Cotswold Council Press Releases and Cotswold News
April to June 2015
|Back to the Latest News.|
|Let's get composting!|
|Cotswold District Council gets behind the Cotswolds #HomeOfSport Bid.|
|Cotswold District Council offers free smoke detectors to Landlords.|
|Cotswold District Council will be celebrating this year's Armed Forces Day|
|Cotswold District Council identifies almost eight years supply of Land for Housing|
|The One Team programme, has resulted in savings of over £5m per year.|
|All systems go for Summer Fun Activities.|
|Badger catches wasps and rats in Cotswolds!|
|New Shared Director begins Work|
|Largest Ever Survey to Uncover the true Impact of Policing Rural Crime|
|Cotswold Community says Goodbye to Buying|
|Another Cotswold benefit fraudster is Jailed|
|Cotswold District Council supports Mental Health Awareness Week|
|Council welcomes jail sentences handed to £80K benefits fraudsters|
|First rapid Electric Vehicle Charging Point (EVCP) in Cotswold District is now installed in Moreton-in-Marsh.|
|Cotswold District Council News Magazine|
|January to March 2015 Press Releases.|
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Let's get composting! Release date: 24th June 2015
Did you know that 2015 is the International Year of the Soil?
Before you jump to the conclusion that this applies mainly to the agriculture industry, well think again - because soil is the very essence of our existence! First and foremost, we rely on soil for food production – as well as raising beautiful plants and flowers to enjoy. In the Cotswolds, the Gloucestershire Joint Waste Team (JWT) has been working to promote the improvement of soil quality and the best way to do this is by creating peat-free composts and manures. Working with UK Charity Garden Organic, the JWT has trained a network of volunteer Master Composters to spread the word about the value of soil enrichment. One of the volunteers Polly Sayer of Upper Rissington, is very keen to promote the benefits:
“Adding organic materials to the soil makes gardens and allotments thrive. If you get the soil condition right then your garden plants will flourish and - even more importantly - any food that you grow will be more healthy and nutritious. Composting kitchen and garden waste is the key to creating better quality soil and it doesn't really take a great deal of effort. As a trained Master Composter, one of my main roles is to promote soil enhancement at local events and community venues so we can encourage more residents to decrease the amount of green waste they are sending to landfill.”
Cabinet Member for the Environment at CDC and Gloucestershire Joint Waste Committee Member, Cllr Sue Coakley, is full of praise for Polly and other Master Composters:
'These volunteers deserve our full support, and it is fitting that we should be promoting their work during National Recycling Week. They are very knowledgeable about composting and are enthusiastic ambassadors for a greener lifestyle, helping us all appreciate the value of our soil and the need to improve it for the common good.
“Every year Cotswold District residents pay £1.25 million just to bury residual waste, most of which can be recycled in some form or another. Discarded food and garden waste is probably the easiest waste to convert to a better use. At CDC we operate a very reasonably priced kerbside green waste collection service - which converts the waste collected to soil enhancer – and we also offer a free weekly food waste collection. However, home composting is an even better solution.”
Residents in the Cotswolds can purchase discounted compost bins from as little as £8.49 with a fantastic “buy one get another one half price” offer available as well.
Here is more information about Master Composters, composting and the wide range of compost bins and accessories. National Recycling Week began on 22nd June and ends on 28th – here are the details.
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Cotswold District Council gets behind the Cotswolds #HomeOfSport Bid. Release date: 17th June 2015
VisitEngland has just launched a campaign to find the country's best sporting destination ahead of a packed calendar of events this summer – and we think the Cotswolds is a prime contender for that accolade! Obvious local choices may be the world-famous Cheltenham race course, Kingsholm, Gloucester (which will soon be hosting Rugby World cup games) and Badminton Horse Trials, but don't forget the amazing diversity of the region which boasts shin kicking at the Cotswold ‘Olimpicks’, woolsack racing at Tetbury, countless water-based activities at Cotswold Water Park, and a very wide range of venues hosting triathlon, football, swimming, cricket, gliding, tennis and many other events
Cotswolds Tourism Partnership is urging residents and visitors to take a photograph of their favourite local sporting venue and upload it on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #HomeOfSport , together with a snappy (you've only got 140 characters, remember!) sentence about the location of the venue, and why it's the best sporting destination in England. Approved nominations will appear on a national sports wall at www.englandhomeofsport.com and will be entered into a prize draw to win a selection of sporting experiences. The campaign is underway now and closes at midnight on 31st August 2015, after which an expert panel will work through the nominations to establish a shortlist of sporting hubs which will be vying for the national title. The public will then be invited to vote for the shortlisted contenders on 16th September, and the destination that receives the highest number of votes will be announced as England's Home of Sport on 23rd October. Criteria for the winning destination will include: breadth of sporting experiences, diverse and beautiful backdrops and interesting sports trivia or claims to fame.
