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Wyre Forest District Council secures extra grant to help leisure facilities recover

Wyre Forest District Council has secured £200,000 from Sport England’s National Leisure Recovery Fund to support the reopening and recovery of the district’s leisure facilities.

The grant will help support the reopening of Wyre Forest Leisure Centre in April in accordance with the Government’s four step roadmap, and help leisure services recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The grant will help the council’s leisure partner Places Leisure get back to providing a full range of activities and programmes as soon as restrictions are lifted to support residents’ health and wellbeing.

Councillor Graham Ballinger, Leader of Wyre Forest District Council, said: “We have a duty and responsibility to support our leisure services through what has been a very difficult year and we want to make sure residents can benefit from the centre’s superb range of facilities as soon as restrictions are lifted.

“This money will mean that Wyre Forest Leisure Centre can reopen promptly and safely, meaning residents of Wyre Forest can once again visit the gym, take a class or go for a much-longed for swim.”

Wyre Forest District Council has also received £1,542 as part of a monitoring and evaluation grant, which will help build a richer and stronger insight into how the leisure sector is performing as it recovers from the impact of the pandemic.

To find out more visit the Wyre Forest Leisure Centre website.

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Wyre Forest District Council confirms future plans for museum

Plans to set up Bewdley Museum as a fully independent charitable trust have been confirmed by Wyre Forest District Council.

The move has been taken following speculation about its future and to correct rumours circulating in the district.

The decision was taken last November to start the process of setting up the museum as a trust. This will also be responsible for the Guildhall and the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Gardens. Trustees will be recruited and anyone with the relevant skills and experience will be encouraged to apply. The recruitment process is expected to start later this month.

The council expects to remain the major funding source for the new trust. Once the trustees have been appointed, it will negotiate a future grant support package.

Councillor Helen Dyke, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration, Planning and Localism, said

“We are aware of rumours circulating about the future of the museum and we want to make sure that everyone has the full facts. The rumours are unfounded and irresponsible. They are causing unnecessary concern and distress to the dedicated staff who work at the museum.

“People have been saying the museum is going to close and that the gardens are going to be built on. This is not the case.

“The council is determined to support the trust to make it a success, so that the museum has a sustainable future and continues to be available to local residents and visitors alike. More than 200,000 people a year visit the site and we expect the trustees to build on the solid track record that the council and its excellent staff have created over many years.”

The trustees will be responsible for increasing income-generation at the site. They will be able to take opportunities to reduce costs too. This is because the trust will be free to make its own arrangements for matters such as grounds maintenance and support services, rather than the council undertaking the work itself.

Councillor Graham Ballinger, Leader of the Council, added

“We are having to consider this and many other changes to how we deliver services as a direct result of a decade of Government decisions to reduce funding for local government. Many other councils have successfully put in place trusts to run heritage and cultural facilities such as museums, art galleries and theatres. This is a well-trodden path to make sure that important assets and facilities can continue in a sustainable way, drawing on local support and volunteers.

“Our published Cabinet report sets out our plans clearly. We would encourage everyone to read this before commenting on or criticising what we are doing. These are important facilities for the town and as stated we expect to be the main source of funding for the museum, providing a grant of hundreds of thousands of pounds a year. While we would welcome a financial contribution from Bewdley Town Council we are not suggesting they should shoulder the financial burden in full. That has never been the case.”

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Residents warned after landowner fined

Residents are being reminded they must seek approval before carrying out any work involving streams, brooks and culverts on their land.

It follows a legal case in which a Chaddesley Corbett resident was fined £500 after being prosecuted for covering over an open stream and installing a culvert on his land in Cakebole Lane without permission.

Consent is required for any works that affect the flow of an ordinary watercourse, such as the installation of culverts, weirs or certain bridges, under Section 23 of the Land Drainage Act 1991.

In this recent case landowner Mr Richard Yardley had covered over a section of Elmley Brook and installed a culvert, increasing the risk of flooding and potentially damaging the ecology and biodiversity of the area.

