Council's Covid-19 recovery strategy for Scarborough revealed

A recovery strategy to get Scarborough through and out of the “unprecedented challenge” of the Covid-19 pandemic has been published by the borough council.

By Carl Gavaghan, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Wednesday, 15th July 2020, 1:41 pm
Updated Wednesday, 15th July 2020, 1:42 pm
The borough's Covid-19 recovery plan aims to kickstart the local economy.
The borough's Covid-19 recovery plan aims to kickstart the local economy.

The council’s plan aims to residents “at the heart of everything” as the borough aims to recover from a crisis that has impacted every facet of life.

The authority’s strategy details how it is thought the pandemic will progress, with a fresh spike in cases in October with the reintroduction of lockdown restrictions before the borough moves into the “the new normal” phase in the new year.

The Scarborough Council Covid-19 Recovery Plan will run alongside the North Yorkshire Resilience Forum (NYLRF) Recovery Plan, which provides the framework for recovery across North Yorkshire.

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The plans outline the two main threats to the borough and the county, the humanitarian and economic impacts the pandemic has created.

Scarborough Council wants to ensure that health inequality in the borough does not increase following the pandemic and for it to continue to invest in major projects even as it faces a bill running into millions of pounds.

The Scarborough Council plan has identified three key priorities.

These are:

* to provide a safe environment that rebuilds an inclusive and sustainable future for our residents, employees, businesses and tourists

* to be ambitious in our approach to both regeneration and providing a greener future

* and to listen to the voices and concerns of our citizens, employees and businesses in shaping the future.

Scarborough Council’s recovery plan, which aims to help the borough to “build back better”, will be presented to the authority’s cabinet on Tuesday next week.

The report prepared for councillors states: “The Covid-19 outbreak represents an unprecedented challenge for the borough of Scarborough and a major shock to the borough’s economy and communities.

“As the current lockdown restrictions are lifted and the UK moves into the recovery phase, the borough will need to re-start the economy as quickly as possible.

“Supporting our residents, local businesses and getting capital investment projects moving again will be critical to a successful recovery.”

There will also be a focus within the recovery plan to build on the climate and environmental changes that have been an unintended consequence of the pandemic.

The report adds: “The Covid-19 pandemic has had a considerable impact upon society which cannot be underestimated.

“Tales of heroism, rapid development of community support networks, a combined will to tackle the issue are just a few examples of how society has responded to the virus.

“Society has been forced to adapt and innovate at a pace never witnessed before and a significant amount of this adaptation has been driven at the local level, not by political entities but by people and communities.

“While it is difficult to talk about positives during times of pandemic there are a number of real climate and sustainability positives that have resulted from the changes forced upon society and society’s ability to adapt and overcome.”

The consequences include a reduction in carbon emissions and an increase in the number of people walking and cycling.

The plan continues: “We are expecting the impacts of Covid-19 to continue across our communities for years to come and there is an opportunity to embrace these changes and embed them for the future.

“These changes have been largely driven from the ground up and care must be taken to foster this and not wade in with a big brother approach.

“Organisations are already working on improving our area and we see this as one of our strengths in this difficult time.

“If we can bring together the energy and ideas of all of these groups to address this challenge we feel we will be able to ‘Build Back Better’ and engender real change across our borough to deliver a more sustainable future.”

The report also addresses the financial impact on the authority of managing the pandemic.

It states that so far the council is facing a budgetary shortfall of around £12m – though last week the council’s finance director Nick Edwards said this figure would be “significantly” reduced following updates from the Government on council funding allocations.

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