Covid recovery can create a positive legacy for the next generation

Wealden District Council has published ambitious plans to support existing businesses and encourage new ones to locate in the District as part of its Coronavirus recovery strategy.

The final phase of the Restart is now under way in Wealden. The Council expects the Recovery Phase to begin at the end of August and continue at least until March next year.

“We have all experienced a period of significant change,” said Council Leader Bob Standley. “The Council has been quick to respond by delivering new and essential support to residents and businesses. As we look ahead to the Recovery, we have put forward measures to ensure Wealden remains a thriving, safe and inclusive District that is open for business.”

“We can go further. This is a good opportunity to ‘bounce forward’ to a place where we want to be, creating a positive legacy for the next generation.”

The Council has already:

  • Paid out £38 million to more than 3,500 local businesses
  • Ensured that 2,500 pay no business rates for the rest of the year.
  • Extended its Discretionary Grant Scheme.

The Recovery Plan includes:

  • Additional financial support for creditors who are experiencing hardship.
  • Temporarily lifting some planning restrictions to help stimulate the local economy.
  • Fast tracking taxi driver licences to help those seeking new income.

Further work is taking place with retailers to restore customer confidence, and help ensure entertainment venues and places of interest will be ready to open when allowed. The Council is also looking at rolling out a series of Planning Policy Statements to provide greater certainty for employers and investors during the recovery period.

Wealden’s Covid-19 Restart and Recovery Plan acknowledges the environmental gains that have been made in recent months by more people working from home. It believes these can be incorporated into a “Build Back Better” policy that creates places for new businesses which are empathetic to our environment.

The Wealden Community Hub will continue to be available to provide essential support to vulnerable residents.  The Council is looking at ways to provide additional financial support  to voluntary groups whose efforts have underlined the strong community spirit that exists in Wealden. It will also be taking account of the equality impact of the pandemic on local communities.

Through its forward-thinking digital strategy, the Council been able to rapidly and effectively adapt to remote working. Going forward, it will be looking at how these benefits can help reduce demand for office space and the impact this has on the environment.

A copy of the Covid-19 Restart and Recovery Plan can be found in 15 July  Cabinet Report on the in the Councillors and Committees section of the Wealden website.

You can watch a video recording of the debate here.

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