This Year’s Annual Canvas of Electors is Underway

As you may already know,  Cotswold District Council’s Electoral Services Department undertakes an annual check of properties in the District and this year’s is now underway.

The canvass starts with a data matching process against Dept. of Work and Pension records.  This gives them two sets of properties – those where all the electors match to DWP (Route 1) and those where all or some electors don’t match (Route 2).

The canvass began with an email to Route 1 properties a couple of weeks ago.  The email asked residents to confirm or change their details.  If no response is received from a property, a form will be posted to those households at the end of August. 

These Route 1 property forms do not require a response from the householder unless there are changes to be made.  Once the forms have been posted,  work on these properties is complete although entries are reviewed throughout the year using internal data such as council tax records. Therefore, as no reminder form will be sent, it is important that any household that requires changes to be made, returns the form to CDC or makes changes online

Route 2 properties will receive a form within the next 10 days and Cotswold District Council does need a response to these.  Therefore, if no response is received they will follow up with a posted reminder and finally a canvasser visit to the property.  Also, as part of the process they will be sending a separate information sheet to properties that currently don’t have any electors registered.  A copy of this can be found below for your information.

If you have any queries, please contact Cotswold District Council’s Customer Services team on 01285 623002 or email them at  elections@cotswold.gov.uk

Green Infrastructure Consultation Deadline Extended

Consultation deadline extended to 16 August 2021

Have your say

Residents are invited to contribute and work with Cotswold District Council on their Green Infrastructure Strategy, which will aim to boost green and open spaces as part of the Council priority to respond to the climate and ecological emergency.

The proposals include more places to exercise, improving cycle routes and footpaths to support safe and sustainable travel, creating more ‘natural’ play areas for the young, building desirable places to live and work and incorporating green areas that support wildlife habitats and mitigate climate change.

The new strategy outlines a number of key recommendations that could be taken to benefit the district as a whole, as well as focusing on the 17 settlements where major development is most likely to happen.

Members of the public and key stakeholders are now invited to share their views on the strategy, which will be going out to consultation from 14 June and will close on 16 August.  Covering a wide variety of open spaces and green features, green infrastructure typically includes parks, playing fields, woodland, allotments and private gardens but can include sustainable drainage features – used to alleviate flooding and water pollution – urban planting, cycle tracks and Public Rights of Way as well as ‘blue’ features such as streams and other waterways. 

The final version of the strategy will be used to inform the district’s Local Plan, which sets a framework for future planning decisions, including how the Council will meet the need for new homes, employment, open spaces, schools and leisure facilities.

The draft Green Infrastructure Strategy can be found on the Cotswold District Council website (www.cotswold.gov.uk/greeninfrastructure).  Copies of the document are available to view at all district libraries as well as the Council offices at Trinity Road, Cirencester and the Moreton in Marsh office.  Hard copies can be obtained on request by contacting the Council’s customer services team on 01285 623000.

Preparations Underway to Make Sure Polling Stations are Covid Secure

As the local elections approach on Thursday 6 May 2021, Cotswold District Council is preparing to make sure all polling stations available for those who wish to vote in person are safe and Covid secure.  For Northleach with Eastington residents your polling station this year will be The Westwoods Centre. 

Voting in person will be different this year with polling stations following the Covid secure rules seen across shops and other indoor locations during the pandemic. This will include voters wearing masks, using hand sanitiser, social distancing and making sure items touched in the polling booths are cleaned. 

Staff will also be taking the necessary precautions to keep safe and have received additional training to help advise and support voters.

Voters are encouraged to bring their own masks and pen or pencil on the day to reduce wastage on the day, however, for those that need them they will be available.

Some polling stations have had to change due to some usual polling locations being unsuitable during the pandemic and so voters are being urged to check their poll cards to make sure they know where their polling station is.

Residents are also being encouraged to make sure they are registered to vote, and if they want to, have applied for postal or proxy voting ahead of the rapidly approaching deadlines.  Residents can register to vote through the Government website which takes only five minutes to complete.

Residents can apply for postal voting now and have to get their application in before the deadline of 5 pm on 20 April and to be able to vote by proxy, applications must be in by 5 pm on Tuesday 27 April.   Application forms for postal and proxy voting can be downloaded from the Electoral Commission or voters can visit the council website at cotswold.gov.uk/registertovote or contact us on 01285 623002. 

Northleach Included in Drive to Support Businesses Recover after Lockdown

Cotswold District Council has recently commissioned expert advisors to provide business support and advice for each of the ten main towns and villages within the District as part of current measures to support the reopening of each centre.

