Dec 8th 2020
When the project team were in the early stages of developing a proposal to revitalise the riverside, we knew that the preservation of existing habitats and strengthening biodiversity would take centre stage. Making the most of this precious green space will have many positive benefits for residents and visitors, as the space will be more accessible and provide a green route into town. We knew this was an opportunity to enhance the land, so it benefits the environment as well as people, for generations to come.
Last week, with the consultation in its early stages, it was the right time for team members from Stratford District Council, Stratford Town Trust and Tandem Projects to get together with Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and Middlemarch Environmental to confirm that the initial concept ideas were in line with our aims. On a rainy Thursday morning, the team began their walk from Fisherman’s car park and explored the site, stopping to assess the value of the land in environmental terms and discuss ways to preserve existing habitats. The walk also gave us a chance to hear some of the comments and concerns from people out and about using the riverside.
The outcome of the meeting was extremely positive, and the team were reassured that the proposals could achieve our aspirations. Ian Jelley, Director of Living Landscapes at Warwickshire Wildlife Trust said: “The area is designated a Local Wildlife Site, which recognises the important role it plays for native wildlife in the local area. In addition, because it is located next the River Avon it plays a crucial role in habitat connectivity, enabling species to move through the landscape. With the right sympathetic design, the site could be enhanced for wildlife by improving the habitat condition and enabling people to get closer to nature in their daily lives. Opportunities like this could contribute to ensuring that 30% of land is supporting nature’s recovery by 2030, whilst at the same time providing benefits to local people by enabling them to access high quality greenspace on their doorstep. We know that interacting with nature helps people’s mental and physical wellbeing. and therefore sites like this could provide multiple benefits to wildlife and people in Stratford.”
The next steps are to conduct more in-depth environmental surveys of the land while we continue to gather views and ideas. Our consultation is open until the end of January and we have already received lots of great suggestions. We are keen to hear from as many Stratford residents as possible so we can collate your opinions and make sure the riverside is a project for the whole community, so please do take part.
Abigail Johnson, Communications Officer, Stratford Town Trust.