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Council leader reveals priorities for Worcester

Published: 10 July 2024
Councillor Lynn Denham, Leader of Worcester City Council
IMAGE: Councillor Lynn Denham, Leader of Worcester City Council

The newly-elected Leader of Worcester City Council has revealed her priorities for the city over the next four years. Councillor Lynn Denham says she aims to work with partners across the city to drive economic growth for everyone, make the city a healthier and better place to live and work, and ensure Worcester is a sustainable city.

Cllr Denham was elected as the Leader in May, when Labour emerged as the largest party in the City Council’s first all-out election. With all 35 members of the City Council now set to serve four-year terms, a vote was taken to move away from the previous arrangement of having joint leadership from the two largest political parties. Instead, Cllr Denham was voted in as Leader with fellow Labour councillor Cllr Jabba Riaz made Deputy Leader.

Cllr Denham said: “We are grateful for the opportunity to serve a four-year term and we want to thank voters for putting their faith in us.

“Jabba and I are ambitious to deliver for the people of Worcester. We are realistic that tough times still lie ahead, and we aim to provide strong and stable leadership to help our city through the challenges that await, working closely with the new Labour national government.

“Our focus will be on working with partners across Worcester, because by working together and co-operating we can achieve so much more.

“We have so many talented people in Worcester who are committed to our wonderful city, and we will be reaching out to many of them in the coming weeks and months.

“We hope to work closely with social housing providers like Platform, Worcestershire Royal Hospital, our faith communities, educational institutions including the University of Worcester, HOW College and city schools, major employers such as Bosch, Mazak and Worcester’s busy retail sector, and many others.”

Cllr Denham’s priorities to boost economic growth include completing the work to improve Angel Place and the surrounding area, the regeneration of Shrub Hill, and completing the Arches project to open up new business opportunities between Foregate St Station and The Hive.

She said: “We will create new community skills facilities, with the aim of helping thousands of people to improve their employment prospects, as it’s vital that economic growth benefits everyone in our city. We will also shortly be publishing the business plan for the operation of the new Scala performing arts centre, which will form the centrepiece of the regeneration of the area around Angel Place.”

A further priority is making Worcester a healthier and even better place to live and work. Cllr Denham said: “It is essential that Worcester residents can access the homes they need, so we will create a Housing Enabling Action Plan, as well as working with social housing providers and developing a strategy to raise standards in the city’s privately rented homes.

“We also aim to increase accessibility in the city and are preparing a new action plan to improve air quality in the city, which will be open to public consultation shortly.”

The successful recent launch of the Beryl bike hire scheme in the city, which has already been used for more than 5,000 journeys, is an important step on the journey to make Worcester a more sustainable city, Cllr Denham said.

She added: "Beryl bikes are a great start, and we will be working to further boost active travel in Worcester so that more people will feel comfortable leaving the car at home.

“Other important landmarks on the road to greater sustainability will include the introduction of food waste collections for every home in the city ahead of the national deadline of March 2026, electric cremators at Astwood Crematorium, and new strategies to boost biodiversity and reduce the impact of flooding.”

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