Cotswold District's Cabinet Member for Enterprise and Partnerships, Cllr Chris Hancock, is confident that the Cotswolds will stand out as a #HomeOfSport contender:
“The Cotswolds has a fantastic sporting heritage, ranging from traditional gatherings to internationally acclaimed events. In fact, the many sports events we stage at the grass roots level can be wonderful opportunities to inspire the sports stars of tomorrow and enable spectators to see greatness in the making. The area is also attracting many new sporting events, including a closed circuit cycling event in Cirencester on 31st August, so there are a lot of opportunities for people to get out there and help promote the magnificent feast of sport on offer in the Cotswolds this summer.”
Susie Hunt, Partnership Manager for Cotswolds Tourism, is hoping for lots of entries from the Cotswolds:
“We're the home of world class sporting venues like Cheltenham Racecourse as well as smaller, more quirky venues and a whole host of smaller, village sporting events too. It would be wonderful if the Cotswolds could add VisitEngland's best sporting destination to the long list of reasons why people should visit us.”
Don't forget – please upload your image to Instagram or Twitter using #HomeOfSport, or visit England Home of Sport.
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Cotswold District Council offers free smoke detectors to Landlords. Release date: 17th June 2015
From 1st October 2015 it will be compulsory for all new private lettings to have smoke detectors fitted on every floor and carbon monoxide detectors where there is solid fuel heating, in line with the Energy Act 2013.
Cotswold District Council has a number of smoke detectors available free of charge for use in private lettings. Landlords who wish to take advantage of this offer should contact Neighbourhood Services on 01285 623000 to make arrangements for their collection. Additionally, Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS) has been allocated smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms as a one off, to help local private landlords meet their regulatory requirements. This includes a stock which is still available at Cirencester Community Fire Station, School Lane, Cirencester GL7 1YL. Prior to obtaining free detectors from the CDC or GFRS, landlords will need to provide a postcode for each property as well as a name and a signature for each application. The Fire Service can also provide information packs for vulnerable residents and will offer free Home Fire Safety Visits (HFSV) to tenants on request. Houses in multiple occupation and registered social landlords are exempt from this free offer.
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Cotswold DC prepares for Armed Forces Day Release date: 15th June 2015
Cotswold District Council will be celebrating this year's Armed Forces Day in the north and south of the district on Monday 22nd June. There will be a special flag raising ceremony at the Council's Trinity Road, Cirencester headquarters at 10 am which will be followed by a similar event at the Moreton Area Centre at 12 noon. At both venues the public will be given the opportunity to show their support for the work of the Army, Navy and RAF. Council Vice Chairman Cllr Julian Beale will raise the flag at Cirencester and Chairman Cllr Mark Annett will do the same at Moreton. Each ceremony will also be attended by local representatives of the armed forces, and senior officials from the Council. Since its introduction in 2009, Armed Forces Day has gathered ground. This is the third year running that the Council has staged a ceremony at Moreton as well as Cirencester. Both ceremonies went very well last year with a good number of people turning up at both venues to pay their respects to past and present service personnel who have helped to make this country safe and prosperous.
Armed Forces Day was first launched in June 2009 to show support for the work of serving troops and cadets, as well as service families and veterans. This year, the national celebration will take place in Plymouth on Saturday 27th June. There will be a spectacular programme of activities for military personnel and their families, veterans and visitors. Highlights will include a series of military parades, fly pasts live fire and other tactical demonstrations, as well as a wide range of music and street entertainment. Many events are also being planned right across the UK to show support for our Armed Forces.
Here is more information on Armed Forces Day.
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Cotswold District Council identifies almost eight years supply of Land for Housing Release date: 12th June 2015
Cotswold District Council has reported that there is currently an eight year supply of current, suitable and achievable land for residential development. This calculation was endorsed when the Cabinet met on 11 June to review the latest annual position. The supply of housing land is measured against a local authority's annual housing requirement, taking account of various delivery assumptions, to produce an estimate of the number of dwellings expected to be delivered within five years. If the estimate is less than the required five years' worth of housing supply plus 5%, the authority is vulnerable to speculative planning applications anywhere, including sites that do not accord with local planning policies. The Planning Inspectorate has taken a tough line with the many councils which have fallen short of the five year supply requirement and has increased their buffer from 5% to 20%.
Details of the calculations will soon be available on line via the Council's website.
