South Kesteven District Council leader says there's a sense of optimism as spring arrives and lockdown is gradually eased
As the spring and summer months approach across Stamford, there is a palpable sense of optimism to feel bright about, says South Kesteven District Council leader Kelham Cooke (Con).
The success of the vaccination roll out continues to be a clear path out of present Government restrictions and, starting on March 29, the first tentative stops out of lockdown begins.
This is really welcome news and as our focus turns to safely heading back to a form of normality, I wanted to share my own and the priorities of the district council with you.
Firstly, we need to support our local businesses, many of whom have been closed, to recover. This includes preparation for reopening and ensuring that any guidance issued is clear and reliable. It means continuing to ensure that financial support is made available and passed to businesses.
One of my priorities over the last 12 months was to ensure this happened as quickly as possible and across South Kesteven we administered over 2500 grants to businesses across our area totally nearly £40m.
Secondly, we need a clear path for economic growth that will help create and support jobs locally. It has been a tough time for workers and now moving our attention to do all we can to support job retention and renewal has to be a focus. This means making progress in Stamford on regeneration schemes like St Martin’s Park which will maximise benefits for many in Stamford with new homes, affordable housing, commercial space to support local jobs and retirement living alongside the vital restoration of the original 1904 factory building – a key part of our local heritage.
Another opportunity for Stamford is the recent transformation of the former St John Ambulance station in Stamford into two storeys of office space. This will bring more jobs into the town centre as businesses prepare for the return to office working.
A key feature of our town, Stamford Arts Centre is also benefitting from additional investment. Ready for when it can reopen, repairs are underway to improve and enhance this beautiful building with a new roof and re-designed entrance.
And thirdly, we must make sure our local environment is enhanced and green spaces maintained for all to enjoy. As the weather warms up (fingers crossed), it is the ideal time to explore our district and soak up the wonderful sights that South Kesteven has to offer. Whether it is exploring Newton’s Trail or heading out on a town trail around one of the district’s four market towns, there is an abundance of places to discover. I would urge you to visit our DiscoverSK website – www.discoversouthkesteven.com - where you will find an array of walking and cycling routes to enjoy this spring.
Lastly, and most importantly, the pandemic has highlighted the great value we place on local health services and our NHS. We have seen truly heroic efforts from our healthcare professionals, and I know they are truly supported and remains a people’s priority that is wholeheartedly supported by the council.
I’m proud of the efforts of our community over the last 12 months and know that together we have much to look forward to as we work to make Stamford even better than it is today.