A417 Missing Link Update & Consultation

Cllr Mark Hawthorne MBE, Leader, Gloucestershire County Council, writes:

Dear A417 ‘Missing Link’ supporter,

When I last wrote to you I mentioned that Highways England would be running a route options consultation early this year and I’m now delighted to let you know that the consultation will run from February 15 to March 29.

The consultation is being led by Highways England; you will get the chance to have your say on the shortlisted route options and I want as many people as possible to be able to take part.

This is a very important stage of the project to fix the A417 ‘Missing Link’ and although we need to keep the pressure on to make sure things continue to move forward, this is a key stage of the process to make sure our campaign becomes a reality.

The county council is supporting the consultation by hosting information points in some of our libraries and we will be making the plans available at Shire Hall. There are a number of events taking place in the county, here you will be able to get information and speak to Highways England about the project and the consultation.

Please get involved in this route options consultation, have your say and spread the word with family and friends and urge them to get involved. I want to send a loud message that as a county we are united in our determination to make sure that the A417 ‘Missing Link’ is consigned to history.

More information on the project can be found at

Once the consultation opens on 15 February you will be able to take part by visiting Highways England’s website.

GCC: Why Your Council Tax is Going Up This Year

Via press release from Gloucestershire County Council on 23rd January:

The council tax in Gloucestershire is set to rise 2.49 per cent in 2018-19 with the average band D household paying an extra £52.95p per year.

But the county council says the increase is below Government guidelines – it includes £27.9 million for business support. The total council budget is now £412.9 million.

Over 1,700 comments were made by local people when the county council asked for feedback on next year’s draft budget.
Seventy four per cent of people agreed with the overall draft budget. Eighty-nine per cent of people agreed that protecting the most vulnerable people in our county was important to them.

As a result, the council is now proposing an extra £5 million, bringing the total additional investment to £16.3 million to help the most vulnerable children and young people in the county, funding more social workers, as well as services like foster care and adoptions. £30m of capital funding is also included to pay for a new secondary school in Cheltenham.

The authority says councils continue to face pressure on social care with more and more people requiring support later in life. The government is allowing councils to increase the adults social care levy they collect to pay for things like social and residential care.
The council says it remains committed to £150 million investment in highways, and the budget also includes £2.74 million to support Highways England’s safety improvements to the A417, plus continuing the Local Highways Scheme which will provide £10,000 for every county councillor to spend on improving highways in their area.

A new Growing Our Communities Fund will also offer £30,000 over three years for each county councillor, allowing more flexibility to spend money where it is needed.

Since the draft budget was published, the government has also allowed councils to increase council tax by up to 3 per cent without a referendum. However, mindful of the burden council tax can place on Gloucestershire families, the council says it is only proposing a 2.49 per cent increase, in addition to the two per cent Adult Social Care Levy – 0.5 per cent more than the draft budget.

This means for an average band D household the proposed total increase would be £52.95 per year or £4.41 per month. Gloucestershire currently charges £46 per year less in council tax than the average county council, including the levy and £173 per year less in council tax than the highest charging council.

Cllr Ray Theodoulou, deputy leader and cabinet member for finance, said: “Thank you to everyone who gave us feedback. We have listened and made some difficult decisions. Government gave us the green light to increase general council tax by up to 3 per cent this year without a referendum. By staying well below that limit — 2.49 per cent — We have tried to find a balance that provides enough investment to protect our most vulnerable people, but also limits the financial impact on our hard working communities.”

The updated budget proposals for 2018/19 are:

  • Adult services – £133.172 million (incl. help for people with learning disabilities, older people, vulnerable adults)
  • Children & Families – £102.924 million (incl. schools, children’s services, prevention & wellbeing)
  • Communities & Infrastructure – £79.896 million (incl. highways, libraries, trading standard, fire & rescue, waste)
  • Public health – £24.271million (ring fenced grant)

The balance covers £27.917 million for business support and £44.720 million of technical and corporate (including cost of funding infrastructure investment) – a reduction of £12.867 million compared to 17/18 budget.

