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From response to recovery; 6 months on

Throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, Spelthorne Borough Council has worked tirelessly to support our residents and businesses

COVID response

14 September 2020

Throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, Spelthorne Borough Council has worked tirelessly to support our residents and businesses.

The 13 September, marked six months since the Council put itself on an emergency footing in order to deal with the crisis. While our sole focus at the beginning of the pandemic was helping the vulnerable in our community, the focus has been expanded to supporting the recovery as society tries to return to a sense of normality.

Cllr John Boughtflower, Leader of Spelthorne Borough Council, said: "I am incredibly proud of our staff, who have been working to best support our residents over the past six months and we continue to support our most vulnerable residents. We have been working with businesses to help with their recovery, securing funding for projects on our high streets to make them more accessible and welcoming. An example of this has been the introduction of new bike racks, which means we can welcome more cyclists as we look to build a cleaner, greener Spelthorne.

"We are also making progress on housing projects with the West Wing at Knowle Green and Ceaser Court in Sunbury nearing completion and we have had our application for the redevelopment of the car park in Victory Close, Ashford, validated by the Local Planning Authority. These will provide homes for NHS staff and other key workers in the Borough who, over time, have been priced out of the housing market."

"I also want to reassure people who are concerned regarding a potential second wave of the virus, while not forgetting the day to day service delivery for residents that this Council continues to monitor the situation and we will be working closely with our partners to keep you safe as possible."

Outlined below are some of the steps taken towards the recovery of Spelthorne Borough:

Business

  • supporting the safe reopening of our high streets across the Borough
  • producing comprehensive signage for shops and in our car parks
  • working with Staines Market to ensure they can operate in a safe manner
  • installing a handwashing station on Staines High Street
  • successfully applied for a £40,000 grant from Enterprise M3 to make further improvement works
  • two large digital screens will be installed in the Elmsleigh Centre and Two Rivers shopping centre
  • installing a webcam to display live images of Staines town centre so shoppers can check before they travel
  • 22 wheelchair ramps to be installed
  • 100 new bike racks in Staines, Sunbury, Ashford and Shepperton
  • over £13million has been paid out in government grants
  • working with Job Centre Plus to signpost residents to new jobs as well as training support

Leisure

  • agreed a one-off financial support package for Everyone Active to enable our leisure centres to reopenre
  • started the Walking for Health scheme helping residents taking up exercise to help alleviate lockdown boredom
  • children's activity event Xplorer regularly running in different parks across the Borough

Community Wellbeing

  • transforming Community Centres into social distanced outdoor cafes
  • 97% of volunteers willing to continue their service for the community, if and when required
  • ongoing 'check and chat' visits with residents
  • supporting hospital discharges so residents can live independently

Testing

  • Fordbridge Park was used as a testing site between June and August, providing local provisions with residents who believe they have symptoms. Sunbury Park car park will be used as a testing centre in September

Environment

  • refuse and recycling collections continuing as normal with over 13,000 tonnes collected
  • working with the community to support litter pick-ups and issuing regular messaging on our channels urging people to not drop litter

Housing

  • providing permanent accommodation for a number of homeless residents
  • receiving planning permission for new homes for key workers on Victory Close, Ashford
  • Ceaser Court, Sunbury - phase one on track for completion in 2020
  • West Wing works at the Council Offices in Knowle Green expected to be completed in February 2021
  • White House Hostel in Ashford expected to be completed in March 2021
  • Harper House emergency accommodation in Ashford to be completed in March 2021

Commercial Property

  • collected 94% of the July to September rent from tenants and continually reviewing the situation, with worst and expected case scenarios
  • currently, Sinking Funds levels are more than sufficient for the coming 10 year period

Cross Party Working

  • Local Plan Working Party to consist of a Councillor from each ward as well as different parties
  • Staines-upon-Thames Development group to have input from all parties and a number of independent Councillors
  • financial reporting and commercial investments working groups established

Local Outbreak Planning

The Council is keeping mindful that a second wave may hit the Borough over the coming months and have been, alongside partner agencies, making preparations for this.

Since the crisis began, the Council have:

  • made over 17,000 welfare calls and visits to vulnerable residents
  • worked with foodbanks distributing over 350,000 meals
  • received over 22,000 phone calls on our community helpline
  • collected over 13,000 tonnes of waste and recycling
  • made over 1,300 COVID-19 business compliance checks
  • delivered over 16,000 meals on wheels
  • worked with the NHS to ensure patients have support
  • provided financial assistance to community groups
  • had over 850,000 page views on the website

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