Heartflood has been appointed by the Council as independent experts in town and city centres and will be providing advice, information and signposting to a range of Cotswold businesses.  Work on the project will begin immediately, focusing on Cirencester, Tetbury, Northleach, Bourton-on-the-Water, Stow-on-the-Wold, Moreton-in-Marsh, South Cerney, Fairford, Lechlade and Chipping Campden and will involve supporting businesses with a range of key recovery factors.

Heartflood will be asking businesses to book a diagnostic appointment and will provide targeted advice or signposting based on individual business needs.  Businesses within each centre are therefore urged to visit the District Council website at cotswold.gov.uk/business-and-licensing to gain contact details for this programme.

If you are a local business and would like more information on the scheme, please email high.streets@cotswold.gov.uk or call us on 01285 623000.”

Chris Gregory from Heartflood added: “We recognise that many businesses currently require considerable support and that the balance of needs will vary in each individual case.  We, therefore, urge businesses to get in touch so that we can best assess how they can be supported.”

Download Heartflood’s guide to Town Centre Business Support Services in the Cotswold District: cotswold.gov.uk/media/8d8ef85fdd81cf3/heartflood-town-centre-support.pdf 

A New Vision for Leisure in The Cotswolds

Cotswold residents will soon benefit from new and improved health and leisure services in the Cotswolds following a district-wide review into leisure provision. 

At a meeting on Monday 1 March, the Council’s Cabinet unanimously supported the adoption of the Cotswold Leisure Strategy – an all-new vision for leisure that will provide sustainable physical activity and sport opportunities for residents and local communities in the Cotswolds.  The Cotswold leisure Strategy has been designed with a focus on promoting healthy lifestyles and improving the wellbeing of residents.

The strategy makes many recommendations for improving health and leisure services across the district, including; improving current facilities, putting on additional activities for target groups and supporting local communities to engage with physical activity.

Cllr Jenny Forde, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “I’m thrilled to announce our new Cotswold Leisure Strategy. Helping residents, businesses and communities access the support they need to ensure a high level of health and well-being is a key priority for the Council and this strategy lays the foundation for the improvements we would like to make”.

The feedback received from the wider public consultation along with local sports clubs and public health data has collectively informed the Council’s new strategy.  Cotswold District Council received over 1066 responses from residents to the online public consultation.

When residents were asked whether they would use their local leisure facilities more or less when lockdowns were eased, 13 per cent said they would use their centre ‘more’, while equally, 13 per cent said they would ‘use it less’. As a result, the Council will be working in partnership with its leisure provider to improve visitor experience and raise customer satisfaction, while maximising accessibility and ensuring a high level of service is delivered to all users. 
The majority of residents (51 per cent) stated that they travel to their place of activity by small or medium cars due to ‘ease of use’ – with just over half travelling 10 minutes or less. Based on this feedback the Council has plans to facilitate partnership work to promote the benefits of active travel for small journeys to work, volunteering or to visit your place of exercise.

For more information on Leisure Centres, Museums and Promoting health and wellbeing, visit: cotswold.gov.uk/communities-and-leisure/ 

Read the Cotswold Leisure Strategy.

View the minutes from Cabinet – Monday 1 March 2021.

Cotswold District Council to Extend Support for Residents Facing Financial Hardship

Cotswold District Council is extending support to working-age Council Tax payers in the District who are facing financial hardship as a result of Covid-19. 

Earlier in the pandemic, Cotswold District Council set up a financial hardship support scheme to help residents financially impacted by the effects of the Covid-19 restrictions. Eligible residents could claim relief of up to £150 on their Council Tax.   At a meeting on Monday 1 March, the Council’s Cabinet agreed to extend the scheme and provide additional financial support to those residents as restrictions continue.

All those eligible who previously applied and were successful will be contacted and given additional support of up to £150 to take the total amount across the pandemic up to £300 for people with bills bigger than this. 

The Council will also provide this support to new working-age claimants that qualify for Local Council Tax Support. 

Residents can apply for the support scheme by completing a form on our website: cotswold.gov.uk/council-tax-and-benefits/council-tax-support/

Cllr Mike Evemy, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “The pandemic has had a massive impact on some people’s incomes and it’s vital that we ensure those on low incomes receive as much support as is available at this difficult time.   We are working in partnership with the Stroud and Cotswold Citizens Advice Bureau and would encourage anyone who is struggling with debt or to make their mortgage or rent payments to contact them for advice and support.  We recognise that this is a challenging economic climate and we hope this will help the finances of those most in need.”

The Citizens Advice Bureau will carry out a review of income and expenditure and will refer clients to the Council to access Council Tax Support.

For more information, please visit our website: cotswold.gov.uk/council-tax-and-benefits/