District Matters

First year of investment and progress

May 2024

One year ago, this month, the residents of Stratford District voted for a change of political control, with a new administration confirmed on 24 May 2023.

Many new councillors joined the Council for the first time. A year later, they have achieved a great deal from a standing start.

The Council adopted a new Council Plan; passed a prudent, but ambitious budget for initiating changes; funded 37 community projects; created a £100,000 Community Climate Change fund for parish councils, community and charity groups to undertake green initiatives such as installing solar panels and approved a new South Warwickshire Economic Development Strategy.

Keen to make improvements from the start, we initiated two Peer Reviews by the Local Government Association (LGA). These looked at the planning process and how the District council works as a whole. Two separate LGA Peer Review teams have now looked at what the council does well and what we could learn from other councils.

A key decision was a new Council Plan. After consultation with our residents, local businesses, parish and town councils, voluntary groups and service partners, the Council Plan for 2023-27 sets high ambitions for the council in supporting the health and wellbeing of our residents, protecting our environment and delivering sustainability and innovation.

Decisions have been taken on many projects including safeguarding the Stratford Shopmobility service, maintaining UBUS assistance across the district, supporting medical and community facilities in Upper Lighthorne, investing in more Rural Crime Advisers and a more environmentally-friendly grounds maintenance contract.

Two new Changing Places toilets have been opened; one at the Bell Court Shopping Centre in Stratford-upon-Avon and another at the British Motor Museum in Gaydon.  These facilities are fitted with specialist equipment to assist people with profound and multiple disabilities.

A total of 37 projects across the district have been funded by the Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) and the Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF). These include projects for community projects and business support and growth. Funds from development have provided over £2million to support community centres, the new diagnostic centre at Stratford Hospital and public open space.

Going forward we have changed the way we allocate public funds. We have moved from a bid-centred to an evidence-led process to better target money at providing infrastructure.  The new approach will also fall more closely into line with the South Warwickshire Local Plan (SWLP) to determine how the district develops up to 2050. 

Energy efficiency of council buildings is being improved, firstly by installing rooftop solar panels at Stratford Leisure Centre. This follows a successful £283,000 bid for government money to install photovoltaic (PV) panels to reduce the centre's energy bills and carbon emissions. 

The efforts to address environmental issues have been helped by our residents who have been recognised as some of the best recyclers in the country. The Council is now fifth in the top ten Councils for reuse, recycling and composting, with a recycling rate of 60.0%.

Most recently, ambitious plans for the Gateway area of Stratford were approved. Open Spaces planning guidance was adopted to address concerns about the private management of open spaces in new housing estates.

All of these things would not have been possible without the help and support of all the staff at Stratford-on-Avon District Council to whom I should like to express my gratitude.

Contact: The Communications team

Last updated on 03/10/2022