycle storage, ponds with soaking platforms, picnic “islands”, a toilet block, space for a mobile cafe and a jetty for electric river taxis. The program would also make improvements to the swimming area, although this would also be on the stretch of river where river taxis would operate.
Improvements are planned for signage and information and a series of projects to ‘improve’ the biodiversity of the area, such as planting new trees and hedges, creating a wildflower meadow, rehabilitating ponds and the establishment of reed beds.
The parking lot extension in this version of the proposals is an additional 75 spaces (there are already 50 spaces at Fisherman’s parking lot) and would be “natural looking”, using a gravel system.
New signage would also encourage visitors to Stratford to use the recreation center parking lot, where there would be electric charging stations.
The council and the trust say the new design takes into account public feedback, particularly with regards to wildlife protection, increased accessibility and a reduction in the number of parking spaces on offer.
Sara Aspley, Managing Director of Stratford Town Trust, said: “We are pleased that the new program is scaled back from the original concept proposals, especially with regard to reducing additional parking spaces.
“The revised concept design supports our priorities of reducing social isolation and providing opportunities to improve the health and well-being of young people.
“The Warwickshire Wildlife Trust recognizes that the focus is now more on natural habitats and we look forward to working with them and other specialist organizations to create and deliver a friendly management plan for ecology alongside accessibility. , giving people more opportunities to get closer to nature. “
Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, which recommended the site be designated as a local nature reserve, said the new design placed more emphasis on the important natural habitats found at the site.
Ian Jelley, Director of Living Landscapes at WWT, said: “He describes that the flood prairie and species rich ponds on the site will be restored, helping to create a mosaic of wetlands that enhances the site’s overall diversity for wildlife. . It was considered to identify the existing paths that have been used by people over the years and how to improve them in a way that allows people to connect with nature in a sympathetic way.
“This site has not been managed for wildlife for a number of years and as a result overall species diversity is in decline.
“The new vision defines how habitats could be restored as part of a larger plan for the site and key to its success will be effective management in place in the future. This management should prioritize the interests of wildlife and ensure that public access is maintained in a friendly manner. “
Site management was also a key ingredient chosen by Friends of the Earth Stratford.
Coordinator Janet Palmer told the Herald: “We are very happy that a long term management plan is being prepared so that the Lench Meadows become a nature reserve, protecting an important site.
“The Lench Meadows area is of regional conservation significance. It is a flood prairie and it is vital to have a wildlife focused plan for this area. We support the work of the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust in this regard. “
However, the group remains concerned about parking and other facilities that may attract visitors – a concept that goes to the heart of the investment in the site.
“We are very opposed to the planned extension of the fishermen’s parking lot,” said Janet. “We believe that there is no justification for additional spaces given the parking capacity of the existing nearby leisure center.
“FoE members are also very concerned about what they see as unnecessary forays into the wilderness. One example given was mowing circles for picnics, when this would inevitably lead to habitat damage around the mown circle.
“We think there is too much emphasis on how to decorate the landscape with sculptures and dens, when in fact such structures can be vandalized very easily because it is impossible to keep them around the clock. Why waste money on additional ‘attractions’ like these, when a well-managed nature reserve is the attraction itself? “
The concept is not only for the northern part: modifications to the recreation area are also included – indeed, one of the projects, the new adventure playground, has already been completed.
Others include improvements to the mini golf course, a mile-long gym track, space for a mobile catering business, and an activity zone geared towards adults and children that could include table tennis, table football, outdoor chess, musical instruments and possibly interactive play equipment.
Not everything will be part of the final designs. The £ 2million budget for the first phase would be spent mainly in the northern section for footpaths / cycle paths and bicycle storage (£ 438k), expanded parking (£ 260k), toilets (60k £), reed beds and promenade (£ 431k), replacement bridges (£ 115k), sculptures and works of art (£ 61k) and bathing / river access area improvements (£ 81k ).
South of the river, funds are budgeted for improvements to the outdoor gym (£ 13,000) and a new cycling training area for children (£ 70,000).
The design costs plus surveys and management fees would amount to £ 230,000 – £ 108,000 has already been spent in this area.
The council report stressed that the redesign was intended to set a direction for the future of the riparian corridor and that not all projects would be feasible with the current funding. However, the board hopes that a successful project will leave it in a strong position when it comes to future funding offers.
One of these may include funding a road leading to the leisure center parking lot from Warwick Road – a possibility under consideration by City Council that could help meet its goal of reducing congestion in the city center.
The council’s report on the new designs concludes: “The proposal offers an opportunity to provide better access to open public spaces, improve biodiversity and support Stratford-upon-
Avon and the wider area. The deadlines for spending the money are tight and the cabinet is invited to approve these proposals so that they can progress in accordance with these requirements. “
Cllr Daren Pemberton, Deputy Council Leader, added: “The public consultation exercise has been a key step in enabling us and our partners, Stratford Town Trust, to refine our thinking to ensure that the project waterfront offers significant benefits to Stratford and District residents while respecting and valuing this valuable asset. “