Commenting on the latest housing land supply situation, Cllr Nick Parsons, the Deputy Leader of CDC and Cabinet Member for Forward Planning, said:
“I welcome this update very much because it shows that we are well on target to meet stringent government land supply requirements. In fact, the number of housing completions in the District over the last 4-5 years shows that we are over-delivering and, provided we continue this progress, we should have a good case for removing the 20% buffer imposed by the Planning Inspectorate in 2013.”
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The One Team programme, has resulted in savings of over £5m per year. Release date: 11th June 2015
The One Team programme, which was established by Cotswold District Council in 2009/10 to manage the changes required for the transformation of its operations, has resulted in savings of over £5m per year. This figure was confirmed at the Council's Cabinet meeting on 11th June when Members reviewed the achievements of the change programme and approved its close down. The Council is now in a strong position to deliver further savings in the future as part of the 2020 Vision, a new programme involving Cotswold plus the local authorities from Cheltenham, Forest of Dean and West Oxfordshire.
Describing the achievements of One Team in more detail, Cllr Lynden Stowe, Leader of CDC, highlighted some of the significant changes which have helped to make such big savings:
“Under the One Team banner, we have reduced costs substantially by sharing services and officers with West Oxfordshire District Council and also through sharing ‘back office’ functions with three local authorities - West Oxfordshire, Cheltenham and Forest of Dean. Establishing the Council-owned environmental services company Ubico Ltd has also been a great financial success, and it is now providing services for five councils. Aside from that, we have developed an ICT infrastructure which supports joint working through the use of video conferencing, unified networks, common software, and the increasing use of technology to support more homeworking. Other initiatives within One Team which have delivered noteworthy savings and service improvements include our ‘Right First Time’ customer service improvements and the transfer of the running of leisure and cultural services to SLM/Everyone Active.”
He praised all those involved in the One Team programme:
“Cotswold District Council now has a very successful track record in managing complex change programmes and projects of varying sizes set against the backdrop of a changing environment and significant reductions in central government funding. Since 2009 officers have successfully delivered a programme covering over 20 projects, and the proactive approach they have taken to reviewing progress means that the lessons learned can now be applied to our involvement in the 2020 Vision at the very outset. This will see us working together more closely and sharing resources with the local authorities from Cheltenham, Forest of Dean and West Oxfordshire to maximise mutual benefit, leading to more efficient, effective delivery of local services while retaining our independence and identity.”
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All systems go for Summer Fun Activities. Release date: 5th June 2015
The school summer holidays are approaching fast and children, young people and families across the Cotswolds will be looking for lots of fun things to do. With this in mind, Cotswold District Council, in partnership with creative arts and community organisation World Jungle, is offering a superb range of activities and events across the district over the entire holiday period.
Now in its ninth year, the ‘Summer off the Streets’ programme provides activities for those of all abilities to have fun, learn some skills and make new friends – there really will be something for everyone! There are many free activities, including family fun days at Walnut Tree Field, Fairford on Thursday 30th July, Naight Park, Bourton on Friday 31st July, South Cerney scout hall on Friday 14th August, and King George's Field, Stow on Friday 21st.
Other free events include: activities organised by World Jungle at the Tetbury Summer Show, Memorial Ground on Sunday 9th August; national play events at St Michael's Park, Cirencester and Baden Powell Field, Chipping Campden on Wednesday 5th August; circus and parachute fun at the Abbey Grounds, Cirencester on Wednesday 29th July; circus skills at Stow Youth Centre on Monday 17th August; a community football session for 8-15 year olds at Deer Park School on Friday 7th August (booking is essential); ‘Scratch and Skate’ festivals (skateboarding and DJ music plus ‘skater of the day award’) at Adam Philby Skate Park, Tetbury on Sunday 9th August and the Cirencester Skate Park on Sunday 16th August; and Get Creative drop-in arts and crafts sessions at Dolphin's Hall, Tetbury on Friday 7th August, South Cerney Scout Hut on Thursday 13th August, and the Youth Centre, Stow on Thursday 20th August.
Here are some of the other attractions (fees payable) which kids can enjoy:
Take a Bow Drama Workshop – 2 pm to 4 pm, Monday 27th July at George Moore Centre, Bourton and 2 pm to 4 pm, Wednesday 5th August at Dolphin's Hall, Tetbury. Fun drama workshop for 6-12 year olds. (20 spaces at each event.)
Multi Media Workshop - 10 am to 1 pm, Wednesday 22nd July at Cirencester College. Create interactive images and simple animations to populate your own self-published website! Age 8-12 years (10 spaces) NOTE: There may be another course at the same venue on the afternoon of 22nd July if there is sufficient interest.
