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Stafford Borough Councillor Update – January 2022

Milwich Borough Council Ward Members’ Report to Parish Councils

January 2022

Less to report from December, because of the Christmas holidays.  This month council will be scrutinising budgets for the year, (council tax portion anticipated to rise by 2.9%). We will be continuing our work on climate change strategies and actions and those for nature recovery.  The Local Plan will move to the preferred option stage in the summer, still a bit of time for commentary from the community though the ‘sites and allocations’ phase has officially ended.

Food for Thought  Is now the time to take forward our ambition to create Stafford as the county’s ‘Learning Town’? We now have three universities in Stafford and the borough is benefitting from major government approved educational investment in our future generations. These include Staffordshire University investment on Blackheath Lane with its state-of-the-art £5.8m Centre for Health Innovation, alongside its nurse training centre; Keele University’s brand new £13 million Institute of Technology with Stafford College is set to bring enormous benefits to industry and education in the area; the county’s £7m Staffordshire History Centre on Eastgate Street, which will rise from the ground later this year and open in 2023; and Wolverhampton University in the town with its own plans for investment;

New arrangements for delivering vaccinations in Stafford and the surrounding area. From Dr Paddy Hannigan, Clinical Lead COVID-19 Vaccination:  Locally, we are ahead of the national average with c.90% of our most vulnerable groups and c.80% of all adults vaccinated with the booster. There is still more work to do, to meet our ambition for 85% of all adults to receive their booster vaccine. Currently, our lowest uptake is within the 18–39 years age group and we are working on targeted communications to help reduce hesitancy within these cohorts. We also recognise that some people will not be able to have the booster vaccine at the moment, because they are COVID-19 positive and will need to wait 28 days. Our rolling vaccination programme will continue throughout January and beyond to ensure no one gets left behind. Thanks to the support of our Primary Care Network (PCN (network of GPs)), roving team and pharmacies in the Stafford area, we have significantly increased the capacity in the system to support the booster programme. Since taking on the site in September the PCN has delivered 57,333 vaccines.  We have received notice from the PCN that they are unable to support vaccinations on an ongoing basis, as they feel that their attention needs to return to managing day-to-day general practice. This is the case in many areas of the country, with PCNs having juggled for some time the pressures of running the vaccination programme alongside their routine care. The national ambition was always to support younger cohorts to receive their vaccination through the larger sites and community pharmacies.

The Kingston Centre will now be managed by Cornwells Pharmacy. This pharmacy has previously operated out of the Holmcroft community centre. By centralising the vaccinations at the larger centre, the pharmacy has been able to commit to offering walk-in clinics alongside the National Booking System (NBS) clinic capacity 7 days a week. They will also support local practices to ensure care home and housebound patient vaccinations continue where required. Previously the pharmacy could only operate walk-in appointments at weekends. We hope this new arrangement will increase take-up of the vaccine within Stafford and the surrounding area. We wanted to make you aware, in case you get queries from your constituents.

HS2 Works Notification: Notice of survey work at Hopton, Beaconside Road, B5066 Sandon Road, and Hydrant Way  

HS2 will be carrying out ground penetrating surveys to help identify the location of buried utility services, such as gas, electric or water. These surveys are non-intrusive, using a machine that transmits an electromagnetic pulse into the ground. These pulses reflect off features in the ground, allowing them to collect data and to understand the depth of the buried utility services. They will carry out several other surveys. For the safety of both their workforce and motorists, they will put temporary traffic lights along Beaconside Road, B5066 Sandon Road, Hydrant Way and Hopton lane joining Wilmore Hill Lane.

Visit your local community webpages to find information about HS2 works and developments in your area. Use our In your area map to search current and planned HS2 works, developments and opportunities in your area.  If you have a question about HS2 or our works, please contact our HS2 Helpdesk team on 08081 434 434 or email hs2enquiries@hs2.org.uk.

Civic Amenity Sites The proposed start date for the 2022 Civic Amenity Refuse Visits is Saturday 5 March 2022 (subject to National Restrictions/Guidelines).  It is the council’s intention to contact all Parishes in January 2022 to ascertain their requirements. Parishes will be issued a communication in advance, emphasising that this service should be used for the disposal of residual household waste and not recyclable or trade waste. Risk assessments will be produced which we would expect the Parishes to assist in completing (eg) manual handling, traffic management etc.

Supply Chain Business Support   Businesses who supply goods or services to the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors could be eligible for thousands of pounds worth of grants. Many businesses in the borough have suffered because they normally supply to the sectors that have been forced to close because of national measures put in place to control Covid-19.  But some ‘supply chain’ businesses were not entitled to financial support because the criteria only funded those that had been instructed to shut by the Government.

Stafford Borough Council has launched a new scheme. Businesses can apply online at https://www.staffordbc.gov.uk/business-support-coronavirus  The scheme is designed to support those in the supply chain who are experiencing a significant loss of trade. For example, the grants could support event management companies, solicitors, breweries and catering companies where 50 per cent of their revenue is generated from other businesses that are closed. Grants have already been made directly to the retail hospitality and leisure providers however businesses in the supply chain to these sectors have not yet received support. They too are experiencing dramatically reduced turnover.  If you think you are eligible our Business Engagement Team are on hand to provide guidance and support through the process. If you are a business in the supply chain to hospitality, accommodation, leisure, and entertainment sectors and need help to access the grants or want to find out more, please email economy@staffordbc.gov.uk

Cannock Chase AONB Annual Conference: ‘Changing Perceptions and Behaviours’.  To be held on 3rd March on zoom.   In this Commonwealth Games year and with the inevitable extra pressures on the Chase that will result from the mountain biking events, a chance to hear about the work of the AONB Partnership and Team.  As Chair of the Joint Committee and the Partnership, I’m delighted to announce that Mike Dilger, broadcaster, naturalist, writer and tour leader, will give the opening address, which will look at what is being done to change people’s perceptions of Cannock Chase and influence positive behaviours, to ensure that one of England’s finest landscapes stays special for this and future generations.   Presentations will focus on a range of initiatives underway or planned including by means of sense of place; messaging and communication strategies; behavioural change campaigns; education and the use of the arts and culture: to connect people to nature.  We will also hear how England’s most popular protected landscape, the Lake District National Park – is responding to challenging visitor pressures.  Our speakers:

·       Tony Watson, Head of Visitor Services/Communications, Lake District National Park Authority

·       Ian Marshall, Cannock Chase AONB Development Officer

·       Peter Farmer, FDA Design

·       Laura Freer, Marketing/Communications Manager, Central England District, Forestry England

·       Ali Clarke, Programme Manager, Surrey Hills Arts

·       Kinga Niedwinska, Chase Special Area of Conservation Engagement Officer

The free conference will be held on Zoom this year; 10am-12pm; break for lunch; afternoon session from 2-4pm.   To reserve your place register here as soon as possible (right click for hyperlink).  Zoom will email you your unique link when you sign up. This link will give you access to both conference sessions (morning and afternoon). Any problems contact anna.trant@landscapesforlife.org.uk

 

Cllr Frances Beatty   01785 240667 / mob: 07877 896466  fbeatty@staffordbc.gov.uk

Cllr Andrew Harp 01889 505 400   aharp@staffordbc.gov.uk

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