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19th Oct, 2021

Cash put aside for airfield and council HQ in budget plan

COUNCIL chiefs are preparing to spend just over £1.1million to secure the future of Wellesbourne Airfield.

Stratford District Council stepped in to make a ‘compulsory purchase order’ after airfield owners the Littler family wanted to sell the land to developers.

Despite the CPO, the seven businesses which include flight schools and a cafe, are still at risk and are fighting to renew their tenancies. They are awaiting a decision which could take a few weeks following an appeal yesterday (Thursday), after a judge ruled in favour of the owners last summer.

Council chiefs reaffirmed their commitment to continuing aviation at the airfield, and help preserve already scarce industrial land in the district.

The council’s budget also proposes a £750,000 one off sum for ‘improvements’ to the council Elizabeth House headquarters in Stratford to allow sub-letting, which has been estimated could bring in some £80,000 annually from next year.

Also set to be included is £70,000 to buy up to six properties to provide temporary accommodation and help households access private rented accommodation, and reduce the costly use of bed and breakfast accommodation.

Another one-off cost of £86,000 is set to be agreed to support the dial a ride transport scheme for residents stuck for transport anywhere in the district.

And Warwickshire tourism body Shakespeare’s England is set to receive £75,000 for three years to support the tourism industry and local economy.

Residents are set to face 1.5 per cent hike – an additional £2.05 on a Band D property per year – in the district’s share of the council tax bill from April.

The council says it was able to maintain ‘a relatively low level of council tax’ as a result of years of ‘prudent financial management’ which has seen reserves build up.

Council leader Tony Jefferson said: “We have worked hard to keep our increase in council tax to a minimum. Unfortunately we are receiving less money from central government. We have worked hard to produce a balanced budget, I am pleased however that the increase that we are announcing is less than we expected to be last year.

“We are expecting the government to undertake a full review in the way in which local government is funded over the next few months and expect further reductions. This is a key reason why we need to maintain reserves at a high level.”

A questionnaire will be sent to the council’s ‘citizens’ panel’, for its views on council tax and the proposed budget.

The results of the consultation will be considered by the cabinet at the next meeting before the final budget recommendations are made to council on February 25.

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