The prosecution under Section 24 of the Land Drainage Act, was dealt with by a magistrate under the Single Justice Procedure, from legal papers which Wyre Forest District Council lodged with the court on 22 January 2021.

The magistrate imposed a fine of £500 and ordered Mr Yardley to pay costs of £194.19 and a victim surcharge of £50.

The case was brought after a senior officer from the North Worcestershire Water Management team visited the site in October 2019 and discovered that Mr Yardley had covered over a six metre section of the stream without consent from the council that would allow him to do so.

In February Mr Yardley was given formal notice to remove the culvert by 28 August 2020. But a site visit in September 2020 revealed that the notice had not been complied with.

Cabinet Member with responsibility for water management Councillor Nicky Martin said: “It is important for residents to apply for permission before carrying out any work that alters the flow of a watercourse on their land. This is a legal requirement irrespective of whether works are permanent or temporary.

“We have seen only too often the devastating impact flooding can have on residents and businesses in our district. In this case the land owner was made aware that the work he had carried out was not permitted. He was given time to put things right, but ignored the opportunity. It is not worth running the risk of being prosecuted and fined for ignoring the law.”

To apply for consent or to find out more visit the council’s website

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Nitrous Oxide & Silver Cannister Campaign

Nitrous oxide or N2O is commonly known as ‘NOS’ or ‘laughing gas’. It is a colourless gas which when used as a drug is dispensed from a small silver metal canister into a container, such as a balloon or plastic bag and inhaled from the container for a short-lived high. It can cause dizziness, nausea, hallucinations and acts as a depressant. Mixing nitrous oxide with other substances increases the risks, as do underlying health conditions, and improper use. For instance, inhaling directly from the canister can cause suffocation, frostbite and even death.

You can report drug-related litter to the council’s online customer account My Wyre Forest or download free and report via the My Wyre Forest App.

If you have any concerns about a young person’s nitrous oxide use or any other drug or alcohol use – call Switch Worcestershire for free and confidential support on 0300 303 8200. Switch Worcestershire is a young person’s alcohol and drug service for anyone up to the age of 18 living in Worcestershire.  Alternatively visit for support.

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Vacancy – Mayors PA/Admin Assistant

The Council have a vacancy for a Mayors PA/Admin Assistant. Please visit the website for the details and the application form.

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that, due to the resignation of Mike Maher, a casual vacancy has arisen in the Office of
Town Councillor for Bewdley Town Council in the Bewdley West ward.
If by 18 March 2021 (14 days* after the date of this notice) a request for an election to fill
the said vacancy is made in writing to the Returning Officer at the address below by TEN
electors for the said Town Ward, an election will be held to fill the said vacancy.
If an election is not requested, the vacancy will be filled by Bewdley Town Council by cooption.
If an election is requested, in accordance with regulation 6(1) of The Local Government
and Police and Crime Commissioner (Coronavirus) (Postponement of Elections and
Referendums) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 No 395, the election will take place
on the ordinary day of election, 6 May 2021.

Dated: 26 February 2021
Ian Miller
Returning Officer
Wyre Forest House
Finepoint Way
DY11 7WF

The registration form is available on the Bewdley Town Council website under Vacancies

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Leader confirms cabinet changes and unveils plans to step down

The Leader of Wyre Forest District Council, Councillor Graham Ballinger, has announced a new appointment to his cabinet as well as his plan to stand aside as leader at the council’s annual general meeting in May.

Speaking at the full council last night (Wednesday 24 February), Councillor Ballinger announced that he would appoint Councillor Mary Rayner as a member of the cabinet and that she would take over the finance portfolio. Other minor amendments to cabinet portfolios have also been confirmed.

He said: “I am delighted to welcome Mary Rayner to the Cabinet. She has been a district and county councillor for several years and has effectively served her constituents. I look forward to working with her and being able to draw on her experience and skills from her work as a councillor and from her career as a senior university lecturer in research and management.

