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Two Councils Bid To Shine Like Beacons

New town centre management initiatives in Leamington, Kenilworth, Warwick and and Coventry could turn out to be award winners.

Warwick District Council is one of 11 authorities looking for Beacon Status for its work on its town centres. 

It is up against Coventry, Nottingham, Birmingham, Nottingham, Sheffield and others.

The district council appointed a town centre manager, with private sector support, to look after Leamington, and a deputy overseeing projects in the smaller towns of Warwick and Kenilworth.

Exercises, such as Planning for Real, were introduced to give the public a say on the future of their towns.

Council leader Margaret Begg, said:

"We have given priority to town centre management issues for the last three years and our efforts are beginning to bear fruit.

"We are through the heats and into the finals. Whatever the final result is, I think it shows that we are among the best in the country for town centre management."

And Coventry is also staking its claim to the title and bidding for the same status to acknowledge work done in the city.

Cllr Dave Batten, cabinet member (Development and Renewal), said the fact that Coventry had been short listed for Beacon status was a tribute to the efforts to improve the city centre. He said:

"Coventry's economy is subject to almost constant change. A job is the best way out of poverty and creating jobs for local people is one of the city's highest priorities.

"To do this we are trying to create a city centre that is vibrant and attractive to both businesses and shoppers alike."

The Beacon Council scheme was set up by the Government to select councils as centres of excellence and help spread best practice to all authorities.

An independent advisory panel was set up for to provide advice and recommendations to ministers. In the latest round, there were 123 councils applying for status in 11 key service areas.

Each will be visited in the coming weeks and the independent report will then be passed on to ministers who make a final decision on which authorities will get the coveted Beacon Status with the announcement next year.

Leamington is also in the running for a separate award looking at work to make the town a safer place. Its efforts were judged a few days ago, with the result expected soon.

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CWN / Politics / Warwick District Council / 27 Sep 00

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This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM