As we edge slowly toward Spring 2021, we wanted to give you a comprehensive update of all that is due to happen over the next couple of months. This article contains information on Regeneration, Business Grants, Consultation, Roadworks and much more. Grab yourself a coffee and click the link to read on.
The latest phase of funding support for businesses was launched by Monmouthshire County Council on Friday 12th February 2021. This follows the announcement at the end of last month by the First Minister of an extension of the current Restrictions Business Fund Non Domestic (NDR) Grant to the end of March 2021.
Businesses that previously received the Restrictions NDR grant, in either December 2020 or January 2021, are eligible to receive a top-up payment of either £3,000 or £5,000. There is no need to re-apply. The council’s Business Grants Team have been processing payments and they have confirmed that the funds should reach eligible businesses’ bank accounts the week commencing 15th February 2021. The full press release by Monmouthshire County Council can be found here; http://monmouthshire.gov.uk/business-advice
Additional Support For Freelancers Announced
This new round of support, from the Cultural Recovery Fund, is available too freelancers who previously received a grant under the Freelancer Grant scheme. An additional payment of £2,500 will be available. It’s important to note that if the freelancer has since received a grant under the Discretionary Grant scheme then they will be ineligible for this additional payment according to the guidance set out by Welsh Government. Individuals who previously received a grant under the Freelancer Grant Scheme will shortly receive an email from the council’s Business Grant Team asking them to confirm if there have been any changes in their circumstances.
It is important to note here that this additional support is not open for new applications. The full press release by Monmouthshire County Council can be found here; http://monmouthshire.gov.uk/business-advice
The updates on these grants and further support gives businesses a much needed breath of air, although we fully understand that this is not going to be sustainable for businesses for very long. The concern of Caldicot Town Team are the first few weeks and months when the lockdowns are eased, members of the public will still be very cautious to venture out into town centres and villages, some will want to wait until they have been vaccinated first, Others will be so used to online shopping and home deliveries that the need for high street shopping is reduced, and others will embrace the chance to visit shops and “socially distance” with other people again. While each person has their own individual thoughts, concerns and worries about the easing of lockdown, it is vitally important that everyone spares a moment to think about our local businesses, many of whom have had just 64 trading days in the second half of 2020. Some of those businesses rightly diversified to be able to make the experience and they business viable, but there are many who have not been able to do that, and those are the ones that really need our support, as soon as lockdown restrictions are eased.
Caldicot Town Team are currently campaigning through the Business Resilience forum with Monmouthshire County Council and Welsh Government to provide extra support even when lockdown is eased, to help support those who need in it the first few months of being able to trade once again.
We will of course, provide further guidance as soon as this is released from Welsh Government and Monmouthshire County Council
Church Road – Caldicot Castle – Town Centre
Following design plans and consultations in 2020, work is due to start on the improvements to Church Road on Monday 15th February 2021. The works will be carried out by Alun Griffiths Contractors and is expected to last 8 weeks.
Traffic lights will installed and in use during the works, be aware however that these are likely to be moved, dependent on the location the constructors are working on. Working hours will be 08:00 – 17:00.
Alun Griffiths Contractors have published a leaflet which gives some further details and contact information should there be any issues or concerns. This can be found here Introductory Letter – Caldicot Church Road – Billingual
Due to the collapsed water culvert, you will be aware that the works at The Cross were never fully completed, specifically outside New River Chinese Takeaway and Caldicot Printers. Alun Griffiths Contractors have confirmed that this will now be completed and finished, following the work carried out by Welsh Water before Christmas.
Caldicot Town Centre
Roberts Limbrick have been commissioned by Monmouthshire County Council to work on the next stage of the regeneration plans. These include new paving throughout the town centre, along with new seating areas and street furniture. Survey work has already taken place in the town centre (you may have noticed the yellow spray paint on the paving, which shows services such as power, water, gas etc.)
Caldicot Town Team are working with Roberts Limbrick, and Chris Jones Regen on developing the scheme and will be carrying out an online consultation during the first week of March. There will also be a live webinar held where you will have an opportunity to meet the design team and air any concerns or ideas you may wish to share.