Councillor Rayner served most recently as chairman of the council’s Ethics and Standards Committee, and has been replaced in that role by Councillor Anna L’Huillier, who was appointed by council yesterday evening.

Councillor Ballinger also shared with members his plans to stand down from the leadership in May, at the time of the council’s annual general meeting.

He commented “When I was re-elected to the council in May 2019, I was honoured to work with colleagues in various political parties and groups to form the Progressive Alliance and to secure a change in the council’s political direction and leadership. It was a deeply personal honour to be elected as leader in May 2019 – almost 35 years after I had last held that office.

“My term of office as leader ends in May 2023. I have been reflecting on whether I should serve for the full term or, now that we have reached almost the half way point in the life of this council, stand aside in order to allow for transition to new leadership.

“After considerable discussion and consultation with colleagues and others, I have informed council that I plan to resign as leader at the time of the annual general meeting in May. Council will be invited at that meeting to elect a new leader for the period to the elections in May 2023, and I will work to ensure that there is a smooth transition.  I will remain as a councillor and as a member of the Progressive Alliance.”

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Magistrates’ Court issues a £350 fine for excessive barking

A Blakedown resident who allowed her barking dogs to cause a nuisance to neighbours has been fined £350 by the Magistrates’ Court. 

Following complaints from neighbours, officers from Worcestershire Regulatory Services served a noise nuisance abatement notice on Miss Kerry Nicodemou who lives on Birmingham Road.

Noise monitoring equipment was installed in the resident’s property on two occasions but Miss Nicodemou failed to keep her dogs quiet so two breaches of the notice were recorded.

On the first occasion the noise monitoring equipment picked up excessive and loud barking. More complaints were received so noise monitoring equipment was installed again. The barking continued and after ignoring repeated warnings to keep the noise down, formal action was taken.

On Thursday 18 February, Miss Nicodemou was fined a total of £350 by the Magistrates’ Court and also ordered to pay a combined victim surcharge of £64 and costs of £350 for both breaches.

Deputy Leader of Wyre Forest District Council, and Cabinet Member with responsibility for enforcement Councillor Helen Dyke said: “Our legal team and colleagues at Worcestershire Regulatory Services have worked really hard on this case.

“Miss Nicodemou ignored repeated warnings about the level of nuisance being caused to her neighbours. On one occasion noise monitoring equipment picked up 813 incidents of excessively loud barking over a ten-hour period.

“Hopefully this will serve as a warning to others that they must be considerate of others and should not ignore official warnings, or they will face the consequences of legal action.”

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Prices frozen as Garden Waste service restarts in March

Gardeners in Wyre Forest can rejoice as the annual garden waste collection service restarts on Monday 1 March.

Wyre Forest District Council’s fortnightly kerbside collections are the simplest, cleanest and most hassle-free way of disposing of garden waste.

The council has frozen prices for the service so residents can simply make one easy annual payment of £52 for a 240ltr bin, and £36 for a 140ltr bin. There is a £20 sign-up fee for new customers.

Collections restart week commencing Monday 1 March for those that are week 1 and Monday 8 March for week 2. The subscription will run until week commencing Monday 22 November for week 1 customers and Monday 29 November for week 2 customers.

Please note the council is no longer printing and sending out collection calendars. Customers can check their collection day online –

Councillor John Thomas, Wyre Forest District Council’s Cabinet Member for Operational Services said: “Our garden waste service is very popular with residents, it saves time, money and the inconvenience of taking your garden waste to the tip.

“The national lockdown has meant many of us are staying at home. Looking after your garden is a safe way to get outside and keep busy.

“You will also have peace of mind knowing all the garden waste we collect is turned into compost. All income generated from the service goes back into frontline council services to benefit all who live, work and visit Wyre Forest.”

For more information about the council’s garden waste service please visit –

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