The Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder presented the fourth quarter Council Plan Performance Monitoring Report 2018/19 which set out the Council Plan Priorities and Measures of Success. The measures listed, details of which were set out within the report, were showing very good performance and demonstrated that South Lakeland was a very desirable place to live, work and explore.
The report also included the latest Strategic Risk Register. Out of a total number of 15 risks, six were currently above the Council’s tolerance but were, however, being managed effectively.
In presenting the report, the Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder informed Members that the report had also been considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 26 April 2019. He confirmed the Council’s commitment to deliver on its promises, being on track to deliver 1,000 affordable homes to rent by 2025, with the provision to date of 464 affordable homes to rent. He also reported that there had been the creation of new jobs and business start-ups. He also drew attention to the reduction in empty homes, the target of 70 per year having been exceeded in 2018/19. The Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder emphasised how seriously the Council took the need to set an example and reduce its carbon footprint and the need to work collaboratively with other authorities to mitigate Climate Change, referring to a review of the Council’s buildings and proposals for the installation of solar panels. In closing, he announced that both he and the Climate Emergency and Localism Portfolio Holder planned further meetings with the public on the issue of Climate Change and he encouraged Shadow Cabinet Members to take part.
The Deputy Leader and Housing and Innovation Portfolio Holder made reference to the Measures of Success in relation to Housing, namely with regard to the number of homeless households living in temporary accommodation to be no more than 20 at any one time, the target for which was currently under pressure. He informed Members that the reasons for this were identified within the draft South Lakeland District Council Homelessness Strategy 2019-2024 which was due to be considered later on in the meeting, however, indicated that the Council was carefully monitoring the situation and seeking to keep the figures within target. He added that significant pressures were being faced nationally in this regard.
Discussion took place on the Climate Change emergency and on the need to maintain a focus on reality, with the Council setting out clear objectives and promoting understanding. The Climate Emergency and Localism Portfolio Holder indicated that her aim in this regard was for more collaborative working and the encouragement of youth involvement.
The issue of contagious disease of trees, predominantly Ash dieback, was raised, and the potential catastrophic result on the visual appearance of South Lakeland and the nation as a whole. The Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder undertook to raise the matter with officers. This further raised the question of the importation of firewood from Eastern Europe, as well as the sustainability of the use of wood pellets as biomass fuel.
Discussion turned to Government policy on the banning of gas appliances in new homes from 2025 in order to help tackle Climate Change. The Climate Emergency and Localism Portfolio Holder encouraged Shadow Cabinet Members to lobby Government regarding statutory expectations on developers in this regard. The Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder suggested that arrangements be made for a meeting of all Members to discuss the topic.
A query was raised in relation to a request made at the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting on 26 April 2019 for provision to Members of the Committee of details of in which sectors new jobs within the District had been created. It was confirmed that this information would be circulated to all Members in due course.
Information was sought around housing and homelessness, for example what constituted the terms “local” or “families or couples”, changes to the Town View Fields Hostel, the situation with regard to rough sleeping in South Lakeland and publicity around the Council’s “no second night out” policy. The Deputy Leader and Housing and Innovation Portfolio Holder suggested that he would be happy to meet up with Members to discuss and to work up a presentation for all Members, as well as to make arrangements for councillors to visit Town View Fields Hostel.
RESOLVED – That the following be noted:-
(1) the Summary of Performance as detailed within the report; and
(2) the detailed risks information contained within Appendix 1 to the report.
Reasons for Decision
The report links directly to the Council Plan commitment to ensure that the Council is equipped to provide the best, most cost-effective services. Details regarding performance monitoring are published in line with the Council’s Performance Management Framework.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
None – The purpose of the report is to receive a performance update. Council must note successes, monitor progress and take action where appropriate.