PLANS for a model boat pool in Stratford that were slammed as a “Disneyfication” of the area, have been withdrawn.
The proposal for the boat pool was submitted to Stratford District Council (SDC) earlier this year by Nick Birch of Avon Boating Club and involved the creation of a pool for racing remote control boats in the Bancroft Basin. The aim was to give residents and tourists the chance to do something a little different in the town.
But since the application was submitted, it has been bombarded with a raft of opposition, with the Inland Waterways Trust leading the charge.
The original plans state the model boat pool would have been in operation for nine months of the year and would have required the installation of electrical cabinets, a post and rail fence and four pairs of controls.
All the equipment required was to be located on the southern quayside and be attached to a cast iron fence for security.
Two electricity cabinets and two 3.6m high flagpoles were included in the proposal. There was also the option of a life-saving ring being installed.
Stratford-based agents Stansgate Planning said in its planning statement that the proposed boat pool would provide a facility for residents and visitors to the town, as well as increasing the range of facilities on offer within the area for tourists.
They added: “The principle of providing a visitor attraction in the town of Stratford is in accordance with policies that support the local economy, tourism and additional benefits for local residents, alongside policies that seek to ensure that development takes place in the most sustainable locations.
“The scale of the proposed development is such that it will not result in harm to the visual amenity of the area or recognised heritage assets; both the conservation area within which it sits and the listed buildings close to the site”.
The Inland Waterways Trust strongly disagreed, slamming the proposal as a “Disneyfication” of the area.
Their statement to SDC reads: “The scheme is not appropriate to the heritage setting of the surroundings of the former Stratford Commercial Basins, wharves and locks and represents an inappropriate ‘Disneyfication’ of the area.
“The proposal does not enhance or fit in with the environment of the other listed structures which are in close proximity.
The area around Clopton Bridge, which includes the Stratford canal basin and Swannery area, is visually an extremely important area. This is so because the function around this area relates in a workman-like manner to the river itself.
“It is important to ensure that the spirit of the area is not lost, even if its use changes”.
And The Canal and River Trust, who own the Bancroft Basin and some of the land surrounding it, were similarly concerned about maintaining the appearance of the conservation area.
Members of the Trust pointed out that the site for the proposed boat pool was a sensitive one and raised concerns about the control consoles and electrical cabinets potentially blighting its appearance.
While Elizabeth Dixon, Stratford’s disability campaigner, had her own issues. She worried about there being enough space for everyone to access the site, as space as it stood, looked limited. She said there could be wheelchairs, people with pushchairs and those with guide dogs, competing for space alongside pedestrians keen, not only to take part, but wanting to watch the action.