A plan for Cheltenham from Councillor Rowena Hay, the new leader of Cheltenham Borough Council.
This has been a time of great upheaval for us all. Our communities face many and varied challenges. As the new leader of Cheltenham Borough Council, I will make sure our communities are able to not just recover from the pandemic, but also prosper in a way that respects our environment too. We have a plan for this.
It’s a plan to press ahead with some key projects that the Borough Council has led over the past few years. The Golden Valley development will be an internationally significant hub for cyber security. Our investment in new homes for young people and families will continue, with £100million just the starting point. And the work of the Cheltenham Economic Recovery Task Force will ensure that business thrives.
But we also know there are challenges and we will plan for these too. Following years of financial upheaval, we were on track to be financially sustainable next spring. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed additional pressure on us locally. Thankfully, our prudent management of council finances means we are still well-placed to deal with the problems. The devilish challenges of key development sites in the town, finding the right (and environmentally friendly) home for the council and how to support our town centre remain. We do not underestimate them and will tackle them with determination.
Under my leadership, we will proceed with this ambitious approach to the future of our town and prudent approach to managing public finances. And we will continue to empower communities to support themselves and each other too. I’m proud to live in a compassionate town and we will always not just promote that big-hearted approach, but enable it and support it too. That means doing more than ever with parishes, community groups and charities to further strengthen our social fabric – something we’ve seen recently with the local response to the school meals campaign.
The groundwork has been laid for the future success of our town. We have a plan to deliver it and under my calm and experienced leadership there will be no looking back.