Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - OPINION -


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.

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