In this section:
- Focusing on beautiful design
- Growing our economy
- Support when you need it
- Council Tax and our budget
- Key investments
- Town centres fit for the future
- Other ways we have used your money to improve Wychavon
- Looking ahead
- Help with the cost of living
- Wychavon key contacts
- Other key contacts
- Tips to help cut your fuel bills
- Help improving your energy efficiency at home
- Save time and money with Wychavon's open portal
- Get your Council Tax bills by email
Over the last four years we’ve worked hard to support people during and immediately after the Covid-19 pandemic. We continue to do that as living costs soar.
We have invested millions in community schemes, including world-class sporting facilities, and backed projects to change the lives of our most disadvantaged residents. We have done all this while keeping our share of the Council Tax frozen, resulting in it being the 4th lowest charge in the country.
I assure you we will continue to use our resources to deliver your priorities and make our district an even better place to live, work and visit.
Cllr Bradley Thomas, Leader of Wychavon District Council
Focusing on beautiful design
We are fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country and it’s our priority to make sure future development is to a standard we can all be proud of.
Our new Wychavon design code will set out clear expectations for design quality, beauty and sustainability. It will be used when deciding planning applications and cover everything from the type of building materials used to what position solar panels should face. By requiring developers to build to the design code, it means planners can ensure new development is better suited to towns and villages and is good quality, sustainable and helps communities flourish.
Crucially it will be based on what you tell us as part of the consultation process, giving you direct influence over how development looks in your area.
Visit www.wychavon.gov.uk/consultations to take part in the consultations.
Growing our economy
Supporting businesses to grow and create jobs has always been a Wychavon priority. During the pandemic we helped more than 3,000 businesses survive. We also spent more than £230,000 on projects to encourage people back into tow.
n centres and to shop local. Our focus is now firmly on attracting new investment, growing our reputation as a tourist destination and helping businesses recruit the staff they need to thrive.
Over the last four years we have:
- Issued £53 million of Covid-19 business support grants.
- Funded 60 more apprenticeship placements.
- Issued 72 business start-up and development grants.
- Attracted more than £2 million of investment into the district.
- Supported the creation of more than 500 jobs at Worcester Six business park.
- Provided £600,000 to further develop Vale Park in Evesham to attract new investment. Supported the recovery of tourism in Wychavon from the Covid-19 pandemic, with the sector’s value rising to £137 million from a low of £91 million. Day and overnight trips and visitor spend have also increased significantly.
- Supported more than 40 visitor events.
- Provided free outdoor cinema events to more than 4,300 people since 2020.
- Given £330,000 towards the construction of the Pershore Northern Link Road scheme to help relieve congestion and secure further business investment.
- Launched our new business hub The Pillar at the Civic Centre in Pershore to support micro businesses.
Support when you need it
We care about our residents. Whether it’s helping you through a global pandemic, a cost of living crisis, or helping to find you a decent home, we are on your side. Here are just some of the ways we have supported our residents over the last four years.
A place to live
- Thanks to the work of our housing team, more than 5,000 people have been helped to either stay in their own home or get off the streets and into accommodation.
- We invested £600,000 into a new housing scheme with youth homelessness charity St Basils to help young people at risk of ending up on the streets.
- More than 740 affordable homes have been delivered to help increase access to housing.
- We launched a new scheme using private rented accommodation to support single homeless people.
- More than 240 Disabled Facilities Grants have been provided to help people stay in their own homes.
Improving life chances
- Schools and nurseries have been provided with £34,640 of grants for projects to improve the life chances of our young people.
- Our speech and language project, in partnership with the local NHS, has screened more than 900 children to identify issues at an early age that can be a barrier to learning.
- In 2020, we invested an extra £106,000 to improve opportunities for Westlands residents in Droitwich Spa.
Help with the cost of living
- We distributed £6.1 million to help residents pay their energy bills.
- More than £632,000 was allocated to various charities and organisations to provide further help with bills, food and other essentials.
- School breakfast clubs received £110,000 and we spent £150,000 feeding more than 2,000 children during school holidays.
Help during or after the Covid-19 pandemic
- Staff went the extra mile to maintain the services you were relying on during the pandemic including bin collections, toilets and our parks.
- We also paid out £449,000 in Covid-19 self-isolation payments to help 899 people on low incomes.
- We spent £839,000 helping people with their Council Tax. Our regular Covid-19 e-newsletter helped keep you informed of the various restrictions and support available to you throughout the pandemic.
- We funded 67 laptops so children could continue learning during lockdown.
- We created a £150,000 Covid-19 Community Recovery Fund for community projects, which is continuing to support the district’s recovery from the pandemic.