Touch Tennis - 10 am to 12 noon, Friday 24th July and also Friday 21st August at St Michaels Park, Cirencester. Played on a reduced size court, this is a game which relies on deft stroke play and chess-like manoeuvres. Once you try it you'll be hooked! Ages 8 years upwards (12 spaces per session)
Cool Drawing/Get Arty – Tuesday 28th July, 10 am to 12 noon at St Lawrence Church Centre, Cirencester and 2 – 4 pm at Westwoods Centre, Northleach Join artist and illustrator Imogen Harvey-Lewis in this fast-paced, dynamic drawing session. Create, draw and then animate simple characters – you will be amazed by the results. Age 7-12 years (12 spaces at each event)
Let's get cooking - 10 am to 12 noon, Thursday 30th July at Westwoods Centre, Northleach and 10:30 am to 12:30 pm on Tuesday 18th August at Stow Youth Centre Dolphin's Hall, Tetbury Learn how to make some delicious treats to take home with you Age 8-12 years (10 spaces at each venue.)
Circus Skills – Monday 3rd August, 1 pm to 3 pm in Dolphin's Hall, Tetbury Stow-on-the-Wold and 2pm to 4pm in Lechlade All the fun of the circus – wow your friends and learn how to juggle, use diablo, poi, devil sticks, hula hoops, unicycles and more! Age 8 years plus (20 spaces)
Woodland survival skills - Wednesday 5th August, 10 am to 2 pm, at Cotswold Forest School Set in the heart of the Cotswold Water Park, this course teaches you basic survival skills providing an opportunity to light fires safely, construct a woodland shelter, and pick up some tracking expertise. Age 9-16 years.(12 spaces)
Cheerleading – Monday 10th August, 10 am to 12 noon in Bingham Hall, Cirencester These ‘Ultimate Cardio’ classes consist of stunting, jumps, motions, dance and gymnastics. If you enjoyed ‘Bring it On’ or ‘High School Musical’ then you are in the right place to have fun with friends and get fit! Age 6-12 years. (20 spaces)
Felt Making –Tuesday 4th August, 10 am to 12 noon at Dolphin's Hall, Tetbury and Tuesday 11th August, 10.30 am to 12.30 pm at Moreton Area Centre, Moreton-in-Marsh. Have fun with fibres and colour, making hand-rolled felt picture. Bring a photo to inspire you – or just use your imagination! All materials and equipment are provided. Wear suitable old clothes and bring a bottle of water. Age 7 years plus.(12 spaces at each venue.)
Brochures setting out all the details about this year's attractions will soon be handed out to school children across the District, and there will also be a poster campaign.
Jane Manning of World Jungle said:
“Last year's range of Summer off the Streets activities was impressive but 2015 is even better. We know what has worked well and the events on offer reflect the positive feedback we have received from across the District. The bookable events tend to fill up quickly, so I would urge everyone to look at the brochure (see attachment) and reserve spaces as soon as possible.”
Cllr Sue Coakley, CDC Cabinet Member for the Environment and Communities has been impressed by the activities on offer:
“It's good to see so many activities to choose from and I am sure that children across the District will enjoy them immensely. I am especially pleased that the programme is providing so many free events for families to just turn up at and participate. It's also worth pointing out that the sessions which carry a fee are very reasonable with several costing as little as £3.
“I am very grateful for the additional support from County and District Councillors – and Cirencester Town Council - who have contributed to the scheme from their individual funding allocations. As a result there will be a full programme running throughout the school holidays at venues across the Cotswolds as well as extra week-long programmes of events and activities targeted at children and families living in Bourton and Northleach, Tetbury, Stow-on-the-Wold and South Cerney.”
To book and pay for activities and for more details, please go to the World Jungle website or telephone 01285 623407. The website contains all the activities covered by the Summer Off the Street programme.
World Jungle is an award-winning social enterprise which builds bridges between communities and cultures through music, arts, dance, play and education. We bring people together to promote health and wellbeing and to deepen our understanding and respect for each other and the environment.
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Badger catches wasps and rats in Cotswolds! Release date: 4th June 2015
Summer is just around the corner and warmer weather is finally on the way. This is normally good news for most of us but the rise in temperature also has its downsides, including the inevitable increase in the number of householders who are bothered by pests. In Cotswold District, two pest control officers – Alex Badger in the north and Steve Floyd in the south – are preparing for their busiest time of the year. Wasps tend to be the biggest problem during the summer and there are always rats, mice and other vermin to deal with. Alex has also recently acquired a new qualification in wildlife control measures using aluminium phosphide, which means that he is now able to deal with more vermin control problems which impact on the farming community, including damage caused by rats, rabbits, and moles.