If approved at Wednesday’s cabinet meeting, the budget is subject to a final decision at full council on 14th February.
Both meetings can be watched live at www.gloucestershire.public-i.tv/core/portal/home.

Join ‘The Big Conversation’ to Shape Gloucestershire’s 2050 Vision

Via press release from Cotswold District Council.

Ambitious plans for the future of our County over the next 30 years will be unveiled at the launch of the Gloucestershire 2050 Big Conversation on Thursday 1 February, which takes place from 3pm to 6pm at Cheltenham Racecourse. Cotswold District Council is urging local residents, businesses and organisations to be there so that they can help to shape the Gloucestershire 2050 Vision.

The event will include the announcement of eight potential ambitions for the future of the county and six major projects that could radically transform the county’s reputation on the national and international stage, as well as delivering significant improvements in the quality of life for local people.

The Big Launch will also mark the opening of a six-month programme of public engagement activity to develop the Gloucestershire 2050 Vision, and collect alternative ideas from residents and organisations.

CDC Cabinet Member for Enterprise and Partnerships, Cllr Chris Hancock, is looking forward to the launch: “The Gloucestershire 2050 Vision is a very exciting venture, and it is of vital importance that the Cotswolds is represented effectively at the Big Launch by both those in the 16 to 25 year age group and also older residents. The organisers want the conversation to evolve into an agreement on what people want Gloucestershire to be like by 2050 and how people can come together to overcome potential obstacles and realise ambitions. There will be many opportunities to engage, including the use of social media, video, and attendance at action days.”

Stephen Marston, Vice Chancellor of the University of Gloucestershire, added: “Gloucestershire is a fantastic place to live with bustling towns, a historic city, innovative businesses and beautiful countryside. But we face some major challenges over the next 30 years that will have a significant impact on all our lives if we don’t take action to address them. 400 people in the 18-30 age bracket are leaving the county every year to seek work elsewhere. Our working age population is only increasing by 1.4% a year but we’re expecting the number of people aged over 65 to increase by 66.8% by the year 2039. We need to make sure that Gloucestershire offers a great quality of life for every generation, based upon shared values, and that means we need to explore some big ideas for how we could do things differently.”

Tickets to the Gloucestershire 2050 Vision Big Launch on 1 February are free. Book your place now!


The Big Launch has been organised by the University of Gloucestershire on behalf of Leadership Gloucestershire, a partnership of the county’s leading public sector organisations. The exhibition-style event will include stands hosted by a range of innovative local businesses and organisations that are shaping the way that Gloucestershire residents will live, work and study in the future.

For more information visit www.glos2050.com.

Have Your Say On County Council Spending 2018-19

We have been asked to make you aware of the county council’s budget consultation, via the following press release from Gloucestershire County Council, on 20th December 2017.

Council welcomes Local Government Finance Settlement

Proposed changes to the way local government is funded have been announced by Sajid Javid MP in the House of Commons.

This afternoon the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government discussed plans to consult on proposals for a new way of funding local government from 2020/21.

The speech recognised that the way councils receive funding needs to be updated to reflect the changing communities that local government serves. This would give local authorities the freedom they need to make decisions in the best interests of local people.

In his speech the MP also acknowledged the need for local councils to have greater control over the money they raise. As part of that, pilot schemes for 100% business rate retention have been announced in ten authorities, including here in Gloucestershire.

The full details of the proposed changes have yet to be published, but they would not come into effect until 2020/21.

The county council’s own public consultation into the budget for 2018/19 is currently live, giving residents the chance to inform how the council uses its £407.16 million budget.

Cllr Mark Hawthorne, leader of Gloucestershire County Council, said: “We welcome this announcement from the Secretary of State and look forward to seeing exactly how this will benefit Gloucestershire when full details are published in due course.

“News of a review of the fairness of government funding for councils is particularly welcome – for a long time Gloucestershire has lost out when compared to other areas.  It is very good news to hear this will be addressed.

“By having more control over how we use the money available to us, we can continue to deliver the vital services that really matter to our residents.”

Residents can have their say on the county council’s proposed 2018/19 budget until Wednesday 17th January at www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/budget2018.