The Recovery Plan is progressing well with more of our high street shops, cafes and restaurants re-opening this week. In Warwick town centre we’re delighted to see 82% of businesses trading, so please give them your support. Shopping locally protects local jobs and is making a significant and meaningful difference to our ability to weather this economic storm.
Supporting our town centres
This Sunday 19 July saw the return of the popular Producers Market on Warwick Street in the Covent Garden Quarter. Our markets are a vital forum for local independent businesses showcasing a high-quality selection of goods. Thanks to our partners from CJ’s events installing the social distancing measures, you can be assured of a safe and enjoyable shopping experience.
To give further confidence, from next Friday 24 July we’ll be required to wear a mask when visiting all shops and where we’re unable to be socially distanced from each other. Keep up to date with the latest Government guidance (and even find out how to make our own mask).
To help maintain the recent improvement in air quality, from 1 August electric cars will qualify for a free pass to WDC’s car parks, so if you own one, make sure you apply.
Supporting our communities
We’re also doing all that we can to bring back other aspects of our recreational and community life:
Next Saturday 25 July, we’ll all be able to return to our fitness routines when Everyone Active re-opens Newbold Comyn, Castle Farm and St. Nicholas Park’s leisure centres. The following Saturday 1 August, Abbey Fields, Newbold Comyn and St Nicholas Park swimming pools will re-open too. Find out how to book onto your favourite classes and what safety measures have been put in place at each of our sites.
Third Sector organisations supporting the delivery of essential services to the most vulnerable are being encouraged to apply to the Council’s Community Economic Recovery Fund. Local registered charities, foodbanks, Town and Parish Councils and not-for profit organisations can apply for grants up to £3,000.
Looking to the future
Looking beyond the coming week, we’ve been busy progressing major projects that will create jobs and provide us with important facilities and infrastructure in the not too distant future:
A bid to the ‘Future High Street Fund’ is being finalised that could bring at least £10m in new investment to Leamington Town Centre.
Planning consent has now been given for the former King’s High School site to be redeveloped providing improvements and alterations to the existing listed buildings as well as creating around 118 new homes, underground car and bicycle parking, along with over 30% affordable housing in Warwick. Alongside other proposed improvements and developments, this exciting scheme forms the next stage in the regeneration of this wonderful, historic town centre.
Agreements have been made for land north of Gallows Hill, Warwick to be developed as an expanded home for a local car dealership and a new hotel. This will help retain 100 jobs and create new employment opportunities. The listed Heathcote Hill Farmhouse will also be bought into public ownership to be repurposed, along with the adjoining former farm buildings, to create a neighbourhood centre for the new Myton Green community.
Investing in our future
This week the Council Executive also agreed funding to:
- Complete the designs for Kenilworth’s Castle Farm Recreation Centre and Abbey Fields swimming pools to enable planning applications to be submitted.
- Continue the development of plans for the new Community Football Stadium. Working closely with Leamington FC, schools and neighbouring businesses we will be seeking to ensure that routes into and through this key area serve as good and safe access links to the Technology Park, local schools and amenities.
- Invest £250,000 initially in the Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust to provide business loans on favourable terms to local micro and small businesses.
Finally, thank you for joining us recently to ‘pause for applause’ to reflect, remember and say thank you to all those in our district who have been affected by or have played a role during the coronavirus pandemic. It was wonderful to be part of the national ‘coming together’ to mark the 72nd anniversary of the NHS and to pay tribute not only to NHS staff, but all key workers and good neighbours who have helped during this difficult period.
Keep smiling and stay safe.
Cllr Andrew Day
Leader, Warwick District Council
Chief Executive, Warwick District Council