First 100 days of new South Ribble administration
In May 2019 following all-out Local elections, South Ribble welcomed a new Labour administration.
Councillor Paul Foster, Leader of South Ribble Borough Council said:
“We have been challenging the administration from the opposition for many years and now we’ve taken the mantle we are radically changing the way South Ribble Council operates and interacts with its stakeholders.
“Thanks to the key supply and confidence agreement we now have in place with our Liberal Democrat Colleagues and having agreed our common priorities, we can now move forward together for the benefit of our treasured communities.
“With this, I want to take this opportunity to personally thank Councillor David Howarth, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group for his on-going support.
“The last 100 days have shown that a dedicated and passionate administration who is totally committed to their vision, can make real change.
“Our manifesto – the reason why more residents than ever before voted for Labour – mapped out our vision for the future and it’s incredible to now see this vision come to life through our brand new four year Corporate Plan.
“Our residents want and need change. They need an administration who listens to them, understands their needs and helps them to shape services. They need an administration who will support a happy and healthy community in a safe and fair borough and we are the ones to deliver this.
“The Plan takes our manifesto promises and makes them real, tangible and accessible to all in our communities. More importantly it tells you how we will monitor our own performance to make sure we consistently do what we say we are going to do.
“With the common, community led priorities we share with our Liberal Democrat colleagues we have, and will continue to deliver for all in South Ribble.”
An open and transparent Council – celebrating successes and owning challenges
The new administration know that South Ribble Borough Council has gone through challenging times over the last couple of years which has had impact on all in the community including the dedicated council staff.
Since taking over leadership of the Council, the new administration has actively sought to bring into the public arena issues faced by the Council, some as legacies of the last administration, and will do so if more occur going forward.
Councillor Paul Foster said: “We’re here to be honest, open and transparent. We know that there is a legacy of mistrust at this Council and moving forward we want to change this perception by changing the Council’s actions.
“We want to make sure that nothing is off the table for discussion and we want to keep confidential reports at Council and Committee meetings to an absolute minimum.
“Whichever way those in our community voted, we’re here to serve all and we will do so with honestly and integrity.
“We will celebrate our successes and at the same time tackle our challenges head on.”
Giving our communities a voice
The administration is passionate about allowing all in the community to have a voice. The Council wants to work alongside the community to listen to their concerns and ideas on how to shape services.
To formalise this dedication, a new Cabinet portfolio was created for Community Engagement, Social Justice and Wealth Building.
Councillor Aniela Bylinski Gelder, Cabinet Member tasked with the important role said: “This is the first time a South Ribble Borough Cabinet has explicitly created a portfolio to focus on our communities.
“I am a member of the South Ribble community and I’m dedicated to ensuring the Council deliver what I know our communities need. That’s a Council who are willing to work with them to shape and deliver services they need the most.
“Our residents are our most important asset and we want to create a flourishing community where they can feel empowered to make change.”
In the administration’s first 100 days, positive changes have already been made to look at how the community offer can be improved.
A strategic review of the My Neighbourhood model has taken place. The My Neighbourhood forums give residents the opportunity to have a say in their community, influence decisions on how money is spent and share their ideas for local improvements.
Each forum has a Neighbourhood Plan which is produced directly from consultation with residents and forums have an allocation of money to support the improvements in each area.
A cross-party working group was created to conduct the review to help ensure that the forums are working as efficiently and as inclusively as they can while helping the Council achieve its vision of being a council that is recognised as being innovative, forward thinking and financial self-sufficient, whilst putting people at the heart of everything they do.
Plans for a youth council and youth ambassador scheme are also in the pipeline to enhance Council inclusiveness across the Borough.
Councillor Matthew Tomlinson, Cabinet Member for Finance, Property and Assets said, “Making key decisions as an administration is an important task, and we want to make sure we get it right. This is why we have brought public and partner consultations right to the top of our agenda.
“Where we can, we will strive to make sure that our communities have their say on all decisions that may affect them. Going forward, we are looking to implement a full consultation strategy and since we came into administration, major consultations have been launched to gather views on key decisions.”
One of these consultations relates to the future use of Worden Hall, the historic centrepiece to the much loved Worden Park.
The previous administration of the Council commissioned a consultant’s report to look at potential options for bringing the building back into use, but then a made the decision to take the Hall to market before the consultant’s report had been received.
The administration thought it was only right to firstly get the views from a wide a range of people as possible before we move on to taking any final decision on the potential uses of this building.
Outcomes of this consultation are set to be shared in October.
Another key consultation relates to the Council Tax Support scheme.
Under the Council’s current scheme all working age households have to pay at least £3.50 per week as a minimum payment, irrespective of the level of their income or Council Tax liability. The level of discount is based on the income of the household.
This administration is dedicated to reducing the financial burden on the most vulnerable in the borough and have released plans for consultation which could see changes to the Council Tax Support scheme making it more supportive for those on the lowest income – removal of the current £3.50 per week charge.
