West Berkshire Council

Agenda item

The Draft Council Strategy 2019-2023

To present the priorities for improvement and the commitments that are planned for inclusion in the draft new Council Strategy 2019 – 2023 for public consultation.

Minutes:

Councillor Alan Law introduced the report (Agenda Item 8), which presented the priorities for improvement and the commitments that were planned for inclusion in the draft new Council Strategy 2019-2023 for public consultation.

It had been agreed at the pre-meeting for OSMC that the item would not be discussed in depth as the Strategy was about to be released for public consultation (from January until February 2019).

Councillor James Cole was concerned that housing was not featured within the Strategy as a priority. Catalin Bogos explained that the document was a working draft and would soon go out to public consultation. Councillor Law concurred with Councillor Cole and felt that reference to the key points of the Housing Strategy was required within the Council Strategy. Catalin Bogos highlighted the priority on page 91 of the report which contained the commitment to ‘Develop an Integrated Infrastructure Plan to deliver regeneration, housing, flood prevention and alleviation and travel and transport infrastructure’. Members and Officers decided that, for the new strategy, instead of focusing on individual domains of infrastructure improvement, the approach should be to ensure that planned improvement was focusing on all elements being integrated into a joined up approach. Evidence and detail behind each of the priorities would be included when the document went out for public consultation. Catalin Bogos also pointed out that ‘Planning and Housing’ was listed as Core Business in the Council Strategy framework diagram.

Councillor Cole commented that there was a great difference between urban and rural areas in the district with regards to housing. Families living in the countryside were being split up because their grown up children could not afford to live there independently and Councillor Cole felt that this issue required focus.

Councillor Law felt it was important that the detail that sat behind the Council Strategy was not lost. In his view, some of the priorities in the Housing Strategy should be included in the Council Strategy. 

Andy Day explained that the issue was that the Council Strategy was about priorities for improvement. It was not possible for the document to cover all elements as it was essentially a high level document that needed to be drafted ready for public consultation in January 2019.

Councillor Dillon supported the joined approach that would be taken by Council Services in delivering the priorities within the Council Strategy.  

Catalin Bogos stated that it was important with West Berkshire being a largely rural district, that a balance was sought between technology and protecting the environment.

Councillor Marigold Jaques suggested that the Commission be given the opportunity to view the feedback from the public consultation.

Councillor Law commended the joined up approach being undertaken to deliver the Strategy however, stressed the importance of retaining detail.

RESOLVED that

·         An opportunity for the Commission to explore the feedback from the public consultation on the Council Strategy 2019-23 and to have an overview of the measure used to monitor commitments.

·         The reference to addressing housing need was better reflected in the draft text for public consultation.

·         The Commission noted the report.

Supporting documents: