Chairmans' update

From : Will Hanrahan - our Chairman

The Plan for the future direction of the District of Stratford Upon Avon is done…and the Council has Stratford Vision to thank for giving it a chance of success.

The ‘Core Strategy’ has been the source of controversy and debate. Even now, a legal challenge is all but certain.

However, but for us the Plan may have had one of the biggest employers in the district against it, so guaranteeing its failure.

It was ‘Vision’ which got Jaguar LandRover, the District Council and all major employers in the same room at the same time to make sure each knew what each other was doing. At that meeting, it was revealed that JLR were about to see a sizeable junk of land they had hoped to use for expansion set aside for housing.

Right at that moment, we knew our group had purpose and was able to effect change. Council and JLR got together to hammer out a mutually satisfactory solution…albeit one which still may be challenged by a local residents’ group.

Later in the year our Council held its first ever Business Conference where every business in our community was welcome to join in the debate about our District’s future.

Again, a win for Stratford Vision.

Put simply, we are a forum for the key people of our community to get in the same room and unload their agendas, listen to the ideas of others and work together to achieve business growth, sensible management, community achievement and debate.

If we were not doing what we do – all voluntarily – two things would happen. Someone would have to invent us or frustrating errors would be made.

We’ve been working for two years now. We’re non-political, consist of some of the richest talent in the patch and positive in what we do.

Our District Plan may well now be submitted for external consideration. However, I see problems ahead. Are their enough houses in the Plan? Are they in the right place? Has enough been done to allow for Business growth and, more importantly, is enough being done to both attract business and encourage more growth from existing employers?

And what happens during the eighteen months that the Plan is being scrutinised?

If we have learned anything at Stratford Vision, it is that hidden agendas never stay hidden for long. Let’s keep talking.

Meanwhile, a final word about ‘Local Plans’. They are inherently divisive. Neighbour is set against neighbour, village against village, Town Council against District Council.

It is a time to get together - in a positive way - to ensure the efficient running of where we work, rest and play.


Vision Wins...for Stratford on Avon.

Many strides have been taken to make the lives of those who live and work in Stratford on Avon better as a result of action, influence and the energy of Stratford Vision.

During 2013 - many meetings on the Core Strategy and housing plans - including a meeting with SDC and Jaguar Land Rover to support further land allocation for JLR to create jobs and growth.

May 2013 - We have helped bring a 12,000 seat event to Stratford-upon-Avon - The Comedy Hullabaloo which is part of the superb Stratford Arts Festival.

Feb 2013 - We were delighted to announce a Business Conference for the Stratford-on-Avon District - run in conjunction with SDC.

Feb 2013 - Great News !  Our Olympic Big Screen event has just won a Pride of Stratford Award for "best event" !

Sept 2012 - New Destination Manager - Robin Tjolle joins as the new Destination Manager - an initiative started and brokered by Stratford Vision and its members - thanks to SDC, Stratforward, SBT and RSC for making this happen.

July 2012 - the Olympics Big Screen event for the Opening Ceremony was a huge success - an initiative from Stratford Vision. (see below for photos)

Plans for Town Square, the ever-controversial site which attracts so much criticism, were stalled. The lease-owners, L.N.R., want a five-screen cinema at the heart of a retail complex, those who value the heritage and style of the town were just some of those who objected.

Together with the Stratford Town Council, Vision brokered a meeting with Stratford Society, Stratford Voice and L.N.R. at which we cajoled and persuaded all sides to collaborate. The result? An acceptance by L.N.R. that any development has to have a look, size and feel of a heritage town, a lowering of their planned roof-line and an agreement to keep on talking with all interested parties.

We have not stopped there. Vision will monitor progress and make sure that an eye-sore in the heart of the town remains a priority on the list for development.

Our second ‘win' concerns the always thorny subject of Tourism. Is it good for those who live here? And is it strategically well geared for the changing tastes of visitors in the 21st century?

Again, a lot of well-motivated groups and individuals have been searching for a route map to answer those questions. And again, with the superb energy of Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, The R.S.C., Hoteliers and restaurateurs, the District Council has accepted the need for a Steering Group tasked to create a single strategy to fit the ambitions of the town. One group, pulling together all interests, and setting itself a bold agenda and the result of some tough-talking by all concered with Vision at the heart of the dialogue.

And our third win? Supporting the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust's ambition for a two-day 400th Shakespeare Birthday celebration weekend next year. It had seemed that noses had been put out of joint amongst those who value the traditional march through the town by Civic dignitaries. The S.B.T. are keen to popularise the event with a ‘People's Shakespeare Day' involving an array of groups and communities. Vision's ‘get round the table' agitation has created, once again, a United front in the town with a two-day event highly likely and everybody happy!

Stratford Vision - always alive to the best way forward...