PLANS for a Chinese pavilion look set to be granted despite controversy over its location.
The ‘peony pavilion’, gifted by Stratford’s twin town in Fuzhou in China, is set to be placed in Firs Garden – a small park next to the police station on Rother Street.
A number of objections have been made by residents who fear the six-sided structure would prompt anti-social behaviour, be used by rough sleepers, and would not be in keeping with the surroundings.
But Stratford District Council planning officers believe the pavilion, a typical symbol for Tang Xianzu’s works, will have a positive impact on the town.
Planning head Robert Weeks reported the pavilion, which had a floor space of 11 square metres, would not affect those who enjoyed relaxing in the garden.
He wrote: “Whilst neighbour letters have commented that the pavilion would attract anti-social behaviour the structure would be well overlooked by nearby roads and properties, which would discourage this type of crime. Furthermore, the park and garden is already a public open space and park users can already use the space in an unrestricted manner.
“Although the pavilion would benefit from a roof, as an open sided structure the pavilion would not attract visitors to use the structure any more than any other piece of park land equipment as it would still be open to the elements.
“Whilst the structure is not typical for the conservation area at this time it would, in officers’ view, provide an interesting and pleasing juxtaposition to the traditional Victorian setting.”
He further concluded the feature would encourage an increase in foot-fall to the park and tourism in the wider area.
Councillors will make the final decision during a planning committee meeting on Wednesday (January 9).
The gift is part of the friendship link between Stratford and Fuzou, which will see a replica of Shakespeare’s Birthplace constructed along with his final home at New Place, Holy Trinity Church and some of the town’s historic streets, in a new cultural park in the Chinese city.
The San Weng cultural centre – meaning the three masters – will pay tribute to the area’s respective playwrights, Shakespeare and Tang Xianzu who both died in 1616, as well as Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes – best known for writing Don Quixote.