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25th August 2020

COVID-19 UPDATE – Monday 24 August 2020

COVID-19 UPDATE – Monday 24 August 2020

Good evening

Please find below the latest update on COVID-19 and other council matters:

Business Updates

Joint statement from Wiltshire Council and Wiltshire Police

Wiltshire Council and Wiltshire Police are urging local businesses to continue to operate responsibly as we continue through the busy summer season.

The council is starting to become aware of, and receive applications for, events taking place at locations across Wiltshire with live bands performing.

Current government guidance states that venues should not permit live performances to take place. The council is working with businesses to offer advice and guidance so that they can safely welcome people back to their venues in a COVID-secure way. However, it is important that owners take responsible steps to avoid entertainment that will encourage people to forget social distancing measures, to help keep transmission of the virus low across Wiltshire.

The council and government do have powers to prohibit events if they have concerns about the possible impact on public safety but this would be a last resort. We hope by encouraging responsible behaviour, business owners and venues will consider the wider implications that live music events could have. These events, even if designed to be held in a socially distanced way will inevitably lead to people singing and dancing and mixing with others outside of their household. We continue to see outbreaks of the virus across the country and the threat of local lockdown remains a very real possibility, as we have seen in other areas.

We want people to enjoy meeting family and friends and enjoying a day out to support their local businesses but it is vital we continue to observe the social distancing measures that are still in place.

For further advice and guidance please can contact publicprotectionwest@wiltshire.gov.uk

Temporary pavement licences for Cafés, restaurants and pubs

Cafés, restaurants and pubs that wish to put tables and chairs on a public pavement or road outside their premises to attract more customers and increase trade are being reminded that they need to apply for a free temporary pavement licence.
Temporary pavement licences are available free of charge and will, in most cases, last for 12 months from date of issue. Businesses can find out more information and apply at:
www.wiltshire.gov.uk/licences-permits-temporary-pavement-licences

Business Recovery Packs and Toolkits

The council has updated its COVID-19 Business Recovery Packs for businesses reopening their premises, including one specifically for restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaways.

The packs contain a round-up of government guidance, helpful tips on how to implement the guidance and safety advice posters and social distancing floor spots for businesses to use to keep their staff, customers and visitors safe.

These resources have been created to support businesses across the county as they adapt their premises to provide a safe and welcoming experience for customers. They also complement additional signage being used across Wiltshire high streets to encourage people to follow social distancing guidelines.

The COVID-19 Business Recovery Packs and toolkit can be downloaded online.
Business grant funding closes next week
The £10,000 Small Business Grant and the £10,000 or £25,000 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant are only open for applications a short while longer.

If businesses think they may be eligible, they must submit their application and any additional information by 5pm on Friday 28 August 2020. This will allow time for applications to be processed and the funding paid before the grant schemes finally close.
After the grants funding closes any unspent grant has to be returned to central government, so eligible businesses are being encouraged to apply for financial support before it is too late.
For further information and to apply online visit our website.
Government Self-employment Income Support Scheme – second grant phase now open
Those self-employed individuals eligible for the Self-employment Income Support Scheme, will be able to make a claim for a second and final grant from 17 August 2020.

The grant will be worth 70% of an individual’s average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment, covering 3 months’ worth of profits and capped at £6,570 in total.

Self-employed individuals can make a claim for the second grant even if they did not make a claim for the first grant. Any claim needs to be made on or before 19 October 2020.

For further information and to apply online visit the government website here.

Schools update

A Level, GCSE and BTEC students praised for their hard work
The council has praised A-level, GCSE and BTEC students for their determination and perseverance against all odds as they received their results across the county this month.
This has been an extraordinary year which has deeply impacted our schools and students. The council would like to thank school staff who have worked hard with students and also the students themselves, who have had to come to terms with a very difficult few months and faced unprecedented disruption and uncertainties.
For those students requiring guidance and advice on next steps, support is available at schools, Wiltshire College and University Centre and the University and College Admissions Service (UCAS) helpline.
Work Wiltshire, a Wiltshire Council service, offers advice in planning the next steps in education, training or apprenticeships. There is also a dedicated parents page, to help support parents and carers.
The National Careers Service is holding virtual careers fairs entitled “Options at 16” and “Options at 18”. The fairs will have their own Eventbrite page and attendees will be able to see content from organisations, watch videos and follow links to external sites, including live broadcasts, webinars and online Q&As.

The Eventbrite registration page can be found here.

Top tips for parents as Back to School Booklet is published

Families thinking ahead to the start of the September term can find a range of advice and support in a Back to School booklet published by Wiltshire Council.

Schools have been busy preparing to ensure pupils can safely return and each school will be contacting families to set out how the new school day will work and providing practical advice.

Where possible pupils are being encouraged to walk and cycle to school. The council website also has a range of advice and FAQs on school transport as pupils return. There is information on dedicated school transport and pupils taking public transport.

People can find the Back to School Booklet here

People can find the information on school transport here


Wiltshire Council submits bid for more funding to boost cycling and walking

Wiltshire Council has submitted a second bid to the Department for Transport (DfT) for funding of up to £1.7m to reallocate road space to prioritise cycling and walking in the county.

The bid comprises five different projects around Wiltshire, which meet the DfT aims for cycling to replace journeys previously made by public transport and deliver significant health, environmental and congestion benefits.

Cycling infrastructure is most effective in areas where the potential for cycling is higher and when it can be combined with other measures. It’s for this reason that these bids are focused on our towns, often linking town centres with peripheral areas.

