Memorandum submitted by Mr Donald James
EVIDENCE ON THE PROPOSALS BY THE ROYAL SHAKESPEARE
COMPANY AT STRATFORD-UPON-AVON
The proposals are in sketch/diagram form in
the local press which limit the amount of evidence with the exception
of the proposed demolition of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (RST).
The building is a "Listed 2* grade"
because of its historic, social and architectural importance.
The grounds for its demolition, according to the RSC is that the
building cannot be used properly for plays, particularly Shakespearian
productions. (I believe that it is possible and at reasonable
expense to deal with matters to ensure that it is improved and
capable for as the RST as originally intended).
For these reasons I oppose rigorously its demolition.
To criticise the work of the previous architects
is not an acceptable reason to demolish, neither is the reason
that the RST now want an Elizabethan theatre like the "Globe".
Shakespeare's plays have been performed successfully in the RST
for nearly 70 years.
The "listing" of buildings ensures
that our heritage is maintained. Stratford-upon-Avon exemplifies
this. For the RST to be allowed to be demolished would be regarded
by those who care for our heritage as vandalism and likely to
cause a serious precedent.
Its demolition would be unfortunate because
it is so well liked generally, but to do this before the decision
is made on the RST could be regretted by RSC for obvious reasons.
When drawings are ready it will be possible to give evidence.
It is impossible to comment because of lack
of definition. If it were to include development on the waterfront
in conjunction with the District Council I would oppose because
of environmental damage to one of the most beautiful views in
Any footbridge of whatever design would be a
disturbing intrusion, environmentally injurious and which I would
oppose. The Abercrombies dealt with this in their report to Stratford
Borough Council in 1922 and were totally opposed to it; their
advice then is more relevant 80 years on.
The RSC's policy appears to encourage and develop
their cultural interests and commercial opportunities, such as
the village and waterside development. It is the latter two items
where objections lay, apart from demolition of RST (the footbridge,
although I object to it, is likely to be a Council matter). My
objections, made in the interests of the town, are not unreasonable
and reduce the capital investment, at the same time preserving
the heritage and maintaining the environment now existing. At
the same time due regard will be had for the efforts made in this
country, America and Canada following an appeal from the Government
in 1926 which resulted in the building of The Shakespeare Memorial
Theatre, now RST.
10 January 2002