Council Tax and our budget
Our share of the Council Tax bill is the 4th lowest of any district council in England. We have frozen our part of the bill for the last five years and we have done so again from April 2023. At the time This means we will have saved residents £2.7 million by March 2024.
We only keep about 6p in every pound you pay in Council Tax. The rest goes to other organisations that make up the total Council Tax bill. The list below sets out how much in each pound you pay and to who. This is why, even though we keep our part of the bill frozen, you still may have to pay more because other organisations increase their share.
- Worcestershire County Council 73p
- West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner 13p
- Wychavon District Council 6p
- Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service 5p
- Town/parish council 3p
Where our money comes from
During 2023/24 we will receive £20.5 million in funding. Below is where our money comes from:
- £6.4m Council Tax
- £5.6m Interest income and rent from property
- £3.2m Government grants
- £4.7m Business Rates
- £0.6m New Homes Bonus
How we will spend your money
In 2023/24 we will spend more than £40 million on our three key priorities. We spend more than we earn because the figure includes benefits payments, which we get back from the Government, and income from fees and charges that reduces our annual spend.
- £24.9 million on supporting people – including Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support payments, work supporting communities with the cost of living crisis and homelessness reduction.
- £6.8 million on strong economy and places – including supporting businesses to grow and create jobs.
- £8.7 million on sustainable environment – including street cleaning, bin collections and tackling climate change.
The money we spend on new facilities and infrastructure is called ‘capital spending.’ From April 2023 to March 2028, we have £42 million worth of capital spending included in our plan. This will be spent on projects such as the revamp of Evesham Public Hall, investments in new housing developments and improving access at Pershore Railway Station. We will also be considering significant investment in a new leisure centre at Droitwich.
Some of our key investments since April 2019 at a glance.
- £106,000 invested to improve opportunities for Westlands residents.
- £2.5 million 3G sports pitch, pavilion and sports ground improvements.
- Commitment to a multi-million pound redevelopment of Droitwich Leisure Centre.
- £330,000 towards Pershore Northern Link Road scheme.
- £2 million for planned Pershore Railway Station improvements.
- £1.5 million planned investment in community sports facilities at Pershore High School.
- New £2 million Evesham VeloPark.
- £600,000 further developing Vale Park.
- £1.4 million in a new 3G sports pitch and pavilion.
We have invested £4.2 million in community projects across the district including:
- £125,000 refurbishing Kemerton Village Hall
- £450,000 for new village halls in Honeybourne and Whittington
- £95,000 for Badsey community burial ground and orchard
- £95,000 for South Lenches open air theatre
- £200,000 for Crowle Community Wellbeing Space
Town centres fit for the future
Last year, we unveiled bold new visions for the future of our town centres to help them meet the challenges of a changing world.
There are encouraging signs our town centres are bouncing back after the pandemic. Footfall increased in our town centres and Broadway by 84% between November 2020 and November 2022. The number of empty shops in our town centres collectively is lower than the national average. We also saw 120 businesses open within our town centres by relocating or repositioning within their town. Our town centre prospectuses will build on this strong foundation and attract the investment we need to ensure our town centres remain at the heart of our communities.
They include everything from major plans to redesign the centre of Evesham, to a new marina development for Pershore and positioning Droitwich Spa as a destination for health and wellbeing. Place Boards – made up of representatives from businesses, community organisations and Wychavon – have been created for each town centre to develop annual plans to make the vision in each prospectus a reality.
We are backing them with £945,000 from our share of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund which can be used to support town centre investment, tourism growth or festivals and events. Despite missing out on money from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund, we remain committed to supporting the £100 million redevelopment of the Riverside Shopping Centre.
We have already committed £4 million of our own money to this major transformation of the heart of Evesham. Visit www.wychavon.gov.uk/towncentres to find out more and to read the town centre prospectuses.
Other ways we have used your money to improve Wychavon
Here are some other ways we have invested since April 2019 to make Wychavon an even better place to live, work and visit.
- Supported the creation of Pershore Health and Wellbeing Hub.
- Contributed £150,000 towards Avon and Arrow Greenway cycleway through Harvington area.
- Continued to invest in our public toilets, resulting in numerous awards including the overall Loo of the Year trophy in 2020 and Best UK Local Authority Toilets in 2022.
- Started a major tree planting project with Heart of England Forest and neighbouring councils.
- Created 23 new pollinator sites to support our insect population and restored 2.4 hectares of habitat.
- Reduced our own carbon emissions by 22% against our 2018/19 starting point.
- Funded free anti-litter education sessions for more than 5,000 children.
- Supported the creation of new neighbourhood watch schemes. We now have 24 across the district.
- Continued to spend £1.5 million a year on street cleaning.
- Dealt with 10,000 planning applications.
- Carried out more than 600 environmental enforcement actions.