The five schemes are:
• A420 Bristol Road, Chippenham. On the A420, the scheme would see a permanent new segregated facility for both cyclists and pedestrians between the junction with Woodlands Road and the A350 bypass. This will further help to provide a safe route on the main road from Bumpers Farm.
• Lowden Hill, Chippenham. This project would see improvements at Lowden Hill to provide continuous cycle and pedestrian facilities between Bath Road and Lowden Hill, and onwards into the town centre and railway station. The scheme would see the closure of the western section of the route to motor vehicles, to allow the footways to be widened and the carriageway made into a dedicated route for cyclists.
• Downton Road, Salisbury. This permanent shared-use cycle path will be created by widening into the verge. It will connect to existing shared path facilities on New Bridge Road via very low traffic streets, where a 20mph zone will be introduced, to the Britford park and ride site.
• Hilperton to Melksham via Semington. This permanent facility complements the new cycling facility on the Hilperton Road, and links Hilperton to Melksham via Semington, removing the need for cyclists to travel on this section of the A361. The scheme starts at Hilperton, with a closure on Devizes Road, and then follows a length of shared-use path on the north side of the A361 to allow cyclists to access Whaddon Lane. The route then follows a byway to Semington, along High Street and towards Melksham before reaching the A350.
• Easton Lane cycle link between Chippenham and Corsham. This project would see a permanent closure on Easton Lane, just south of the junction with the B4528, before linking with the Wiltshire Cycleway.

It’s hoped that all of these projects will be accepted for funding, but some may not be successful. The council will hear more from DfT in the coming weeks.

To find out more about Wiltshire’s road reallocation cycling schemes, please see www.wiltshire.gov.uk/highways-road-reallocation-schemes

People Friendly Salisbury project

The survey for People Friendly Salisbury has now closed, with a total of 784 residents, businesses and interest groups sharing their views on the project - we’d like to thank everyone who participated in the consultation.

People Friendly Salisbury has the backing of Salisbury City Council, Highways England, Salisbury Pubwatch, bus operators including Stagecoach and First, TravelWatch SouthWest, and many more local groups and stakeholders.

This experimental scheme will help to transform the city of Salisbury, making it a more attractive place to visit, shop and work; and improving air quality. Overall the scheme aims to improve pedestrian priority in the shopping centre of Salisbury.

The council has listened carefully to the views raised in the consultation and in response to feedback will now be making some changes as a result as the scheme is introduced.

In response to the points raised in the consultation, two areas will be removed from the plans – the first stage of the scheme will no longer restrict access to the Castle Street entrance to Central Car Park and Chipper Lane and part of Endless Street will be removed from the initial scheme.

The project will initially be installed for a trial period of 18 months and will also be subject to an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO) during this period. A consultation will run alongside the ETRO, when people can share their views. The council can then make changes if parts of the scheme need improvements.

We’d also like to thank people who contacted us about traffic on the A36, and we’re working closely with Highways England on a contingency plan, which includes measures to address impacts on the A36, using advanced monitoring technology to monitor traffic flows.

For more information about the project, please see http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/salisbury-people-friendly-streets

Wiltshire Council receives new planning application for Westbury waste facility

The council has received a new planning application from Land & Mineral Management, on behalf of Northacre Renewable Energy Limited (NREL), for a revised ‘energy from waste’ facility in Westbury.
The plans, which would replace the originally approved application, set out NREL’s intention to change the technology from advanced thermal waste treatment gasification to conventional moving grate waste combustion, and will now be subject to the statutory planning process.
The application will be accompanied by an Environmental Statement in accordance with the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations and will have a 16-week determination period.
Public consultation for planning applications usually lasts for 21 days; however, given the anticipated interest in this application, people will be able to comment for six weeks, following the application’s initial checking for validity and registration. The application number is 20/06775/WCM, and comments will close on Tuesday 22 September.
Wiltshire Council’s new website goes live on Tuesday 25 August
The council’s new website goes live tomorrow with improved security, accessibility and reliability making it easier for our residents to find the information they need. Whilst the site will look different to the current one, the content will remain the same following the first phase of the project.
The new website will be aligned to the gov.uk format to improve the customer experience.
The next phase of the project is to review and rewrite content on the website to reduce the number of pages and ensure residents can find information simply, quickly and easily. By making these improvements the council hopes to reduce demand on customer services staff by ensuring residents can complete transactions easily online.

Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre to reopen

The Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre is opening up to visitors tomorrow with some new ways to access the site.
The centre, which is a focal point for heritage services in the county, will open on Tuesday 25 August with new measures put in place to ensure the safety of visitors.
People will need to book their visit via the History Centre’s website, by email or telephone in advance and wear a mandatory face covering in the building.
The new opening hours for the centre will be Tuesday to Friday from 9:30am to 5pm. The centre will be closed on Saturdays, Sundays and Monday until further notice.
Further details and booking information is available on the WSHC website at www.wshc.eu.

Government Green Homes Grant

Following the Government’s announcement of a £2bn Green Homes Grant in England, homeowners and landlords will soon be able to apply for a voucher to fund up to two-thirds of the cost of hiring tradespeople to upgrade the energy performance of their home. The maximum contribution is £5,000, but low-income households will be eligible for up to 100% government funding, up to £10,000.

Find out more: https://www.simpleenergyadvice.org.uk/

Winter gritting requirements

While it is currently warm and sunny, Christmas is only four months away, and with it comes ice and snow. We’re prepared for whatever adverse weather lies ahead – the salt stocks are already being replenished at our six salting depots.

We’re also asking local town and parish councils to think about their winter plans, and if any Wiltshire Council grit bins in their area need refilling. If so, please report your requirements to: www.wiltshire.gov.uk/mywiltshire-online-reporting

Because many grit bins have already been filled, the salt may appear hard when inspected; but this is just a crust that can easily be broken up when needed by a spade.

Regards,

Cllr Philip Whitehead

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