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Council leader encourages people to have their say on Council Plan
7:40am Monday 29th October 2012 in News
LAST week saw the launch of the draft borough Council Plan for 2013 to 2017. Councillor Clive Sanders, Conservative leader of Basingstoke and Deane council, details the main aims of the plan, and he encourages local people to have their say.
"ECONOMIC downturn. Double-dip recession. How often have we all heard these phrases? And, of course, it’s true – times are hard. For local authorities, Government grant has been cut by 24 per cent over the last two years. The interest the council earns on its investments, that helps to keep council tax in the borough low, has halved in the last five years.
But there is no point in complaining – we have to face up to the situation and deal with it. This is why we are concentrating on providing the right services, in the right way, at the right cost. By working differently we have made £7million in savings over the last five years whilst maintaining key services. For example, we have kept weekly bin collections, added kerbside glass collection and saved over £1m.
However, recognising times are hard for residents, by 2015 not a penny will have been added in five years to the tax you are asked to pay for the borough council. Getting fit for the current economic climate is not enough. This council’s task is to ensure you have the opportunity of a high quality of life, a good job and a prosperous future in the long term.
To keep Basingstoke and Deane as one of the premier locations to live and work in Hampshire and the M3/M4 corridors, we must have a clear vision for the future that is ambitious and creative, and then we must have the drive and determination to take action. Standing still is simply not an option. Our local economy is vital to ensure there are the jobs we need, so we will invest in revitalising key parts of the borough like Basing View to provide a strong commercial hub fit for the 21st century.
We want to renew the Top of The Town area by working with residents and traders to make it economically vibrant, in line with other parts of the town centre.
Basingstoke town centre and the Leisure Park must be improved, with new facilities like Airkix, to ensure they remain not just great places to go for residents, but a destination of choice for a much wider area, bringing in more jobs and more money to the local economy. This, in turn, will help to support the regeneration of neighbourhoods, the building of new affordable housing, and provide help to people to get on to the housing ladder to ensure everyone has the chance of a good home where they want to live.
And, we will ensure the most vulnerable in our community are not forgotten, have a safe and caring environment, and get the support they need in difficult times. But the council can’t do this alone. We need to work closely with partners and with our communities to plan and deliver what is needed locally.
The draft Council Plan sets out our priorities over the next four years and beyond, balancing immediate needs with a focus on delivering essential longer term projects, which will keep Basingstoke and Deane an exceptional borough in which to live and work. I want to know your views either through basingstoke.gov.uk/go/councilplan or by writing to me at the borough council.