- Continued to collect more than 60,000 household waste and recycling bins every week.
We do all this and more for just £2.31 a week (based on an average Band D bill before special expenses).
A new council will be elected at the local elections in May and may have new priorities and ideas. That doesn’t mean there will be a gap where nothing happens. Our council plan runs for one more year and we also have an investment plan for 2023/24. Here are just some of the things we will deliver or start work on over the next 12 months:
- Continuing to support projects to improve the life chances of the most disadvantaged children across Wychavon.
- More affordable housing, particularly in rural areas, with £3.4 million allocated to new housing projects.
- Work with partners to promote cost of living support, provide practical help and pilot information events for residents.
- £1 million for further investment at Worcester Six business park to create new jobs and investment.
- £1 million of Community Legacy Grants for new projects.
- Redeveloping Droitwich Spa Leisure Centre, a white water facility in Pershore and £1.5 million towards community sports facilities at Pershore High School.
- £945,000 for town centre improvement projects, tourism growth, festivals and events.
- £360,000 in new business grant funding and £190,000 to fund business support activities from 2023 to 2025.
Help with the cost of living
Top up your pension
Check if you qualify for Pension Credit. About a third of qualifying pensioners are missing out.
Help with food costs
Find organisations that can help on our website or call the Trussell Trust’s free helpline on 0808 208 2138.
Help with energy bills
Call Act on Energy on 0800 988 2881 for help with energy debt advice, changing providers, access to boiler replacement schemes and other energy efficiency funding.
Help with water bills
Severn Trent offers a reduction on its bills to customers with a household income below £18,278. Other schemes are also available. Find out more about support paying your water bill at www.stwater.co.uk or call them directly on 0345 7500 500.
Cheaper broadband and mobile phone charges
If you are claiming certain benefits, you can access a social tariff and save money on mobile phone and broadband bills.
School uniform costs
Talk to your school if you need help with uniform costs. There are also several groups on Facebook offering uniform for free or at a low cost.
Wychavon key contacts
If you need support, then you will find lots of help and advice on our website www.wychavon.gov.uk.
If you need to speak to someone, then you can contact our services directly using the details below.
Other key contacts
For help with debt advice and other issues call South Worcestershire Citizens’ Advice Adviceline on 03444 111 303.
Household Support Fund
We are distributing the Government’s Household Support Fund to help provide essential goods, food, fuel vouchers and direct support to households. Contact your local volunteer centre for more information:
Tips to help cut your fuel bills
- Reducing the flow rate on your combi boiler to 60 degrees Celsius or below could save up to £112 a year on your gas bill. Visit our website to find out how to do this.
- Turning off appliances instead of leaving them on standby could save about £65 a year.
- Only heating the required amount of water in your kettle could save £13 a year.
- Turning lights off when you leave a room could save about £25 a year.
- Limit your showers to four minutes and you could save up to £95 a year.
- Installing radiator reflector panels could save about £35 a year.
- Turning your heating down by one degree Celsius could save about 10% on your energy bill. For health reasons you should keep your home between 18 and 21 degrees Celsius.
- Use your dishwasher for one less cycle a week and you could save about £17 a year.
- Use your washing machine for one less cycle a week and wash at 30 degrees Celsius and you could save about £22 a year.
- Draught proofing doors and windows could save about £60 a year.
- Replace lightbulbs with energy saving LED bulbs and save about £55 a year.
Find out more at www.wychavon.gov.uk/energy-efficiency
Help improving your energy efficiency at home
If you are over 50, or have a long-term health condition, or a disability or you are a carer, then you can get a free energy check and free energy efficiency equipment installed in your home from Age UK Herefordshire and Worcestershire. Visit the Wychavon website or call 0800 008 6077 for more information.
Energy companies are required to fund home energy efficiency schemes, such as improving insulation or boiler replacements. Call Act on Energy on 0800 988 2881 to find out what help is available.
Register for the Worcestershire Solar Together solar panel and battery storage bulky buying scheme. Once registrations close on 10 March, an auction will be held for pre-approved installers to bid for the work. Visit our website for more information.
Save time and money with Wychavon's open portal
Register for Wychavon's open portal and you can:
- See full details of your Council Tax or Business Rates account without needing to contact us.
- Check on the progress of your Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support claim.
- See how your benefits are worked out.
- Check when payments are due.
- View letters and bills we send to you.
- Set up a Direct Debit or make a payment.
- Tell us about a change of address.
Sign up today at www.wychavon.gov.uk/open-portal.
Get your Council Tax bills by email
Send an email to ebilling@southworcestershire revenues.gov.uk with ‘Yes to e-billing’ in the subject line and include your name and council tax account number (on your bill) or your address in the email. We will then send your Council Tax bill directly to your inbox every March.