Alex has been doing this work for over 21 years and clearly enjoys it:
“Those calling for our services are usually very pleased to see me and Steve. They realise that we carry out all treatments as humanely as possible, only using approved products and adhering to strict health and safety measures. For obvious reasons, we have more call-outs in the summer and it's sometimes hard to keep on top of the workload when wasps are a particular menace. Nevertheless, there is never a dull moment and the days just fly by.”
He describes the Cotswolds as a ‘healthy’ haven for vermin such as rats:
“As this district is largely rural, rats tend not to carry as many diseases as they might in large urban settlements. Nevertheless, they are still a significant threat to householders and crop up in domestic, commercial and agricultural premises. The 2007 floods caused particular problems because they migrated to places where they wouldn't have been normally.”
In his spare time, Alex is a countryman through and through. He has competed twice in the England national gun dog team, having trained an English springer spaniel to gain field trial champion status, and is also currently a spaniel judge with the Kennel Club:
“I have a deep love of the countryside, and it is a pleasure to travel around the Cotswolds keeping pests at bay, especially at this time of year when the whole area looks stunning.”
Here are further details about the Council's pest control service including prices.
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New Shared Director begins Work Release date: 1st June 2015
Christine Gore has begun work as a Shared Strategic Director for both Cotswold and West Oxfordshire District Councils. A planner by profession, she also has post-graduate qualifications in management and business studies. Christine was previously the Director of Planning and Environmental Services, and also Corporate Services, at Aberdeenshire Council, one of the largest unitary authorities in Scotland. She has also worked for several local authorities in England during her planning career - South Oxfordshire, Waveney, Manchester City and Liverpool City and is looking forward to the challenge presented by her new role which will oversee a wide range of work including planning, democratic services, environmental and regulatory services, and leisure and community services:
“The work of a local Council touches every nearly resident at some stage – whether it is processing a planning application, collecting waste or even organising elections. I see this new job as an opportunity to make a positive contribution to the quality of peoples’ lives and my priority is to provide the best possible service for the residents that we serve.
“Although I have managed shared services in the past, this is the first time that I have taken on a shared post myself and I am very keen to get to grips with this new way of working. I am also looking forward to being involved in the 2020 Vision programme which envisages Cotswold, West Oxfordshire, Cheltenham, and Forest of Dean Councils determining their own policies, priorities and decisions, supported by a small number of expert advisors who will commission and monitor services either from the private and voluntary sectors or from local authority-owned service delivery companies. There is scope for big savings to be made through going down this route at a time when the government is demanding maximum efficiency from the local government sector.”
Christine is a native of East Yorkshire but regards this area as her second home:
“My first taste of this region was when I worked at South Oxfordshire Council and I am delighted to be back. My husband and I will be living in Cirencester which is one of my favourite towns in England, and we have both loved the whole Cotswolds area for many years. Aberdeen was also a beautiful place to live but I am looking forward to a slightly warmer climate!”
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Largest Ever Survey to Uncover the true Impact of Policing Rural Crime Release date: 21st May 2015
The largest ever survey into crime and anti-social Behaviour (ASB) in rural areas has been launched in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to find out how the police can better serve rural communities. The survey, launched by the National Rural Crime Network (NRCN), is calling for people who work or live in rural areas to come forward and give their views on policing in their community, the impact crime and ASB has on them and their neighbours and to ultimately help shape the future of crime prevention and rural policing.
Anyone living or working in rural areas is being encouraged to take part in the survey to help build a picture of what is a widespread but often misunderstood issue. You don't need to have been a victim of crime to have a view on how the police work. You may be concerned about police visibility or response, see incidents that go unreported, or you may have a local officer who is engaged and proactive. Against a backdrop of policing budget reductions and a growing focus on higher crime areas, the new survey will assess how crime and ASB, as well as the threat of potential crime, affects individuals, both financially and emotionally. It will also shed light on the human implications of crime and the fear of crime seeking to explore the impact not just on individual victims, but also communities as a whole. Any crime that happens in an urban area can, and does, happen in rural areas too, and how policing is delivered affects everyone living and working there. Traditional farm-related incidents such as fuel theft and sheep rustling make up just one part of the problem; we need to understand all the other issues that affect people in our remoter areas, as well as in market towns, villages and the countryside more generally.
Chair of the NRCN, Julia Mulligan, who is also North Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, commented:
“The full scale of crime in rural areas has never before been assessed. Whilst official figures show rural crime, like crime in general, is decreasing, we are concerned about the wider implications on people and communities. The fear of crime can be as detrimental to people’s wellbeing as crimes themselves, so we are keen to find out more through this survey. Our aim is to build a clear picture of the issue to shape future delivery of services locally and nationally. By completing the survey, people can really have their say on how crime affects them and what they expect from local police and their partners involved in community safety.”
