West Berkshire Council

Agenda item

West Berkshire Council Strategy 2015/19 Consultation Feedback Report (C2838b)

To inform Members of the feedback received from the consultation on the draft Council Strategy 2015/16.

Minutes:

The Council considered a report (Agenda Item 18) concerning the feedback received from the consultation on the Draft Council Strategy 2015/16.

MOTION: Proposed by Councillor Roger Croft and seconded by Councillor Gordon Lundie:

“That the Council

1.    Note the feedback received to the proposed Council Strategy.

2.    In response to the feedback received:

(2.1)            refer all of the comments in relation to the east of the district to the Eastern Area Vision Task Group for them to consider when formulating their new vision.

(2.2)            develop a "Delivery Plan" to support the Council Strategy 2015-2019.

(2.3)            approve a number of textual changes offering more clarity and format changes.

3.    Adopt the West Berkshire Council Strategy for 2015 - 2019 as amended following consultation.”

Councillors Croft and Lundie accepted the following amendment tabled by the Liberal Democrat Group:

“Recommendation (2.2) be amended as follows: 

‘To develop a “Delivery Plan” to support the Council Strategy 2015-2019 including incorporating appropriate actions associated with the Ofsted report published in May 2015.’”

In introducing the report Councillor Croft explained that 118 responses had been received during the consultation. The majority of the responses were submitted by members of the public. Councillor Croft noted that the Council Strategy did not cover everything that the Council did but that it highlighted areas requiring particular improvement.

Three changes were being proposed as a result of the feedback namely:

1.    comments in relation to the east of the district would be referred to the Eastern Area Vision Task Group for them to consider while renewing their vision document;

2.    a delivery plan would be developed to support the Strategy;

3.    some minor textual changes had been made to aid clarity and correct typographical errors.

Councillor Croft reported that the Council Strategy was aligned to the Conservative Manifesto. However not all the Manifesto commitments were reflected in the Strategy as it would have been improper to do so in advance of the election. Further work would be undertaken to align the documents post the May 2015 election.

Councillor Alan Macro stated that he felt that the Strategy lacked ambition especially in relation to environmental issues such as recycling rates, sustainability and climate change. He noted that green initiatives often saved money and cited the example of replacing the Council’s streetlights with LED lights. The Liberal Democrat Group also felt that the Council could have been more ambitious in respect of the affordable homes target as they were of the opinion that there was a real need for more affordable rented homes in the District.

Councillor Tim Metcalfe welcomed the document which he felt was well prepared and highlighted the breadth of work undertaken by the Council. He noted that at least a third of the consultation responses related to the resources and infrastructure in the east of the District. He was therefore delighted that more emphasis was being placed on the Eastern Area Vision Task Group and he hoped that this vision would be appropriately resourced.

Councillor Croft noted Councillor Metcalfe’s comments in relation to the Eastern Area Vision. He responded to Councillor Macro by stating that the Conservative Manifesto made reference to increasing recycling rates to 90% as opposed to the reference to 65% in the Liberal Democrat Manifesto. He also noted that the Council Strategy was clear about the target in respect of Affordable Homes.

The Substantive Motion was put to the meeting and duly RESOLVED.

The Amendment was put to the meeting and declared carried.

Supporting documents: