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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 October 2007, 12:49 GMT 13:49 UK
Vision for historic town unveiled
The proposals include a wetlands centre and more gardens
A multi-million pound "masterplan" to improve Stratford-upon-Avon over the next 20 years has been launched.

The World Class Vision for Stratford features proposals to regenerate and redevelop the historic town.

A spokesman for the project said the aim was to make the town more attractive "while making sure all the heritage is completely unaffected".

He said the regional development agency Advantage West Midlands has earmarked 5m for the plan's first stage.

Stratford District Council and Warwickshire County Council are also key partners behind the plans.

They are hoping to work with various other partners and bodies, the spokesman for the World Class Stratford Strategy said.

We do not use the river to its fullest potential.
Les Toper
Stratford District Council

He said the aim was to boost tourism to the town, which was its main economy and that the number of visitors "had dwindled over the last 20 years", although millions of people a year still visited.

A "combination of factors" had led to the proposals, including that some parts of town built in the 1960s and 1970s, "were looking out-of-date", he added.

The proposals included a wetlands visitor centre and developing a "canal quarter" to make better use of the tow path with perhaps retail or other developments.

Les Topham, the leader of Stratford District Council, said one issue is to get traffic out of the town centre.

He added: "We do not use the river to its fullest potential. The town has some beautiful buildings and some lovely places to visit.

"I would like to see more formal gardens in Stratford so people can enjoy their time here and its the intention of the World Class Stratford Strategy group to increase the time of people staying here."

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