The survey, which is taking place with support from the Home Office, aims to build a body of information to improve national awareness of crime in rural areas as well as provide a clearer picture of attitudes towards crime to help inform government and local policy. The findings will be important to ensure the human costs such as psychological impacts of crime are taken into account and police funding is spent where it is most needed, rather than simply being channelled to urban conurbations. The ultimate aim is to make rural communities safer. While the survey will aim to provide a comprehensive overview of the scale and financial cost of crime and anti-social behaviour, it will also measure the emotional impact of crime in rural areas by asking how incidents made victims feel and the longer term effects on confidence and security.
Mulligan continued: “While average crime rates do tend to be higher in urban areas, tackling rural crime comes with its own specific challenges whether that be the ability of police forces to respond quickly or the scale of crimes which may go unreported. This survey is an important step towards delivering a better service to communities and making the countryside a safer place to live and work.”
The National Rural Crime Network (NRCN) is supported by 29 Police and Crime Commissioners and police forces across England and Wales. The Network, established in July 2014, includes a wide range of organisations with an interest in community safety and rural affairs such as the National Farmers Union, Historic England, Neighbourhood Watch and Crimestoppers. For a full list of members, please visit the National Rural Crime Network (NRCN) website.
The survey will be open until Wednesday 24th June. To complete the survey, visit Click Here. For more information on the NRCN.
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Cotswold Community says Goodbye to Buying Release date: 19th May 2015
Northleach residents have won a £700 award from Cotswold District Council for their efforts to create a green community. At the heart of this is a new initiative known as Streetbank, a UK-wide movement of people who share with their neighbours boosting local communities. People are tapping into a new kind of wealth – a greener, friendlier kind, where borrowing is the new buying. Set up in January, the Northleach Streetbank community quickly grew to some 60 members. Within a month they had entered and won a prize worth £700 in a gRRReen Awards competition which was run by Cotswold District Council in conjunction with their waste service provider Ubico Ltd and the Gloucestershire Joint Waste Partnership.
The council's competition challenged local communities in the Cotswolds to come up with ways to reduce, reuse and recycle to decrease the amount of waste being sent to landfill. And this is exactly what the Streetbank group in Northleach is doing. Using a free website, members share within their community. Be it lending ladders, borrowing buggies or swapping sewing machines, they're borrowing not buying. The result? Less waste and less clutter.
Northleach resident and Streetbank champion Jenny Moss is confident this is just the beginning:
“It all started when I needed a roof box, and it occurred to me that rather than buy a new one, maybe one of my neighbours would have one I could borrow. And that maybe there was a way of finding out if other people in my community would want to borrow and lend things to others in the town. I did some digging around online and discovered streetbank. Very quickly I set a group up in Northleach. It’s really easy to join and use and is a great way of bringing a community together.”
Cabinet Member for the Environment and Communities at Cotswold District Council, Cllr Sue Coakley, was full of praise for Jenny’s initiative:
“When the Streetbank group applied for the GRRReen competition we had no hesitation in awarding them a £700 prize because they had such impressive plans for increasing the recycling and reuse of everyday items, while also reducing consumption of new goods. We also felt that this was a good model which could be replicated across the whole District. People are buying more items than ever before and an increasing number of quality goods are being thrown away. This is why it was so heartening to learn that the Northleach Streetbank group has been connecting with local groups and businesses such as the Town Council, Northleach Primary School, Fosse Lions Club and the church to raise their profile and attract more people to share resources. I also understand that they are working towards a Streetbank Day which will showcase their achievements and encourage even more sharing.”
Across the country 1500 people are exchanging through Streetbank every month. There are over 60,000 members and it's the largest website of its kind with 38,000 things and 12,000 skills worth a total of £1.5m listed so far and it's now come to Gloucestershire. Using the fund won in the gRRReen Awards, Northleach Streetbank plans to expand not only in their community, but also within Gloucestershire, helping others set up their own groups. If you are interested in getting involved or would like more information you can visit Streetbank for more information.
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Another Cotswold benefit fraudster is jailed Release date: 12th May 2015
A prosecution brought by Cotswold District Council has resulted in a 26 week jail sentence for a benefit fraudster from the Cheltenham area. This is CDC's twelfth successful prosecution within the last year.
