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Council plan overview

Council Plan performance

Our latest progress and how we measure our goals

Introduction

The council plan is our strategic document that tells us what our priorities and targets are for the period 2014 to 2019. Our vision is to make South Lakeland the best place to live, work and explore. Our ambition is to have a varied economy with a skilled workforce to support, a balanced housing market to meet needs, great leisure services and a cultural offer that appeals to residents and visitors alike.

We have a strong commitment to public service and we all work together to deliver our priorities. Localism has become a strong influence on the way we work. We believe in working collaboratively with communities. By working in partnership, we believe we can achieve the right outcomes for you.

We have continued to deliver on our priorities in 2016 to 2017 on housing, on jobs, on the economy and the environment. In this year’s update we have reinforced the emphasis on:

As with the 2016 update we continue to focus on:

“Our long term ambition for 1,000 jobs and 1,000 affordable homes for rent”

We have a key commitment to enable 1,000 new affordable homes for rent in the district by 2025 and we are on target to achieve this, with 319 so far delivered. We are committed to support the creation of 1,000 new higher paid jobs in the district by 2025. Latest figures show that we are on course to achieve this ambitious target, with an estimated 302 new jobs created in South Lakeland since 2014.

The priorities will continue to be important for the next year, with our budget showing how our spending will help to achieve them. The priorities are supported by a set of projects that will be delivered over the period and each priority is supported by a set of measures that will be used to report our progress. The plan is refreshed annually to take account of any local or national changes, and we will report our progress in an annual report, which will be published by June each year.

Message from the Leader of the Council

In a recent quality-of-life survey it was highly encouraging to see the level of satisfaction of South Lakeland residents. 90% of those surveyed were satisfied with the area as a place in which to live.

South Lakeland regularly comes out in surveys as offering some of the best quality of life opportunities anywhere in the country. We were recently ranked by Halifax as the second best place in the whole of the North West to raise a family. BBC Radio Four’s programme Women’s Hour also ranked South Lakeland the number one place in the North for women to live.

In addition to terrific towns, villages and countryside, we have a healthy economy. Our unemployment rate is low and we have an enviable record for new businesses that start here and grow. One of our key objectives is to continue to attract high quality jobs to the area, and our recent partnership agreement with two neighbouring councils will enhance our ability to do so.

Unsurprisingly, people want to live here and we need to ensure houses are built that local residents can afford. We have a core commitment to support the creation of affordable homes to rent for our residents and future generations, we have enabled 342 new affordable homes for rent since 2014. I am confident that with the plans we have in place, we will easily meet our target of 1,000 new affordable houses to rent by 2025.

Ours is a wonderful environment and we want to maintain it. We are proud of being environmentally friendly. We have introduced plastic and cardboard kerbside recycling collection services right across the district to over 98% of the houses. We have reduced our carbon footprint and we have put solar panels on our headquarters.

I believe we, as a council, must work closely with parish and town councils, as well as with local community groups. Indeed, we believe strongly in localism. We have spent almost £1m on around 70 locally sponsored community projects, that’s everything from broadband connectivity to providing disabled toilets, improving footpaths and funding village hall improvements.

I am particularly proud of the work done in collaboration with local communities to build and enhance playgounds: at Hallgarth, Sandylands, Oxenholme, Rinkfield, Flookburgh, and Rothay Park. These playgrounds, together with the proposed work in Millerground and Nobles Rest will hopefully be enjoyed for many generations to come. I believe that by working together we have achieved a lot. However, as you will read in this plan, there is so much we still want to do.

This council plan is testimony to the hard work, dedication and future vision of so many people; community groups, members of staff, councillors at all levels and of all colours, and so many more beyond. I am fantastically proud to be a part of this plan for our future, as I hope you are.

Message from the Chief Executive of the Council

The council plan sets out the vision, strategy and actions that South Lakeland District Council will undertake, on your behalf, to ensure that improved prosperity has a positive benefit for every part of our community.

We will continue to use our leadership and influence in the places that matter, to leverage resources where they are needed most.

The functioning economic geography that exists around South Lakeland and Morecambe Bay, is part of our wider connection to the UK Industrial geography and its sectors, and is equally as important to the businesses that operate in South Lakeland itself.

There are many opportunities that exist in South Lakeland to influence our future success. For example, our levels of education and levels of qualifications are significantly better than the national averages, yet our Cumbrian Local Enterprise Partnership reports a skills shortage. It’s not that our people are not skilled or qualified, it’s just that there may not be enough of them in the future to sustain our economic need and ambitions, therefore we need to attract and retain people to the area.

The number of people in employment and the jobs available per person in South Lakeland is significantly better than UK averages. However many of those jobs and salaries pay less than half of the national average.

There are significant issues regards access to affordable housing. Houses in some parts of South Lakeland cost twelve times the annual household income levels. There are over 6,000 people on the social housing waiting list.

The number of children aged 0-14 have reduced by 7% against a national increase of 6%. Across all working age ranges, we show stagnation or reduction against national averages.

Add to these the ability to access decent broadband, schools, hospitals, shops and leisure facilities in a mainly rural area and the focus on solving the local issues comes sharply into view.

Our vision remains the same, to make South Lakeland the best place to live, work and explore, and we will endeavour to deliver this vision and the opportunities it will provide, and we will face the challenges even when they may be difficult.

I hope you enjoy reading your council plan and we welcome your feedback, comments and suggestions for improvement.