Partnership working for local services
Some community facilities in Stourport-on-Severn could soon be taken on and maintained by the Town Council. Wyre Forest District Council is working towards an agreement with the authority to hand over some of its assets located in the town.
The toilets at Riverside Meadows, the paddling pool on the riverside and the Britannia Gardens Play area are just three of the facilities the Town Council would like to take over.
Negotiations are also well advanced for the Town Council to take on the open space in Foundry Street/Worcester Street, Lloyds Meadow by the riverside, and the land where the Elizabeth Mills Centre is built. The District Council is also planning to surrender its lease of the Lickhill Community Centre which is located within the Town Council’s Memorial Park. The district council’s agreement to maintain the multi-use games area in Areley Kings has also ended and the Town Council has taken over responsibility for that games area. None of these changes would affect the rights of any occupiers of land such as tenants or sub-tenants.
The move is part of Wyre Forest District Council’s localism initiative which gives community organisations the opportunity to have a more significant role in the way local services are delivered. The council is supporting Town and Parish Councils as well as other organisations to take ownership of assets or to run services.
It is one of the ways Wyre Forest District Council is working to safeguard community services and facilities while also saving money. The council is facing a funding gap of £2.7 million over the next 3 years. This takes into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has so far led the gap to increase by £1 million per annum.
Councillor Helen Dyke, Wyre Forest District Council’s Cabinet Member for Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Community Protection said:
“We are delighted with the progress we have made. By working closely with Stourport Town Council we are getting agreements in place to hand over some of the key assets in the town. Our localism initiative is a fantastic opportunity to bring services closer to communities and can give real purpose to the work of town and parish councillors. Often they can deliver local services more efficiently and economically than we can. The financial pressures on the district council are very large and, unless we work closely with town councils and other local organisations, funding for some community based services will reduce or even end. This is not something we want to do, so our localism strategy enables us to explore new ways to deliver them.”
Stourport Town Council is also looking to run more events in the town. It already organises the highly successful Three Kings Parade at Christmas. It is in the process of setting up a new events committee and will be inviting local people to join. One of the events it is considering running in future is the popular Country and Western Festival and Rock and Roll event at the Riverside. This year these events did not or will not take place due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Councillor Ken Henderson, Mayor of Stourport said:
“This is a great opportunity for the community to take ownership of community facilities and become more involved with the running of them. We think this is a really positive move and by working with the District Council we can continue to provide local services for local people.”
Anyone wishing to join the Stourport Town Council events committee should contact Stourport Town Council by email or call 01562 732551.