It goes without saying, that this is great news for Caldicot and another step in the right direction towards a regenerated, more modern, clean and tidy town centre, which we hope will help attract new retailers to the town centre.
Following a review of the number of calls made from the BT telephone Boxes in the Town Centre, BT has made the decision to remove both of these, work was planned for the end of January, but this is now going to take place in late March. Once removed, paving will be replaced to match the existing paving surrounding the location of the telephone boxes.
Outdoor Seating Areas
As we all know, the Co-vid virus breeds in enclosed spaces, just one of the reasons that Cafe’s, Restaurants and Eateries were made to look at operating outdoor seating areas, while reducing the number of tables inside, keeping social distancing in place.
Welsh Government has offered to help support those Cafe’s Restaurants and Eateries by providing funding to help utilise space outside of premises as part of its Co-Vid 19 – Town Centre Outdoor Adaptation Grant which has been created from it’s “Transforming Towns” Grant
Caldicot Town Team, along with Roberts Limbrick and Local Businesses worked on creating outdoor seating areas, that both compliment the work that has been completed at The Cross while keeping costs as low as possible for businesses. Caldicot Town Council, Caldicot Town Team and Monmouthshire County Council Invested £1,600, £1,000 and £1,600 respectively for a design proposal to be created, which Roberts Limbrick were tasked to provide.
Designs have been discussed and created with involvement from the businesses, where outdoor seating would be of greatest benefit. The three most suitable areas are The Baguette Shop, Lite Bites, Caldicot Fish Bar, Aroma Cafe and Fratelli’s.
We are pleased to confirm that talks have been taking place between Monmouthshire County Council and Welsh Government, who has confirmed that the funding will be met almost entirely now by Welsh Government, which means that businesses are able to make use of the grant, without causing any detriment to the financial element of their business.
The images shown above are broadly matching the final design, the framework will be created using Steel with wooden inserts and plants/shrubbery. Colours are currently being finalised but it is likely these will be incorporated to match the colours of the seating/lighting columns of The Cross furniture, which has recently been completed.
Seating will also be provided for those businesses at no cost to them, to help the aesthetics of these areas compliment one another.
We are hoping that this will encourage more people to come into the town centre and make use of independent Cafe’s, Restaurants and Eateries. We already know the success that Fratelli’s have during the warmer months with people sitting outside for drinks and food, as well as outside the Cafe’s and we want to help to encourage this further. Not only does this help businesses themselves directly but it also helps to lift the general atmosphere and ambiance of the town centre.
Work is due to start as soon as the furniture and frameworks are built, which is likely to be Late April. We will of course, keep you updated.
Event & Market Updates
Caldicot Town Team are beginning to look forward at the coming months to plan and prepare for the restarting of its Markets & Regular Events. Of course, this is highly dependent on Lockdown Restrictions, but we are pencilling in dates that we hope we can restart doing our regular activities.
We are hoping that Lockdown Restrictions will have eased and Caldicot will be Tier 3 or even Tier 2 by Easter (April 4th.) In both of these Tiers, Markets and non-essential retail will be able to reopen, and we are hoping to be able to run our first market of the year. Whether the full Annual Easter Egg Hunt will take place as usual is not yet certain, but we are hoping to have a much clearer picture when Mark Drakeford makes his next review on March 12th.
Again, this does depend on what we are safely allowed to do within the restrictions, but we are hoping we will be able to run our annual 999 Emergency Services Day at Caldicot Castle in August. We will hopefully be combining our Family Fun Day in the Town Centre with a Street Food event running into the evening, but more details on that should be announced soon.
We will also be holding more evenings of Live Music within the town centre. Caldicot Town Team have now purchased our own sound system, which reduces costs considerably for us on events, which means we can do more and be more flexible. We have recently asked those on social media what events they would like to see throughout the year, so keep a close eye on things. You never know, you may buying a birthday card from RSVP and petting an Alpaca at the same time one day soon, or moving to the side to let a Donkey pass!