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Stratford-on-Avon District Council has formally adopted a new framework masterplan to open up a key gateway area to the northwest of Stratford-Upon-Avon town centre, aimed at increasing cultural and tourism opportunities around William Shakespeare’s connection with the historic town.  

The gateway site includes the provision of a ‘World Shakespeare Centre’ promoted by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to celebrate the life and work of the world-renowned dramatist and anchor a broader mix of town centre uses and enhanced public realm, complementing Shakespeare’s Birthplace, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and other cultural attractions around the town.

The Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) was developed by Corstorphine & Wright in conjunction with the district council and following significant public consultation. Planning and development consultancy Montagu Evans provided the Historic, Townscape and Visual Impact Assessment report, which helped inform key elements of the framework masterplan SPD, including recommendations on the scale and how the design should respond to the context.

The framework masterplan set out in the SPD will become a material planning consideration for the site, providing certainty to developers and shaping future development. It establishes high-level design principles and provides a vision for high-quality and sustainable regeneration of the site. 

Jonathan Tarbatt, Director of Urban Design at Corstorphine & Wright, said: “Regenerating this underused and unattractive site will put in place a ‘new piece of town’ for residents and visitors alike to enjoy.  The SPD provides assurance that the development comes forward in a coordinated manner that ensures the World Shakespeare Centre, other mixed uses and wider public realm improvements are delivered through a comprehensive framework masterplan taking account of potential phasing scenarios and interim uses.”

Lucy Markham, Partner in Montagu Evans’ Historic Environment and Townscape team, added: “Stratford-upon-Avon is an important historic town with a vast cultural legacy and many heritage assets that contribute to its attractiveness and economic prosperity. This new SPD sets out both planning and design guidelines that will help ensure new regeneration makes a positive contribution to the town’s wider historic context and supports the long-term future of its numerous listed buildings. It will also act as a blueprint for future developers, showing how they can reinvigorate the important Gateway site in a viable and sustainable way whilst preserving the character and distinct identity of the town overall.”