What a week this has been! We’re delighted with the positive progress being made implementing our Recovery Plan, which is on track and producing tangible results, thanks to some brilliant team work.
Business is buzzing
Over half of our shops and local businesses are open. The Town Centres are emerging from ‘lockdown’ with visitors being given the confidence to return, thanks to the new safety measures providing more space to move around within the changed road layout. We’re particularly pleased to see that our work with Leamington BID and the County Council is being hailed nationally as best practice by the Local Government Association.
Plan your visit to our beautiful Town Centres by checking our website for live updates, including useful information on free parking in the council’s off-street car parks; details of the arrangements that have been put in place so you can safely enjoy your coffee in an award-winning park, or even updates on which public toilet is open! We’ll keep this helpful guidance and advice up to date so you can be confident about how to stay safe while enjoying your visit to a Town Centre.
Cash is moving, with our Finance team getting business grants paid in record time, so the funding is available to help the bounce back. A whopping 2,353 payments, totalling £30.5m have been made to 92% of eligible businesses across Warwick District. Applications for the discretionary grant scheme by 100+ small businesses are also being urgently assessed, with the first payments already being made. We’ve more funding available so have tweaked the eligibility criteria to enable a wider group of small businesses to now apply for the next round of discretionary grants. Visit our website to learn more and make an application.
Life is restarting
The Government’s roadmap for supporting our vulnerable residents will change on 6 July and then again on 1 August. The invaluable support that has been given by charitable organisations and NHS volunteers at the Shielding Hub will continue until the end of July, including food parcels, as well as access to funding and healthcare. From the beginning of August, charities and volunteer organisations will then step-in to continue support for our vulnerable residents, transitioning back to a more normal way of life.
Work is underway preparing for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games so we are able to host high-profile events, which will see our beautiful district and all it has to offer, showcased to a worldwide audience. Contractors are onsite transforming the tennis courts in Leamington Spa to provide a fantastic renewed venue. Also, following the allocation of £1,598,254 from the Government’s Local Growth Fund through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, a package of improvements to enhance Victoria Park’s role as the official Lawn Bowls and Para Bowls venue will soon begin. Investments not just in the delivery of the Games, but providing a lasting legacy for our community.
Council is evolving
Local government is playing a significant role in positively addressing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on our way of life. Like so many other organisations at this time, our Council is looking to be more agile and efficient, to address the emerging economic challenges and capitalising on the issues around the climate emergency, all the while providing the best possible services to you.
We are motivated to find ways to improve the lives of residents across South Warwickshire and are therefore investigating the possibility of joint working with Stratford-on-Avon District Council. There are also a number of opportunities which could be developed quickly including jointly procuring contracts; addressing a number of vacancies at senior officer level that could lead to the possibility of sharing posts across the two management teams, as well as the option of producing a joint Local Plan for our communities to secure long-term benefits. Not since 1974 has there been a better opportunity to re-image how our local government could best be configured to serve our fast-changing community life.
Keep smiling and stay safe.
Cllr Andrew Day
Leader, Warwick District Council
Chief Executive, Warwick District Council