Parting may be such sweet sorrow

22:14, Jul 27 2014
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Juliet and Romeo may be more at home in Prospero Park.

Stratford's Romeo and Juliet may soon be parting in such sweet sorrow from their home of the last 18 years.

The star-crossed lovers and their glockenspiel could be shifted across the road and into the town square as the future of Stratford is debated.

The Elizabethan clock tower, one of Taranaki's tallest tourist attractions, has come under the spotlight after the Stratford District Council launched a community-wide discussion about opening up the town square.

Among the suggestions being shared with the community is a shakeup of Shakespeare's most famous characters.

Council chief executive Sue Davidson said the inner CBD of the town could become a destination for tourists and locals if some well thought-out work was done. Moving the glockenspiel across the road and teaming it up with a stage area in Prospero Place could help uplift the heart of Stratford.

"Tourists are often trying to take photos of the clock tower and there's trucks going past," she said. "And on stormy days [they] can't even hear Romeo and Juliet."

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The glockenspiel had been constructed in sections and that would make it easier to shift across the road.

The council has ownership of the ANZ Bank building and one idea being floated is to demolish that to make a larger town square of Prospero Place, that can be seen from the road.

Stratford mayor Neil Volzke said heavy traffic through the centre of Stratford was only going to get worse over time and the community needed to think about what they could do to mitigate that.

"The clock tower is only part of larger discussion," he said.

"What we are looking to do is have a broad discussion about the future of Broadway, and that includes the condition of some of the buildings."

Volzke said the new legislation for earthquake-prone buildings had already had an impact on the CBD and as a part of the community-wide discussions the legislation would be looked at.

"Basically, we are looking at what we may or may not want Broadway to look like in 10, 20 and even 30 years. "We are having a no holds barred open discussion at the moment. No decision has been made, but as a community we have to start thinking about this."

Davidson said the council had just finished installing a new toilet block in the city centre and was also looking at upgrades to the library.

Nothing would be decided about the fate of the glockenspiel until the council put its long-term plan out for public consultation in February.

Taranaki Daily News