To consider an update to the Council Plan 2021-2026, for adoption, as part of the Policy Framework.
The Council Plan sets out the Council’s vision and priorities, forms part of a suite of corporate documents and is linked closely to the Medium Term Financial Plan. These documents form part of the Council’s Policy Framework and underpin the Council’s approach to prioritisation and community leadership. The Council Plan is for the period 2021-2026 and sets out the Council’s long term vision and priorities, providing strategic direction for other plans and strategies.
Councillor Jonathon Brook, Deputy Leader and Housing and Innovation Portfolio Holder informed Members that the Council Plan was considered by Council every year, with the last major rewrite in 2018. The Deputy Leader highlighted the impact of Covid-19, Brexit, the carbon reduction target set by the Council, the impact of potential Local Government reorganisation and emphasised the need for refocusing as a result.
The Council Plan contained a number of key changes as a result of the ongoing pandemic, the climate emergency and Local Government Reorganisation which were:-
· A greater emphasis on strategic alignment in the context of Morecambe Bay – expanding the areas of cooperation;
· Giving additional impetus to the progress made on the Council’s approach to sustainability and climate change; and
· A Greater emphasis on fairness and reducing disadvantage and inequalities – working on personal financial resilience.
The vision, as stated in the revised Council Plan, was, “Working together to make South Lakeland the best place to live, work and explore”. To achieve the vision, the Council’s areas of focus were:-
· Working across boundaries – Delivering sustainable regional growth across Morecambe Bay;
· Delivering a balanced community – A South Lakeland for all ages;
· Delivering a fairer South Lakeland – A South Lakeland for everyone; and
· Addressing the Climate Emergency – A Carbon Neutral South Lakeland.
Councillor Brook praised the vision of the Council Plan and emphasised the need for change and desire to build on the positive work done to update the Council Plan. He informed Members that details of the consultation could be found at Section 4 of the report and highlighted the comments made by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, which linked to the housing needs of younger people, the positive impact of older people on community groups, the local economy and charities as well as the needs of older people in the community. Further comments from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee related to the need to focus on poverty clusters across the area, Local Government Reform, Climate Change and improving mental health and wellbeing.
In concluding his report, Councillor Brook thanked officers for their dedication and hard work and reiterated the importance of the Council Plan as a living document to the Councils short and long term goals.
Councillor Brook moved the recommendations contained within the report and was seconded by Councillor Dyan Jones, Climate Emergency and Localism Portfolio Holder.
During discussion on the Council Plan, Councillor Archibald commended councillors and officers for their work on the Council Plan and highlighted that the document encapsulated the Councils vision to deliver excellence. He added that he was proud that discussions on alleviating poverty, tackling biodiversity loss and climate change were now at the heart of Council activity. Other issues raised in discussion included Member support for the Council Plan, the importance of the document in providing and promoting affordable social housing, addressing social inequality exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic and tackling climate change. In addition to support for the Council Plan, Members expressed concern over the focus on the Morecambe Bay area.
A request having been made by the requisite number of eight Councillors, the following vote was recorded in accordance with Rule 15.5 of the Council’s Rules of Procedure:-
The following Members voted in favour (30) – Councillors Giles Archibald, Robin Ashcroft, Rupert Audland, Jonathan Brook, Helen Chaffey, Stephen Coleman, Tracey Coward, Phillip Dixon, Judy Filmore, Gill Gardner, Eamonn Hennessy, Hazel Hodgson, Chris Hogg, Rachael Hogg, Andrew Jarvis, Dyan Jones, Helen Ladhams, Malcolm Lamb, Susanne Long, Pete McSweeney, Ian Mitchell, Jon Owen, Suzie Pye, Doug Rathbone, Matt Severn, Peter Thornton, David Webster, Ian Wharton, Janet Willis and Mark Wilson.
There were no votes against.
The following Members abstained (14) – Councillors Caroline Airey, Pat Bell, Ben Berry, Roger Bingham, Brian Cooper, Michael Cornah, Tom Harvey, John Holmes, Kevin Holmes, Helen Irving, Janette Jenkinson, Kevin Lancaster, Brian Rendell and Shirley-Anne Wilson.
RESOLVED – the updated South Lakeland Council Plan 2021-26 (Appendix 1) as part of the Council’s Budget and Policy Framework be adopted.