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Published: Friday, 14th January 2022

Dear Friends

This week our Planning Committee made probably the most important decision for the British Automotive Industry in the last 100 years, giving outline planning permission for the West Midlands Gigafactory at Baginton. Subject to the consent of The Secretary of State, this decision enables an opportunity to create thousands of new and highly skilled jobs, boost the national effort to reduce carbon emissions and build a more prosperous local economy.

Reaching this decision has been a collaborative effort. A special tribute is due to our dedicated officers and advisors who supported our residents and Councillors in completing the rigorous assessment of this far-reaching proposal. We stand ready to work with the Local Enterprise Partnership and other authorities, to engage the businesses affected and assist our residents in dealing with the detailed plans as they come forward.

In the meantime, meeting the challenges of the pandemic remains our primary focus. We welcome the news that local infection levels have fallen slightly in the last seven days from 1,634.8 to 1,453.3 cases per 100,000 people, but we note with caution that infections continue to rise across the rest of Warwickshire. Thankfully, there are currently no Covid patients in our hospital Intensive Care Units, demonstrating the success of the local vaccination and booster programme.  

From Monday, if we’re self-isolating with COVID-19 we’ll have the option to reduce our isolation period after five full days, if we test negative. We’re hopeful that this change in regulations will help keep our key services fully operational and supply chains moving during this critical winter period.

It remains critical, with infection levels still dangerously high, that we continue to follow these simple guidelines:

  • Get vaccinated and get our booster dose.
     
  • Wear a face covering in most indoor public places and on public transport.
     
  • Work from home, if possible.
     
  • Let fresh air in, if meeting indoors (meeting outdoors is safer).
     
  • Get tested and self-isolate, if required.

This week our Recovery Plan made the following progress: 

  • New support fund for community groups and not-for-profit organisations was launched, providing grants up to £3,000 for those that have adapted their service to tackling issues such as loneliness, mental-health or financial hardship. Full details of the scheme can be found at www.warwickdc.gov.uk/cerf.
     
  • South Warwickshire Local Plan published details of the first stage ‘Scoping’ and ‘Call for Sites’ public consultation. Information on the timetable for the key steps in making the plan was also set-out, so we can all understand the plan making process that is now well-underway.
     
  • Leamington Spa Station, with new artwork to be installed in time for the Commonwealth Games for the underpass and nearly railway bridge. We’re seeking suggestions to shape an installation for the underpass, made-up of a rich and colourful palette, designed to showcase the spirit, culture and history our wonderful town. In addition, a new piece of art by Jennie Moncur (creative director to furniture company Vitsoe) will be installed during the planned maintenance of the Princes Drive railway bridge, providing a welcoming arrival for all our visitors.

The FSB Celebrating Small Business Awards showcase the very best small businesses from across the UK. The awards are free to enter and open to all small businesses in the West Midlands. The closing date for entries to the 12 categories of awards is 30 January, so don’t delay! Applications can be made at www.fsbawards.co.uk

And finally… do you know of anyone who is always willing to take on a challenge, has made a positive contribution to our local community, has overcome adversity or has achieved an insurmountable goal? The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games organisers have started their search for 2022 Baton-bearers, each with an inspiring story to take on the special experience of carrying the Queen’s Baton through England this summer…could that be you, a colleague, friend, teacher or coach visit the B2022 website to make your nomination.  

Keep smiling and stay safe.

 

Andrew Day   Leader                                    Chris Elliott    Chief Executive

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