Mr Robert Gleed, aged 68, from Condicote, Cheltenham appeared at Gloucester Crown Court on Thursday 7th May for sentencing. Mr Gleed had previously appeared in court to plead guilty to fraud charges, admitting that he had claimed over £43,336 worth of Housing and Council tax benefit payments despite holding savings of just under £90,000 in various accounts. Mr Gleed was interviewed under caution on 30th October 2014 and stated that his benefit claims were valid as he and his wife only held savings worth £8,000. However, when confronted with evidence that the couple actually held almost £90,000 and had not declared it, Mr Gleed acknowledged that he had been dishonest, and could give no reason for his actions. It was also pointed out that he had successfully applied for Discretionary Housing Payments (additional top up funds) during the claim, which compounded the dishonesty. The judge noted that Mr Gleed had pleaded guilty at the previous hearing but, noting the severity of the offence, he sentenced him to 26 weeks imprisonment. The Council is now working with Mr Gleed to recoup the money which was claimed fraudulently.
Cotswold District Council's Strategic Director, Frank Wilson, was very pleased with the outcome:
“Honest people realise that the benefits system is a vital safety net for those in need, and anyone who uses it illegally to feather their nest will eventually pay a heavy price. Experts have numerous ways of detecting benefit fraud, and the officer at CDC who uncovered this recent attempt was particularly alert. This type of investigative work helps to safeguard our public finances and ensure that benefits are awarded to those in real need. Anyone who suspects that people might be abusing the system should tip off the Council by calling 01285 623762 or by reporting the suspected fraud online.”
This is the third time this year that CDC has taken benefit fraudsters to court and won the case - and the twelfth successful prosecution since April 2014. This year, Caroline Foxley received an 8 month sentence in January when she claimed about £20,000 in benefits despite having £250,000 in an offshore bank account. Additionally, Karen Hardiman and Roger Cross were jailed for 16 weeks and 26 weeks respectively in April after making illegal claims for £80,000 worth of benefits after their circumstances had changed.
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Mental Health Awareness Week was a Great Success Release date: 18th May 2015
Officials at Cotswold District Council have been very pleased with the reaction to events around Cirencester from 11th to 15th May highlighting Mental Health Awareness Week. Local organisations including the Council, 2gether NHS Foundation Trust, the Churn Project, Independence Trust, the Cirencester Housing for Young Project (CHYP), Pharmacists and Soroptomists provided a range group and taster sessions and information stands to demonstrate ways to help improve mental health. This included opportunities to learn more about a Learning Disabilities Group, an Older People Friendship Club, relaxation sessions, a carers peer group, and a language learning group.
CDC’s Health Policy and Partnerships Officer, Bill Wragge, was very pleased with the public reaction:
“Once upon a time, mental health was virtually a taboo subject but it is clear that this is not the case nowadays. The public responded very positively to the information we made available last week about improving mental health.
“About one in four people experience some kind of mental health problem at any given time, and the most common issues are depression, stress and anxiety. We can all take steps to improve our mental health, and we are confident that the events we laid on last week will help a considerable number of people become much more aware of the help available locally.”
Cotswold District Council supports Mental Health Awareness Week Release date: 6th May 2015
Mental Health Awareness Week takes place from 11th to 17th May. This annual occasion is aimed at highlighting the issues around mental health and the support that is available, and this year's theme is Mindfulness. Nationally this event is arranged by the Mental Health Foundation, but local organisations including 2gether NHS Foundation Trust, Cotswold District Council, the Churn Project, Independence Trust, the Cirencester Housing for Young Project (CHYP), Pharmacists and Soroptomists have joined forces to plan a series of events around Cirencester.
Throughout the week, there will be group and taster sessions on a range of topics, including the following:-
Perhaps the main event will be the visit of a special Mindfulness Bus to Cirencester Market Place from 9am to 3pm on Friday 15th May. This will enable the public to obtain advice and information about many mental health issues from experts on the bus, There will also be a choir on hand to promote the benefits of group singing and a healthy food demonstration courtesy of the Wiggly Worm.
CDC's Health Policy and Partnerships Officer, Bill Wragge, is keen to promote awareness about Mental Health locally:
“One in four of us will be experiencing a mental health problem at any given time, with some of the most common issues being depression, stress and anxiety.
“There is a lot we can all do to improve our mental health and we want to remind people that there is help available for anyone who needs it.
“We hope that we can get this positive message across during Mental Health Awareness Week and we’d love to see a great turn out at all of the events.”
To find out more about the events and courses which are available, ring 0800 073 2200 or see NHS Mental Health. More information on Mindfulness can be found on the Mental Health Foundation website.
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Council welcomes jail sentences handed to £80K benefits fraudsters. Release date: 28th April 2015
A joint prosecution by Cotswold District Council and the Department of Work and Pensions has resulted in jail sentences for a couple from Moreton-in-Marsh who made illegal claims for almost £80,000 worth of benefits over a six-year period.
