Stratford District Council continues to operate as fully as possible and our priorities during the Covid-19 pandemic are:
* The protection of our staff, councillors and contractors as a responsible employer and to protect and support our residents from the impacts of Covid-19.
* Maintain critical services for the council, including this that are supporting residents and businesses during the emergency, including our Council Tax Reduction Scheme. We want to remind our residents that we are not taking any enforcement action and are ready to help anybody with difficulties in paying their Council Tax.
* Support to businesses through the rapid processing of payments for Government reliefs and the grants.
* Support to help protect the most vulnerable within our communities.
* Maintaining the decision making capability of the Council, reflected in the updated constitution. This will allow us to operate as far as possible on a ‘business as usual’ basis.
For the latest service updates visit www.stratford.gov.uk
Business rate grants
Over 1,100 business grant applications have been received from the approximately 2,000 businesses in the district that may be eligible for the scheme.
The next batch of payments to 122 businesses will be processed today. Even allowing for the Easter break we expect payments to start being received into recipients business accounts from Tuesday onwards.
To date payments have been processed for 414 businesses with a total of £6.035m being distributed.
All applications are being processed as quickly as possible. We have, however, received a significant number of applications from businesses that are not already held on the National Valuation Agency non-domestic rates valuation list. This is an essential qualifying criteria under the current Government legislation for these grants.
Therefore, in common with other authorities, those properties on the valuation list and with no other queries eg incomplete bank details will be prioritised so that as many payments as possible can be got out in the shortest timeframe possible. Our officers will liaise individually with those businesses where further information is required as quickly as possible. Businesses need to be aware that some queries cannot be resolved by the district council alone and are likely to require Valuation Agency input.
Consequently, we regret that any property not on the valuation list will need further investigation work done with the business to establish eligibility for the scheme – this is likely to result in a delay in coming to a decision whether the business is actually eligible under the scheme.
The Government has given local councils absolutely no discretion applying these rules. We have to follow the guidelines laid down by government, and, unfortunately, these have been changing as the emergency develops which can hinder our ability to act as quickly as we would wish.
Businesses are being asked to complete the on-line application to qualify for the grants – www.stratford.gov.uk/online-forms/business-rates-grant-form.cfm
To protect business from fraudsters the district council will not be asking for bank details over the phone, we will be directing them to completing the online form.
Also do not disclosure your Business Rates Account number to anyone.
Free parking in SDC car parks for NHS staff and Registered Volunteers
All NHS staff, health and social care workers, NHS Volunteer Responders and other Registered Volunteers are now able to park for free in District Council car parks during the coronavirus outbreak – they just need to display supporting evidence on the dashboard where it can be clearly seen through their windscreen, such as an official parking pass, a photocopy of their work pass (with sensitive information removed) or a letter from their employer or volunteer organisation.
Yesterday, 130 dry deliveries and 75 chilled portions were delivered from Stratford’s Community Hub to those self-isolating and the most vulnerable in the district.
Help for the extremely vulnerable
The council and partners are offering extra help for those identified as extremely vulnerable who have no access to food and support. People in this group should call 0800 4081447 or go to: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/coronavirusextremelyvulnerable for more information.
If you have been asked to ‘shield’ yourself from coronavirus by isolating for 12 weeks Warwickshire is here for you. If you have no local support call the dedicated helpline on 0800 4081447. For all other enquiries please continue to go to www.warwickshire.gov.uk or call 01926 410410.
If you have a significant underlying medical condition and have not received a letter from the NHS and believe that you should have received one you should contact your local GP who can discuss whether they feel that your medical condition means that you should be added to the NHS extremely vulnerable list
Community Support Groups
Many local groups have set up across the district to support people in their community who may be struggling to get food or medicine and lots of Town & Parish Councils are also offering support.
Warwickshire County Council, with help from the District Council has compiled a directory providing useful information about local organisations, groups and agencies that are providing activities, advice, and services during the current COVID-19 crisis – https://apps.warwickshire.gov.uk/api/documents/WCCC-966-2079
Reminder: No changes to refuse and recycling collections over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend (Friday 10 April and Monday 13 April), so please put your bins out as normal – https://www.stratford.gov.uk/waste-recycling/when-we-collect.cfm
Bulky waste collections
For those struggling with excess waste during the lockdown, the District Council’s chargeable bulky waste collection is still operational and you can book a collection online – https://www.stratford.gov.uk/online-forms/removal-of-large-items.cfm or call 01789 260616.
Main reception at Elizabeth House closed to the public
You can still contact the District Council by phone on 01789 267575, although the phone lines are very busy, alternatively email: firstname.lastname@example.org or access services online at www.stratford.gov.uk or visit our Facebook and Twitter for up-to-date information and advice.
COVID-19 dedicated section on our website www.stratford.gov.uk/coronavirus