Stratford has suffered from chronic traffic problems for some time. After an unprecedented number of complaints from constituents between 2010 and 2014, I decided that a more holistic approach to relieving congestion would be necessary in contrast to the sporadic and quick-fix improvements up to that point.
Such an approach would only be possible if all tiers of local government worked together in tandem. I therefore convened a series of summits attended by officials and councillors from Warwickshire County Council, Stratford-on-Avon District Council and Stratford-upon-Avon Town Council, and – most importantly – by residents. These summits took place in July 2014, October 2014, and March 2015 and allowed the local authorities to gather residents’ ideas about alleviating congestion in order to turn them into a workable plan.
From these summits, it was overwhelmingly obvious that traffic on the Birmingham Road was the principal concern of residents. In early 2016, Warwickshire County Council produced a set of proposals specifically for this road and they can viewed here. I then chaired a public meeting on 22nd January 2016 to launch a public consultation on these proposals. This consultation ran until 7th March 2016 and a summary of public responses can be read here.
Warwickshire County Council then integrated these proposals for the Birmingham Road into a wider Transport Strategy for the entire Stratford-upon-Avon area. A public consultation on a draft strategy was launched at a public meeting on 9th February 2017, which I chaired, and ran until 23rd March 2017. Responses to this consultation are summarised here. 55% of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed with the proposals, and 45% either disagreed or strongly disagreed with the proposals.
Having taken into account public responses, Warwickshire County Council and Stratford District Council published their joint Transport Strategy in December 2017. The Strategy was formally adopted and approved by Stratford District Council on 24th April 2018 and can be viewed here. It now forms part of Warwickshire County Council’s Local Transport Plan which will be implemented throughout the county by 2026.
Progress on Birmingham Road
In order to meet the associated costs with the improvements to the Birmingham Road mentioned above, I supported a bid by Stratford District Council to the Department for Transport’s Productivity Investment Fund for £2.4 million of funding. My letter supporting the bid can be seen here. The bid was successful and I was delighted the works could therefore go ahead smoothly.
I have, at times, been concerned with the length of time taken to make progress on the Birmingham Road, especially given that a large amount of funding has now been secured. You can read my initial letter to Warwickshire County Council on the matter here. In more recent correspondence, I have been assured that construction work will begin in the spring of 2020. I understand this delay has been long and I will continue to put pressure on the Council until the works are complete.