Karen Hardiman, 46, and Roger Cross, 39, of Springfield, Moreton-in-Marsh, appeared at Gloucester Crown Court on Thursday 23th April and admitted a total of ten charges of benefit fraud from 2006 to 2013; Mr Cross also asked for five further charges to be taken into consideration. After hearing the evidence, the judge sentenced Ms Hardiman to 16 weeks in jail and awarded a longer prison sentence of 26 weeks to Mr Cross because he had previous convictions for burglary. Arrangements have been made for Ms Hardiman’s school-age daughter to live with her grandparents while her mother serves her sentence.
Ms Hardiman had qualified for benefits legitimately when living as a lone parent, but the situation changed when Mr Cross moved into her home in 2006 and they didn't declare that her circumstances had changed. For his part, Mr Cross worked as a gardener but did not declare his income. The pair had pleaded guilty as soon as it came to light that they had been making illegal claims for housing and council tax benefit, income support, jobseekers allowance and employment and support allowance worth a total of £78,774. Even though there were mental health issues to consider in both cases, the judge was convinced that they had both deliberately sought to defraud the state and were fully aware of their actions.
The judge acknowledged that the couple had not indulged in lavish holidays but pointed out that they had, nevertheless, falsely obtained the equivalent of an extra £17,000 per year, some of which was used to fund Mr Cross's drug habit. The couple have agreed to repay some of the money through deductions to future benefits.
Commenting after the verdict, Cotswold District Council’s Director of Corporate Resources, Frank Wilson, said:
“The benefits system is a safety net for people who are in need of financial support when they cannot make ends meet. That's why it is always so galling to hear about people who knowingly try to get more than their fair share through deceitful means. I am very grateful to the officer at the Council who played a major role in uncovering this particular fraud and bringing the perpetrators to justice. This type of work is vital to help safeguard our public finances and ensure that benefits are awarded to those who really need them. I would urge anyone who suspects that people might be abusing the system to contact the Council by calling 01285 623762 or by reporting the suspected fraud online ”.
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The first rapid Electric Vehicle Charging Point (EVCP) in Cotswold District is now up and running at the Old Market Way car park in Moreton-in-Marsh. Release date: 17th April 2015
The first ever rapid Electric Vehicle Charging Point (EVCP) in Cotswold District is now up and running at the Old Market Way car park in Moreton-in-Marsh. Another EVCP at the Beeches car park in Cirencester should also be activated very soon. The latter was damaged by vandals but has now been repaired and is now just awaiting commissioning and then registration with the ‘Charge Your Car’ network.
Both EVCPs were made possible when Cotswold District Council obtained from government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV.) and should encourage people to adopt a greener mode of travel. The EVCPs should encourage people to adopt a greener mode of travel between locations in the north and south of the district and beyond, as they will link to a nationwide electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
Louise Croot, the Energy and Resource Projects Officer at Cotswold District Council, said:
“We are very pleased that we have reached this milestone. We expect that this will boost the tourism industry, local traders and the local economy. Once the Cirencester hub is active, we will have two new EVCP hubs providing an important strategic link between existing charging points on the M4, M5 and M40. This should enable more electric car drivers to stop off in the Cotswolds in the knowledge that they can recharge their vehicles.”
The EVCPs will allow motorists to charge their vehicles in about 30 minutes – up to 8 hours quicker than standard charge points, and also a 3-4 hour improvement on fast charge points. There will be a £4 ‘charge and park’ fee which will cover a charge-up for each vehicle using the EVCPs and up to an hour’s worth of parking. The Council will also ensure that users can access a Pay As You Go service via telephone or mobile phone app to pay for this new service.
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Cotswold District residents magazine is issued when the council needs to consult on big issues or wishes to communicate important news.
Over the last few years, with more and more people using the council website, they have refrained from issuing a newsletter on a routine basis.
The Cotswold News is now produced about once per year at the most.
As well as the Council Website, the latest editions of the magazine are available to download on this page.
The Council values your views about Cotswold News - what you like and dislike and what you find useful and would welcome any feedback.
This can of course include any suggestions you may have for future articles.
The Newsletter is printed on environmentally sustainable or recycled paper and delivered to households by Royal Mail.
It is also available from the Council's offices at Trinity Road, Cirencester and at the Moreton Area Centre.
The total cost to the Council of publishing and delivering to each house in the district is under 20p per copy.
Cotswold News Winter 2014.
How to influence the Cotswold local district plan including housing allocations.
Cotswold News November 2013.
Waste collections and Local planning issues.
Cotswold News August 2012.
Kerbside collection of mixed rigid plastics.
Cotswold News Winter 2010.
Cotswold News Spring 2010.
Here are some other Cotswolds sites:-
The Cotswold Journal has recent Cotswold news stories.
Comprehensive Cotswold AONB background and information.
Useful information for Cotswold visitors.
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