Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by Mr Richard Eggington, Town Clerk, Stratford Town Council


  Thank you for your letter of 23 January inviting me to submit a memorandum ahead of the working lunch on 13 February 2002.

  I am happy to oblige but my ability to help is restricted by the limited nature of the Town Council's involvement in these issues at this early stage. The Council has no statutory powers in this area. On the planning issues it will be statutory consultee when the time comes for applications to be formally considered.

  Consequently the Town Council has not given formal consideration to the proposals for either the RSC development or those affecting the surrounding area. There is therefore no formal Council policy for me to articulate. Instead the best I can do is to offer my own personal interpretation of the background and the attitude the Council is likely to take when the appropriate time comes. This is as follows:

    (i)  In my experience here the RSC has been an excellent corporate citizen. It has sought to contribute to—and indeed instigate—holistic debate about the current and future prosperity of Stratford-upon-Avon. It has participated eagerly in associated initiatives such as the Town Centre Partnership. It joins in local ceremonial activities such as Shakespeare's Birthday Weekend.

    (ii)  The RSC has on several occasions invited Town Councillors and Officers to tour its present theatre and meet and speak with senior management about the Company's proposals.

    (iii)  The Town Council has been represented on the District Council's Public Realm Working Group and on the recently created Waterfront Task Force group through which it has had an opportunity to comment and contribute to the matters being considered.

    (iv)  It is probably fair to draw a distinction between the proposals for the redevelopment of the theatres and the separate but parallel proposals for redevelopment of the surrounding environment. While the Council will wish to give careful and thorough consideration to the planning applications related to the Theatre redevelopment, it will be aware that this is a redevelopment application submitted in respect of premises by its owner. In the case of the surrounding environment, however, the Council may feel that, while that is clearly linked to the future proposals and viability of the Royal Shakespeare Company, it also directly affects amenities and facilities which are provided for the benefit of the residents of Stratford-upon-Avon. The Council will, I am sure, as the only democratically elected body of the town of Stratford-upon-Avon, be extremely conscious that the views and aspirations of its residents are fully taken into account in the deliberations of the principal authorities and any other parties involved which go to determine the eventual outcome. These comments are not intended to indicate any necessary opposition from the Town Council to the proposals regarding the future of the surrounding environment; but it is an area over which great care must be taken to ensure that a balanced view is reached.

    (v)  The Town Council is also represented on the Community Management Group of "Stratford Town Design Statement Pilot", a project supported by the Countryside Agency and Stratford District Council. Membership of this group is open to the community as a whole. Its members and include RSC staff who have consulted through workshops and exhibitions over a period since July 2000. A considerable amount of photographic input including items relating to landscape setting, character and riverside environs, is being collated for the completion of a "Stratford Design Statement" which is now at an advanced stage.

1 February 2002

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