Coventry leader sets out priorities after local elections including gigafactory update

A CGI of the 'Greenpower Park'  in Coventry
A CGI of the 'Greenpower Park' in Coventry -Credit:Greenpower Park

A project involving a gigafactory at Coventry Airport is "tantalisingly close", the leader of the city council has said. Cllr George Duggins made the comments in a message to residents last week, May 16.

Plans for a gigafactory on the site have been in the works for seven years. In March, the project was expanded to involve other battery industry ventures but with a West Midlands battery factory remaining as its main tenant.

The scheme, now called 'Greenpower Park', is a "game-changer", Cllr Duggins claimed. He added: "After so much work by the council, it is exciting to see this project so tantalisingly close."


China set to spend billions opening massive gigafactory in Coventry

Cash for Coventry gigafactory is there and new zone will spur investment - Mayor

It is one of the council's priorities for the next two years, according to Cllr Duggins. His message in a newsletter to residents outlined what the council will focus on, with citywide elections over until 2026 - when every seat in the council will be up for grabs.

Coventry City Council Leader George Duggins
Coventry City Council Leader George Duggins -Credit:Reach

The need for "economic prosperity" is why the council has been trying to get the gigafactory and now other battery industries at the Coventry Airport site, he said. He said the council is "committed to supporting those most in need, while helping to support to provide opportunities for all to improve the lives of themselves and their families."

"Economic growth and prosperity is at the heart of that, as well-paid employment is proven to have clear benefits to people’s housing and wellbeing – both physical and mental," he added. Cllr Duggins also pointed to the £2.5 billion investment and 6,000 "highly skilled" jobs that it is claimed the scheme will bring.

Other pledges include cracking down on fly-tipping with harsher penalties and more enforcement. More affordable housing, rolling out average speed cameras, repairing roads and changing the bin service are also priorities.

The council says it will keep supporting the city's job shop and events like Godiva Festival and Motofest, and will plant more trees and "re-wild" areas of the city. But he said meeting all the priorities will be "tough" amid "financial pressures, rising demand and chronic national underfunding" the council faces.

Godiva Festival will mark its 25th anniversary this year
Godiva Festival will mark its 25th anniversary this year -Credit:Tristan Potter

He said he makes "no apologies for being ambitious in delivering the best we can for the city." He added that the council will keep fighting for "fairer funding."

Three-quarters of the council's budget goes on social care and housing and homelessness, he said, and the funding it gets is £89 per head below average for England. His message comes three months after councillors agreed huge £8.4 million cuts to services to tackle a significant gap in the council's budget.

Residents in the city will have to pay £40 per year from next month for brown-lidded bin collections, following the move. Council tax also went up by the maximum 5% for the second year in a row, council tax support was reduced and almost three-quarters of street lights across the city will be turned off overnight.

Yet despite the savings, the council's budget in February still showed a £14 million deficit for next year. It remains to be seen whether the council will be making more "tough" choices on services next year to close the gap.

Sign up for our daily newsletter here for all the latest news about Coventry.