The Corporate Director Communities, Marianne Hesketh, has submitted a report. The Leader of the Council, Councillor David Henderson, the Chief Executive, Garry Payne and Marianne Hesketh will attend the meeting to present the report and respond to comments and questions from members of the committee.
The Leader of the Council (Councillor David Henderson), the Chief Executive (Garry Payne) and the Corporate Director Communities (Marianne Hesketh) attended for this item. Marianne Hesketh submitted a report.
The Strategic Narrative, agreed at Full Council on 1 December 2016, had been refreshed, primarily to reflect the council’s climate change responsibility. The principle of “working green” was to be incorporated in everything that the council did. However, Marianne Hesketh explained that there had been no fundamental changes.
The Business Plan had a slight change of focus under each of its three headings. The ‘People’ theme was more focused on empowering communities and not just health and wellbeing, the ‘Economy’ theme was more focused on town centres and ‘Place’ on climate change. Garry Payne added that the refreshed Plan was more strategic than had previously been the case; a number of the previous projects were now more appropriately included in Service Plans.
Councillor David Henderson made the point that within Lancashire, Wyre was leading on climate change, compared with other councils and that Wyre was encouraging other local authorities to respond to the climate emergency. Efforts were continuing, through the Hillhouse Enterprise Zone, to get more jobs in Wyre for local residents, to help reduce Wyre’s carbon footprint.
A number of points were raised by members of the committee and questions asked. With responses, these included:
1 In terms of measures, it would be helpful to include the number of residents employed in Wyre and the length of the daily commute.
Response – travel to work patterns were measured every ten years within the national Census.
2 The Plan stated that one of the measures of progress would be “reduction in council carbon emissions” – should this measure not be about reducing carbon emissions in Wyre as a whole?
Response – only matters over which the Council had direct control should be included (childhood obesity, for example, had been removed as a measure for this reason).
3 Current baselines were needed for, for example, the number of trees planted, so that progress could be planned and measured.
Response – noted.
4 Concern was expressed about the loss of open space within the borough, and that this should be protected in the future.
Response – the up to date Local Plan would address this issue in the future. However, the Council was not in a position to rectify historical developments, although Wyre was one of the few councils in Lancashire to be actively investing in its open spaces.
5 Anti-social behaviour was a significant issue which might be helpfully scrutinised by a task group.
Response – this was a valid point, but was a matter to be considered under the agenda item about the O&S Work Programme.
6 The revised Strategic Narrative referred to ensuring that the council’s activities were net-zero carbon by 2050. This should actually be done as soon as possible and 2050 should only be viewed as an end date.
Response – noted.
The Chairman thanked Councillor David Henderson, Garry Payne and Marianne Hesketh for presenting the revised Business Plan and for the way in which they responded to the points raised.