Word has just reached The Stratfordian that rumours ‘to build a wall around Stratford upon Avon’ are not as far-fetched as originally thought. The Stratfordian learnt today that as recently as Monday a special, closed meeting was held at District Council level to discuss finance for the project.
The Conservative Chairman of the group, ’Keep Stratford Right’, Sir Michael Mutton, who is also SEO of ‘The Gravy Train’, a group of business people with a particular interest in the Shakespeare Industry, was at the meeting and issued the following statement…
‘The Shakespeare industry is the life and soul of Stratford upon Avon. It is the heartbeat of the town but I’m afraid its arteries are beginning to clog. Urgent action is needed and we, members of ‘The Gravy Train’, intend to take it. What we want to do is sort out the sheep from the goats, the wheat from the chaff, the dark from the light.
Hence our plan to wall off Stratford upon Avon.
After a number of years of intense discussion, raising funds and getting people around to our way of thinking, a wall seems a sensible and to be blunt, the only way to make sure that we get the right sort of people visiting, and this is important, investing in Stratford upon Avon.
To be frank, our own research has shown us that certain changes if made, could make us a lot more profitable as a Town. As it is, we’re over-run with people from Birmingham even Wolverhampton (they come in convoy), who only come to Stratford upon Avon for ‘the river’, the fresh air and I hate to say it, if they do put their hands into their pockets it’s to buy fish and chips. If that’s not possible, then they bring…sandwiches. It’s not unusual for the town to be swarming with residents of the, shall we say ‘dirtier’ cities, every weekend and I know I speak for many others when I say, Stratford upon Avon is at breaking point.
Our plan would allow us to control what we call, ‘casual tourism’. The type of tourism that does not benefit monetarily, our Shakespeare Industry.
Our plan is to adopt something similar to the Australian system, where so-called visitors will be required to answer questions at various entry points along the wall. Questions for instance, that would require them to name characters from Shakespeare plays or identify quotes, that sort of thing. The idea being that they would have to declare their interest and their reason for visiting Stratford upon Avon. And just to prove that we are not totally Shakespeare driven, the naming of Stratford upon Avon’s Member of Parliament would also gain them entry.
We have in the past tried various other solutions that we hoped would address the problem and would not require a complete ban of individuals from some of the larger industrial cities but I’m sorry to say we failed. We tried raising parking prices and increasing fines for over-stay but when that didn’t have the desired effect we hit upon the Big Wheel. The idea behind that was to provoke a kind of fairground atmosphere that we hoped would have been quite enough to keep people corralled in a spot that they could call their own. (An idea we got on researching The Stratford Mop). Unfortunately, although it worked to a certain degree, the rise in ride prices had the opposite effect and people felt free to wander around the Town, willy-nilly.
Finally, I can reveal that plans are at the later stages. Plans have been submitted with the approval of our local MP and one would hope foundations could be laid in the next year or two’.