Community Infrastructure Levy
Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is a fixed rate charge that developers will pay for each square metre of additional floor space. This will be paid at the start of development or through phased payments during construction.
We are still waiting for our Inspectors Report on the final document prior to adoption. Initially we expected that report towards the end of January, however we are now told that we can expect the final report by the end of August, once the Inspector has reviewed all over her post-hearing submissions.
The Transport Strategy
Throughout April the Council conducted a public consultation on its joint Transport Strategy, the results of which are being compiled by external specialists.
We expect to have first sight of those results on 20th July, from which, provided there are no significant changes required, a final draft plan will be published.
Birmingham Road Scheme
At the end of June it was announced in the Local Press that the Birmingham Road improvement scheme had received funding from Warwickshire County Council and that work could being as soon as the end of this year.
The scheme’s funding bid was submitted to the Capital Investment Fund of WCC in June and is due to be put before Cabinet for a final decision on 13th July with that decision being ratified by full Council on 18th July.
Running alongside that is an application for joint funding to the DfT National Productivity Investment Fund, one of only two permitted by Councils and one which I know our MP Nadhim Zahawi has but his weight behind.
Clearly we will know the result of the internal funding application shortly and we expect the DfT application to receive a decision in early Autumn. These two applications clearly demonstrate the priority that the Council are giving to improvements to the Birmingham Road.
Once we have confirmation of a successful internal funding bid, the final design work can be done to bring the entire scheme forward and in reality we anticipate work to begin in at the end of the first quarter of 2018.
South West Relief Road
In the past two months the Stratford Herald have been running a regular discussion page relating to the SWRR, the new relief road that was adopted as part of our Core Strategy.
A great deal has been said about the validity of its inclusion in the local plan, appropriate consultation in the lead up to its adoption and the need to look at alternative options.
The majority, if not all of that work, was undertaken throughout the Core Strategy process. It was then publically examined and subsequently signed off by the Government Planning Inspector as sound. Its inclusion in our final adopted local plan does mean that the principle of the road has now been set.
We are now at a stage where the developer is working closely with the District and County Councils, the HCA and the environment agency, along with the other statutory consultees, to look at viable options for the roads design and alignment before submitting a planning application.
It is important to know that if the SWRR is challenged to the point where it needs to be removed from our plan, it does render the Core Strategy out of date and therefore potentially opens the District up to further development inline with the NPPF. It could also mean that the Long Marston development is delayed or potentially doesn’t go ahead, as the delivery of the road is a requirement before the delivery of the majority of that housing is permitted.
I don’t think that is going to be the case, the work done by the Council prior to adoption was thorough and the evidence was found sound by the Government Planning Inspector. The Government even gave the development Garden Village Status. However I felt it important to inform the Parish Council of the state of play and bring some balance to the reporting in the local press.
As portfolio holder I have commissioned a report that will summarise the work done to date and include all the evidence, public consultation and Inspector comments relevant to the road. That report should then put to bed any concerns over the validity of its inclusion.
A significant amount of work has been undertaken in the last six months to identify a number of infrastructure projects for the district. Through the Cabinet we have identified 25 short, medium and long term projects that we feel are important to the district.
From that long list, we have then identified six projects as priority projects and the council is now developing full business cases for each of those projects to get them to a ‘shovel ready’ status. Each project has been considered on its own merits, on its ability to be delivered and the time scale in which it can be delivered.
This is a very positive step for the council and it puts us on the front foot where we can be proactive over seeking funding through the various funding channels, including the WMCA, the CW LEP and the recently announced £2.3bn Infrastructure Fund.
The six projects that have been identified from an Infrastructure Programme Review report include:
- Upper Avon Navigation – A joint initiative between Stratford-on-Avon and Warwick District Councils working with the Avon Navigation Trust (ANT) to open up the Upper Avon for navigation between Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick and connect to the Grand Union canal forming the ‘South Warwickshire Waterway’.
- Studley Enterprise Centre – The opportunity to boost business growth and jobs in the town through the redevelopment of a County Council owned building into a ‘Venture House’ styled business centre.
- Wellesbourne Innovation Campus – An opportunity to build a strong partnership with Warwick University in developing facilities for a new high technology campus at Wellesbourne – attracting inward investment and stimulating economic growth and jobs.
- Priory Square Regeneration, Studley – The next phase of development of a disused site in the centre of Studley, working with private developers to create an innovative live/work scheme on the former Co-op site.
- Improved cycle routes and bike rental scheme.
- Improved electric vehicle infrastructure for Stratford-upon-Avon.
This week the Stratford Leisure Centre was named as Centre of the Year in the 2017 Flame Awards.
The achievement comes in recognition of the centre’s high-quality facilities and commitment to improving health and wellbeing in the local community.
Stratford Leisure Centre has continued to improve its facilities after undergoing an extensive refurbishment in 2015, and a recent £250,000 upgrade to its fitness suite means members now benefit from the latest industry technology.