Thank you for taking part in a public consultation on whether Stratford-on-Avon District Council and Warwick District Council should merge and become one combined new District Council.
From 6 September to 24 October 2021 this consultation will be conducted involving a questionnaire open to all, a telephone survey of a representative sample of 600 residents as well as a series of focus groups with residents, our businesses, parish and town councils, voluntary and community groups. Direct feedback from stakeholder organisations will also be sought. Responses will be used to inform Councillors when in December 2021 they decide whether to make a submission to the Government for permission to merge and create a new District Council serving South Warwickshire.
Why are we asking these questions?
Both Councils face significant financial challenges. The impact of dealing with the pandemic, when combined with the increased costs of delivering existing services, such as waste management, as well as responding to the climate emergency, present a challenge not seen since our Councils were formed in 1974. We have identified a range of options on how best to respond and concluded that merging the Councils is the most effective option available to meet this challenge. It is vitally important that before the Councillors come to a decision, we hear the views of the wider community on whether you believe a merger is the right option to take or not.
Why is the merger of the Councils the preferred approach?
Merging our Councils will give the new combined District Council a sustainable financial basis for delivering the services we all value without significant cost increases to council tax-payers. This option will also make our local government more resilient and better able to help local communities tackle challenges such as the climate emergency or a future pandemic, while also continuing to improve our current services by:
- Enhancing local democracy by creating tailored services to support and strengthen the work of parish and town councils.
- Increasing recycling and introducing a weekly household waste food collection service.
- Tackling housing shortages by building more affordable homes for local people.
- Improving the accessibility to Council services online, by phone, by video conferencing or at face to face meetings.
- Targeting investment in the local economy and key infrastructure through the joint Local Plan.
- Supporting businesses and job creation; especially tourism, through a new Economic Strategy.
- Addressing the climate emergency locally through a joint Climate Emergency Action Programme.
- Helping Police to tackle crime via the South Warwickshire Community Safety Partnership.
- Improving health and well-being via the South Warwickshire Health/Well Being Partnership.
Your views on the future of our District Councils are important to us.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your responses to these questions, all of which will be considered by Councillors when they debate and resolve how best to proceed in December.
Please watch the video below showing an introduction to the consultation by Leaders of both Councils.
Cllr Andrew Day
Leader of Warwick District Council
Cllr Tony Jefferson
Leader of Stratford-on-Avon District Council