A happier and healthier community
Councillor Mick Titherington, Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Leisure said: “We believe a community which is safe, treated fairly, financially self -sufficient and able to have active and healthy lifestyles will flourish. That’s exactly what we’re setting out to achieve.
“Since coming into administration in May we have opened our first ‘Green Link’, which will sit as part of a whopping 7km of improvements to Green spaces and connectivity across the borough. We are have also instigated a number of play-area improvements to ensure our young people have safe and dynamic areas to play in and be active, while developing options for improvements to the borough’s leisure centres.”
The new administration recognise there are challenges faced by those in the borough and are adamant that people should not suffer through hardship alone.
This summer the Council, working with Key Unlocking Futures have helped families who are struggling to make ends meet, providing healthy meals for younger people during their summer holidays.
Councillor Titherington continues: ““In this day and age it’s disgrace that there are families within our community who are unable to make ends meet through no fault of their own.
“As a Council, we understand there are issues which need to be addressed and we are determined to ensure that all children across our borough get the vital resources they need.
“We are working tirelessly with our partners to ensure that schemes such as this will no longer be needed in our community.”
Provision of affordable housing built with our values in mind, in the right way and most importantly in the right places, are also vital for a flourishing community.
Councillor Bill Evans, Cabinet Member for Planning, Regeneration and City Deal said:
“Building affordable homes is vital, but it has to be done in the right way.
“Earlier this year, this administration made the decision to not build on two much loved green spaces in our borough, Bent Lane and Balcarres Green. We are now looking at options for both sites, and in the case of Bent Lane, we’re working with residents to help them create a Dementia Friendly Garden.”
The administration are looking at the affordable homes offer in the borough and have plans for the first time since the 1990’s for the Council to manage its own affordable housing stock.
Councillor Evans continued: “We’re going to build homes in the right places and in the right way. Our residents deserve safe and beautiful homes, which have minimal environmental impact built with our values in mind. We’ll work with developers to ensure that properties built in the borough allow those residents to maintain happy and healthy lifestyles.”
Dedicated to doing our part to save the environment
In July, the Council pledged to be Carbon Neutral by 2030. An ambitious goal, but one the new administration is dedicated to achieve.
A standing working group has been created which will deliver and monitor the Carbon Neutral pledge going forward.
Councillor Susan Jones, Cabinet Member for Environment said; “We have a duty to all of our residents to ensure they can live happily and safely in South Ribble and this is just the start.
“We have set a goal to be carbon neutral by 2030 but we can’t do this alone. We all have a part to play and we need the help and support from all across the community; our businesses and our residents. Saving the environment is a responsibility for all of us and only by working together we can make a difference.”
Already the new administration has pledged to plant 110,000 trees in the borough – one for every resident – and have implemented provision for electric vehicle charging at the Council’s Civic Centre and Depot with plans to roll this out more widely.
Also the Civic Car, used by the Mayor and Mayoress, is set to be replaced by a hybrid low-emissions vehicle to reduce the impact on the environment.
In tackling the over use of dangerous single use plastics, the Council are working towards removing them from the Council’s operations and our supply chain and will be working with local schools and business partners to encourage them to join us on our journey towards Carbon Neutral.
A positive future – launch of a new four year corporate plan
Councillor Paul Foster, Leader of South Ribble Borough Council said: “I’m so proud of what has been achieved over our first couple of months. We’ve hit the ground running and we are determined to serve our residents with honesty and integrity, allowing the borough to flourish with happy and healthy residents in a safer and fairer community.
“This is just the start of an exciting journey. We’ve launched our four year corporate plan and we are determined to deliver.
“Our community can be assured that they have a dedicated administration and passionate and hardworking Council staff who are looking forward to the projects ahead.”
Key outcomes the Council will deliver:
Health, Wellbeing and Safety – focussed on doing what we can so that everyone in South Ribble has the choice to access support, advice and activities to maintain and improve their physical and mental wellbeing.
Excellence, Investment and Financial Sustainability – We want you to feel confident that we use our resources to provide service you’ve told us you need and make sure we manage our finances well so that we can invest in the community.
Place, Homes and Environment – We’re focussed on ensuring South Ribble remains a great place to live and work. We’ll protect green and open spaces, safeguard or environment and increase the number of affordable housing – making sure development is managed.
Our people and communities – We want to support communities to shape what we do, to take part in active democracy and to ensure they are involved in decision making and leading activities they want to provide.
Councillor Paul Foster, Leader of South Ribble Borough Council said: “I hope you agree that the plan we have set out is exciting and ambitious and sets out clearly what we say we will deliver as well as setting our focus for the next four years.
“We hope that you will come on this exciting new journey with us and I welcome the opportunity to work with everyone over the coming years to bring our exciting and ambitious plans to life.”
The new Corporate Plan is set to be approved at Full Council on Wednesday 25 September 2019 with the draft available to view from Wednesday 18 September.