Cotswold District Council has seen greater investment into the Cotswolds since our Green Economic Growth Strategy was adopted in December 2020.
There are a number of projects running to hundreds of millions of pounds and having a clear vision for the local economy has helped to give businesses the certainty they need to make investment decisions.
Cllr Tony Dale, Cabinet Member for the Economy and Transformation, explained, “The initial focus of the Green Economic Growth Strategy was to rebuild after the pandemic. Our focus now is on promoting a growing economy in the Cotswolds with sustainability at the heart of everything we do. Having that clarity of vision and a proactive, supportive local authority really can make a difference when businesses and public bodies are looking to invest.”
The A417 Missing Link road scheme between the Air Balloon and the Cowley roundabout was approved by the Secretary of State for Transport in November last year and the on-site work is due to start this year. This is a £460 million project that will make the road safer and alleviate congestion, bringing economic benefits as well.
Cllr Tony Dale pointed out, “There will be lots of opportunities for local contractors and suppliers in the Cotswolds, including the need to build 10km of drystone walling. This is a huge project that will really make a difference to our district once it is complete.”
The Royal Agricultural University (RAU) have recently launched their Innovation Village. This is a proposed £100 million development which will help to tackle the twin challenges of agriculture’s role in climate change and food security. The scale of the development makes it the biggest employment-related development in the district for a very long time. Cotswold District Council have been actively working with the RAU to offer advice and guidance and helped them to secure £100k from the Strategic Economic Development Fund for project management towards the Innovation Village.
Cllr Tony Dale attended the launch and said, “This is such a great opportunity for the University, for the district and for the wider area. To have this hub which will be home to a global community of influencers, practitioners, researchers and entrepreneurs in the heart of our district is very exciting. I’m looking forward to seeing this project progress in the months and years ahead.”
Investment in town centres is evident too with the low vacancy rates. Cirencester has seen the number of empty units in the town centre halve over the last 18 months. Cotswold District Council regularly carry out vacant unit counts and actively engage with owners of vacant units. The Council have been working hard to help our town centres ‘build back better’ after the pandemic and residents have continued to show support and shop local.
Finally, Cotswold District Council has been granted £1 million of Government funding as part of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and a further £764,292 indicatively from the Rural England Prosperity Fund. This money will go towards supporting communities and businesses in the district over the next two financial years.
Cllr Tony Dale concluded, “I’m proud of the progress we’ve made with delivering our strategy for the economy over the last few years, despite an incredibly difficult national and international economic climate. This is testament to strong partnership working with our key stakeholders and the incredible resilience of businesses in the area. We are by no means complacent and we are determined to deliver the remaining actions over the lifetime of the strategy.”
If you would like to find out more about the Council’s plans to deliver Green Economic Growth in The Cotswolds, please visit the Council website.