HOW MUCH WE HAVE ACHIEVED
CLLR ISOBEL DARBY
Leader, Chiltern District Council
REFLECTING on 2016 brings to mind just how much has been achieved in what feels
The year ended as it started with a hectic round of meetings on our Joint Local Plan consultations. Both consultations attracted huge public interest and thousands of responses. We understand what a contentious topic this is for many residents but it is process we have to undertake to consider the districts’ development needs as far ahead as 2036, and this inevitably involves tough choices. There will be further opportunity for people to give their views on the Draft Local Plan in 2017.
Over the past year, our remit to reduce costs and improve efficiency has continued. The majority of our services now operate jointly, providing streamlined and resilient provision across both Chiltern and South Bucks. A single waste team now serves across three local authorities, which includes Wycombe. We are now examining ways in which we can serve our residents and businesses more efficiently and effectively making better use of digital technology and flexible working strategies.
The Chiltern Pools leisure complex in Amersham is nearing the end of its useful life and will no longer be financially viable after 2020. We have consulted the public on what they would like to see in a new leisure and community hub, to serve all ages and all interests. More than 2,200 responses will help inform how we proceed in 2017. Other investment projects include the extension of Amersham multi-storey carpark to provide around 360 more badlyneeded parking spaces.
Our tenacious joint HS2 team continues its work to secure the best possible mitigation outcomes for communities as the fiercely-fought concept becomes a reality. This increasingly involves multi-partnership negotiations and we are committed to ensuring that this unwelcome project causes the least possible damage and disruption to both our communities and our beautiful countryside.
Alongside these projects are the many ‘day jobs’ delivered by the Council – waste collections, housing, licensing, revenues and benefits, community work , community safety – services that bring us close to our residents and give us a real feel for their needs and concerns. Local government really means local here at Chiltern.
Throughout 2016, we have continued to quietly get on with reforming the way we work for you, with a single focus in mind – doing the right thing for residents. That has involved looking at governance and, along with colleagues in South Bucks, Aylesbury Vale and Wycombe, we have sought independent analysis on what form local government should take to place us in the strongest position to serve you, our residents and businesses, in the future. Having considered all the options with our fellow districts, we are agreed that two all-purpose councils serving the north and south of the county is the best way to provide the quality services our residents demand and deserve. To that end we intend taking our case to the Department of Communities and Local Gov- ernment and await Ministerial decision.
With my best wishes to you all for a happy, healthy and peaceful 2017.