Town Council to support Town Centre Vitality

Wilmslow Town Council has always supported the Town Centre since it was formed in 2011.

Christmas lights, Christmas switch on events, selected Business Group Events and Rex Cinema accessibility have all be funded at least in part by the town council during that time.

The Town Council is now intending to extend that support to aid recovery from the impact of Covid-19 on our town centre.

At the meeting on 21 December the Council agreed to engage with 'Groundwork' to ask them to devise a proposal for Town Centre Recovery Management for 2021.22. Groundwork was engaged by the Town Council earlier this year to provide a Business Improvement District feasibility study for the Town Centre in conjunction with and at the request of the Wilmslow Business Group, it is anticipated that this ongoing work and their role in managing similar town centres will direct the proposal.

The Town Council intends to proceed promptly in the New Year with these discussions to be able to take advantage of the possible easing of Covid-19 restrictions in the spring, the priorities and costings will not be determined until further discussions with  'Groundwork' have taken place. The Town Council is looking to provide funding for a dedicated time limited Recovery Service from Spring 2021 until Spring 2022.

The budget for 2021.22 was also set last evening and included was a figure of £25,000 to reflect the likely cost of a Town Centre Recovery Management Service plus a figure of £50,000 for the delivery of Town Centre Events. This Town Centre events budget is an increase of £42,000 over the budget for the current year. In approving this increased budget figure it was noted that £17,000 was saved in the current year following the cancellation of Town Council events and £10,000 was received as an unbudgeted income grant for Covid recovery in the current year. The increase in overall spending is to be funded out of council reserves with the Town Council precept remaining unchanged for 2021.22

Martin Watkins, Chairman of Wilmslow Town Council said "The businesses in our town have struggled like all others in this difficult year and it is important that those who can, pull together to aid recovery. We believe that Wilmslow residents have a vested interest in the ongoing vitality of the Town Centre and Wilmslow Town Council believes we should invest funds raised from the residents to aid the business recovery. It is obviously important that over the longer term the business community rebuilds and contributes to this shared responsibility and also important that in the short term we strike the right balance in providing a sensible level of funding that fits with the proposals as they unfold, the budgeted figures I believe will allow us to do so."