MHDC News Round-Up January 22

Have your say on a new political map for Malvern Hills District Council

New boundaries are being proposed for council wards in Malvern Hills District Council.

The Local Government Boundary Commission wants to hear what residents and local organisations think about the proposals. A 10-week week consultation on the proposals will run until 21 March 2022.

The Commission is the independent body that draws these boundaries. It is reviewing Malvern Hills to make sure councillors will represent about the same number of electors, and that ward arrangements will help the council work effectively.

It is proposed there should be 31 councillors, with 13 single-councillor wards, six two-councillor wards, and two three-councillor wards.

Proposed changes include:

  • Significantly altered wards for Malvern to unite key centres within the town
  • New wards in the north east of the district based on responses from parishes and councillors

How can I comment on the proposals?

To have your say all you need to do is tell the Local Government Boundary Commission what you think of the proposals and your reasons why. You are also welcome to put forward alternative proposals.

Have your say on the new Boundary Review proposals.

You can also:

Prime Minister’s statement to Parliament on COVID-19 and the Omicron variant

On Wednesday 19 January The Prime Minister gave a statement to Parliament on the progress against the Omicron variant and the review of the Plan B measures.

In his statement, he said the latest Office for National Statistics data show clearly that infection levels are falling in England and that scientists believe it is likely that the Omicron wave has now peaked nationally.

He added that hospital admissions have now stabilised, with admissions in London even falling, and that numbers in intensive care are also falling.

As a result, the Prime Minister announced that the country can return to Plan A in England and allow Plan B regulations to expire. From 27 January, mandatory certification will end although organisations can choose to use the NHS Covid Pass voluntarily.

He also confirmed that the government is no longer asking people to work from home and that once regulations lapse, the government will no longer mandate the wearing of face masks anywhere.

He added that from 20 January, the government will no longer require face masks in classrooms, and that the Department for Education will shortly remove national guidance on their use in communal areas from 27 January.

He also announced that the government will also ease further restrictions on visits to care homes and will set out plans in the coming days.

He concluded by explaining that the self-isolation regulations will expire on 24 March and that he would not expect to renew them and could even bring that date forwards if the data allowed it. In advance of that, the government will set out their long-term strategy for living with COVID-19. Visit the Gov website to read the full statement.

Using your NHS COVID Pass for travel abroad and at venues in England

On Tuesday 18 January, the Department of Health and Social Care updated the guidance on how to use the NHS COVID Pass to demonstrate COVID-19 status when travelling abroad and domestically at venues and settings in England.

The update includes a video about the NHS COVID Pass letter for domestic use in British Sign Language (BSL). Visit the Gov website for guidance.

Omicron business support funding

The Government has announced new funding to support businesses affected by the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

This support includes:

  • One-off grants of up to £6,000 for qualifying businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors.
  • New Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) funding for other businesses impacted by Omicron – such as those who supply the hospitality and leisure sectors. It will be up to our discretion to allocate this funding to businesses most in need but as with previous ARG funding allocations, it is unlikely to be enough to support all businesses affected.

We have yet to receive detailed guidance from the Government about how these two support funds are to be administered or what our allocation of the money available will be.

Once we have this information, it is likely there will have to be an application process. We hope to be able to make a further announcement about this early in January. We will keep this page updated or sign up for our business e-newsletter.

Businesses could win £1,000 by taking part in skills survey

Businesses are being encouraged to take part in a survey to find out what their skills and training needs are.

The survey is being run by Malvern Hills and Wychavon District Councils with telemarketing agency, Team Telemarketing, and will end on 31 January 2022.

They will be contacted via phone call to take part in the survey but it can also be done online. All entrants will be entered into a prize draw to win a £1,000 cash prize.

The results will help guide the councils in providing targeted support to businesses including future subsidised courses to meet their needs, help with recruitment and to fill the skills gap.

The survey is being run as part of the Malvern Hills and Wychavon Upskilling Project which has received funding of £283,050 from the UK Government Renewal Fund.

Read more about the survey and how to take part.

Commonwealth Games baton-bearers

The excitement is building for this year’s Commonwealth Games, taking place in Birmingham from 28 July to 8 August, and bringing an economic boost to the whole of the West Midlands.

The anticipation has stepped up a gear this week with the opening of nominations for baton-bearers for the Queen’s Baton Relay in England.

The 294-day relay is already under way, with the baton – containing a message to the Commonwealth from Her Majesty The Queen – set to visit every corner of the Commonwealth.

The relay arrives in England in early July and thousands of people will then carry the baton around the UK during the final 25-day leg before the games begin in Birmingham.

This is your chance to nominate someone who you’d like to see carry the baton as part of the relay. The Birmingham 2022 organisers are looking for individuals who:

  • are always willing to take on a challenge and has a unique and inspiring story;
  • has made a meaningful contribution to sport, education, the arts, culture, or charity;
  • is a figure of inspiration who positively challenges others to achieve their best;
  • has taken on a challenge or cause and made a positive impact within their community.

You can make a nomination here. The deadline is 14 February 2022.

Keep Britain Tidy award

Our Community and Environmental Protection Team have been shortlisted for one of Keep Britain Tidy’s national awards.

The award is within the Community Engagement category for efforts on environmental improvements for local residents.

Improvements by our team include Adopt-a-Street Scheme, Community Litterpicks, Green Dog Walkers Project, Schools Eco Sessions and more.

The Keep Britain Tidy Awards will be presented at the charity’s annual Network Conference at the Birmingham Hilton Metropole hotel on Thursday 10 February 2022.

The awards recognise and celebrate local authorities that are committed to making significant improvements to the environment on people’s doorsteps, from community engagement work to waste enforcement work.

There are ten award categories altogether, each with three shortlisted contenders, we are in the running alongside The City of Westminster and Manchester City Council. We will keep you posted on the results.

Valentine’s Breaks

The Malverns is being promoted as a Valentine’s Break destination with a dedicated Valentine’s Breaks blog story via Visit The Malverns social media channels.

Other promotions include romantic walks, romantic meals, and jewellers. Various media enquiries have also been responded to which will hopefully generate some national newspaper coverage. The campaign also promotes ‘Fall in love with our Town Centres’ as part of town centre recovery to encourage footfall. Read more on the Valentine’s webpage on the Visit the Malverns website.

Upton upon Severn Easter Trail

Plans are beginning to take shape for Upton Tourist Information Centre as they prepare to host a new town centre trail after the success of the Pumpkin Trail in October.

The new Easter trail will encourage visitors to tour the shops whilst solving riddles to find the golden egg. More information coming soon.

Priory Park lower pond plans

The lower pond in Priory Park will be cleaned and enhanced for the first time in over 30 years.

The works, which will see the pond desilted and repaired, will form part of the council’s Five Year Plan to improve the play area and biodiversity enhancements in the popular Great Malvern park.

Following the recent desilting and repair of the upper pond in Priory Park, which has reinstated water flow into the lower pond further, more significant works are required to the lower pond to improve water quality and biodiversity.Desilting will enable the pond to start capturing carbon again and provide the right environment for plants to grow.

The project will take place early in 2022, to avoid key amphibian and bird breeding seasons and to ensure the least environmental impact to the wider park. Read more about this on the Priory Park webpage.