Kenilworth mayor reflects back on a year of successes

Mike Hitchins (outgoing Mayor of Kenilworth)
Mike Hitchins (outgoing Mayor of Kenilworth)

The approval of the Kenilworth Neighbourhood Plan topped the list of items spoken about during the mayor’s recent report to the town council.

Kenilworth Mayor Mike Hitchins gave a very detailed report of the actions taken by the council over the past year at the town assembly meeting held on Thursday May 9.

Cllr Hitchins said the vote for the Neighbourhood Plan reached a respectable 29 per cent turnout with 4,757 people actually voting on it.

He added: “The main focus for the year was completing the Kenilworth Neighbourhood Plan, which is now in place and will guide how Kenilworth will look, feel and function for years to come.

“It has now become an important planning document, routinely considered in planning decisions and notably referred to by a planning inspector in a recent planning appeal.”

The town council had its most successful year to date in the awarding of nearly £40,000 to 17 local community organisations.

Some of the organisations that received grant funding included the Kenilworth Arts Festival, The Kenilworth Centre, the Kenilworth Runners, the Central England Lip Reading Support Group, Kenilworth Youth for Christ and the Citizens Advice.

A grant from Warwickshire County Council enabled Kenilworth Town Council to plant trees along several residential streets across the town.

The town council also purchased seven grit bins, some of which have been placed near local schools.

The town council issued 890 castle passes to residents of the town over the past year. Any resident of Kenilworth is eligible to receive a pass to visit Kenilworth Castle with the completion of an application returned to Jubilee House. There is a £5 application fee to obtain the castle pass, which is valid for 10 years.

The town council also funded and ran the Kenilworth Shop Window Competition.

Cllr Hitchins added: “It was very successful and positively commented on by people shopping in the town.”

The town council continues to serve as a formal liaison with English Heritage and Kenilworth Castle in regard to a full range of issues, including tourism, the Kenilworth Castle Conservation Management Plan and improving access to the castle from the town.

He said the town would like to see a formal pedestrian crossing added near the entrance to the castle.

Cllr Hitchins said: “We’re always looking for ways to improve access to the castle from the town.”

At the end of the meeting a couple of councillors commended Cllr Hitchins on his work as mayor for the town.

Cllr John Cooke, who referred to the mayor an ‘excellent ambassador’ for the town, said: “I think you’ve done a fantastic job.”

Many of the town councillors also went on a tour of the Finham Sewage Treatment Works facility organised by the mayor last year.

The town council will next formally meet on Monday May 20 during its annual meeting held at 7.30pm at Kenilworth Castle. The new mayor and deputy mayor will be chosen during that meeting.