An update from the Leader, Cllr Andrew Day and Chief Executive, Chris Elliott.
Measures to combat the Coronavirus seem to be a way of life for us all now. Local infections and deaths are increasing rapidly, so we simply must remain vigilant and continue our preparations with steadfast determination. Working together we will prevail, but there remains a long road ahead.
This week your Council has:
- Established the Warwick Shield Hub to support and protect our most vulnerable residents. A ‘rainbow’ of volunteers, local businesses, charitable organisations, as well as District and County Council staff are working together to get help to those who need it most. The first wave of 174 food boxes were delivered locally and an additional service has also been established to pick-up and deliver medication.
- Housed our homeless. Over 40 people have been lifted off our streets and provided homes so they can be safe. Despite our best endeavours, two people are refusing the support offered, but we’ll maintain facilities to help them too, if requested in the weeks ahead.
- Distributed grants to local businesses. Some £32 million to support eligible businesses has begun being distributed by the Council’s finance team, which today issued the first grants to local businesses.
One unforeseen consequence of this emergency has been the increase in material being put out for waste collection and recycling. Work practices also need to be updated to ensure staff safety in respect of social distancing. Both these issues now require a fundamental change in our waste management service.
Garden waste (green bin) collection will therefore be suspended for a month from Monday 6 April to ensure resources are focused on clearing household waste and recyclable material, as scheduled. You will need to present your recycling bags and boxes as normal, but there will be new crews collecting on some routes, in a different van which holds all the materials together. Rest assured that these are then sorted and separated at the recycling centre.
We’ll review all available resources to re-introduce the green bin service as soon as possible. Regular service updates and other useful information will be provided on the waste service disruption page.
Planning for the recovery
The time will come when we’ll need to start getting back to our regular day-to-day lives. Leamington BID, the Chamber of Commerce and the Growth Hub are working hard now to ensure our local businesses will be ready to return to work. This Council has increased the number of staff working in our team supporting businesses; on hand to offer advice and help to access grants, loans and relief. Practical guidance and a useful frequently asked questions section are also being regularly updated on our website.
Work continues to advance key development projects with a long-term benefit for our area. This week we have:
- Launched public online consultation for:
- The design of the Tach Brook Country Park – a new 56 ha new public open space; and
- The masterplan for Newbold Comyn.
- Signed a contract for the purchase of land and construction of over 50 new Council houses.
To cap off these positive steps, Warwick District Council was also named an Investment Partner by Homes England, which gives other future plans a major boost.
We do understand just how difficult it is to remain at home, especially when the sun is shining. There are people, hobbies and jobs that we are all keen to be seeing and getting on with. However, to stay safe we simply must remain vigilant and continue the responsible actions we’ve taken over the last two weeks, to protect each other against the spread of the virus.
While we’re doing our utmost to keep the parks and gardens open for daily exercise, please encourage your friends and family to continue to follow the Government guidance on social distancing and help us retain this small but cherished benefit.
Please too be mindful that the virus could be having an unsettling effect on our young; their education has been affected; potentially their careers have been bumped off course; they can’t have real contact with their friends or wider family and they’re cooped up in a house (horror of horrors for teenagers, with their parents!). It is a challenging time, especially for those perhaps too young to understand what and why this is happening. So please keep our young in mind in the weeks ahead.
Thanks to your goodwill, all this has been achieved through a week of significant disruption while over three-quarters of our staff have been set-up to work from home. Councillors too have been grappling with new technology to overcome the lack of face to face meetings, but continue to ensure decisions are made in a timely manner.
The next few weeks will be critical. The way in which we are working together positively and proactively, supporting our businesses and communities, gives us great heart that we will prevail and rebuild, together.
Remember - Stay at Home, Protect the NHS and Save Lives
Cllr Andrew Day
Leader, Warwick District Council
Chief Executive, Warwick District Council
Visit our Coronavirus information and support pages.