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/

Council Approves Budget Helping Communities Bounce Back From COVID-19

At a Full Council meeting this week (Wed 24 Feb), Cotswold District Councillors approved a net budget for 2020/21 of £12.5 million.  The approved budget will allow the Council to invest in the Cotswolds to improve services, protect our environment and help our communities bounce back from Covid-19.

Key elements of the budget include:

  • Supporting economic development in the District and preparing business cases for investment through our Recovery Investment Strategy
  • Continuing our work on strategic planning to ensure our updated Local Plan is ‘green to the core’ and develop a masterplan for Cirencester, meets our housing needs and acknowledges the challenge of the climate emergency
  • A £200,000 investment over two years in a new Civic Pride Programme to tackle environmental crime and improve our public realm
  • To plan and develop better, greener transport options in the District
  • Ensuring that the most vulnerable people in the District have access to support and accommodation

Cotswold District Council’s budget is funded through your Council Tax, a share of business rates and government grants. Only 7.3% of the Council Tax paid by residents comes to Cotswold District Council. The majority goes to Gloucestershire County Council and Gloucestershire Police with local town or parish councils receiving the remainder. 

The Council uses its budget to provide a range of services including waste collections, leisure facilities, fly-tipping collection, tourism services and car parks among many others.  The Cotswold District Council part of this year’s council tax bill will rise by 10p a week, or £5 a year for the average band D household. 

The Budget was approved at Cotswold District Council’s Full Council meeting on Wed 24 February. Councillors voted as follows; 20 for, 14 against, 0 abstentions. 

Crowdfund Cotswold Launches Residents Given a Chance to Improve Local Places

Cotswold District Council is launching its new online crowdfunding platform next week to give residents the chance to seek financial support for their ideas to improve local places. 

The new platform ‘Crowdfund Cotswold’ launches on 22 February. In partnership with the UK’s leading civic crowdfunding platform Spacehive, the Council is holding a virtual launch event for anyone with ideas about how to improve their communities. 

Sign up and register your interest for the launch event.

Spacehive will also lead a series of online events in March for anyone who is interested in learning a little bit more or might want to discuss ideas that they have. 

Cllr Jenny Forde, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “We can’t wait to see what ideas and initiatives our residents will put forward to ‘Crowdfund Cotswold’. Local people are best placed to understand the challenges and opportunities in their local area and this will put their ideas in the driving seat.  We would also love to hear from any businesses or organisations who care about the Cotswolds to join us in offering support to project ideas so we can turbocharge the success of locally-led campaigns together. The more people that get involved in ‘Crowdfund Cotswold’, the better.”

How does ‘Crowdfund Cotswold’ work?

The aim of ‘Crowdfund Cotswold’ is simple – to fund and deliver on ideas to improve the District put forward by the local community, for the local community. 

The deadline to put forward your idea is 21 April 2021. You can get started by simply visiting Spacehive’s website and creating your own project page. 

People and organisations can pledge as little as £2 towards a project and contributions are only charged if the campaign hits its target.

Cotswold District Council asks Bourton-on-the-Water Residents for Tourism Charge Feedback

Cotswold District Council is asking residents of Bourton-on-the-Water for their views on how to spend the money raised through a new tourism charge. 

For every stay at the Rissington Road car park, 50p will be charged and the Council expects this to raise £25,000 a year. Any additional money generated will be spent in the village with unspent funds carried over for use in future years.

The consultation opens on 15 February and will run for four weeks with residents asked to give their opinions on some initial ideas for how to spend the money and able to suggest their own ideas.

The survey can be found here: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/botwtourismcharge 

Initial ideas include bollards to stop illegal parking on Rissington Road, more bins to reduce littering and increased litter picking rounds. 

The consultation is available through the Council’s website and closes on 14 March. Anyone not able to fill out the online survey can write to the council at Communications Team, Cotswold District Council, Trinity Road, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 1PX.

Cllr Mike Evemy, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, said; “The tourism charge will raise significant additional funds to spend on projects and activities in the village to manage the volume of visitors who come to enjoy what Bourton-on-the-Water has to offer. 

“I would like Bourton residents to respond to the consultation and help us to decide how the tourism charge will be best spent.  I look forward to seeing what people think of our ideas and what other suggestions residents have.”

For more information on the consultation, and to fill out the survey, go to www.cotswold.gov.uk/consultations

Voters Encouraged to Sign up to Postal Voting for May Local Elections

Voters across the Cotswolds are being encouraged to sign up for postal voting at this year’s local elections which are due to be held on 6 May 2021.

By using a postal vote residents can make sure their voice is heard at the local elections from the safety of their home. Residents can apply for postal voting now and have to get their application in before the deadline of 20 April 2021.

Polling stations this year will have a different feel to previous years with COVID-19 safety measures being put in place in line with government guidance.  Even with a successful rollout of the vaccine, and a reduction in cases, there may still be residents who are concerned about visiting a polling station and they are being encouraged to use a postal vote as an alternative to voting in person. 

To be able to use a postal vote in this year’s elections voters must apply to do so with their local council by 20 April 2021. Voters can ask for an application form by visiting the council website at cotswold.gov.uk/registertovote or calling 01285 623002. 

A letter will be going to all residents in the Cotswold District in the coming weeks to check that voter information is accurate ahead of the election and this will include information on whether individuals are already signed up for postal voting and how to apply if they are not.

Jan Britton, Returning Officer for Cotswold District Council said, “Despite the great progress with the vaccine rollout we have to plan for the fact that voter safety will be a priority in the May elections and I would really like to encourage all voters to consider postal voting as an option for making sure their voice is heard at elections this year.
“Voting in person at polling stations will follow all the required safety procedures but we understand some people may still be concerned and postal voting is a safe and secure way of taking part in the elections in 2021.  For anyone interested in voting by post this year they just need to make sure they apply for their postal vote before the 20 April 2021 and I would encourage people to sign up sooner rather than later so they don’t miss the deadline.”