2. Authorise the Chief Executive to make any minor wording changes required to the final draft, in consultation with the Deputy Leader.
A) To approve the 2020-25 Business Plan at Appendix A to the report (with the Action Plan primarily focused on delivery 2021-22); and
B) Authorise the Chief Executive to make any minor wording changes required to the final draft, in consultation with the Deputy Leader, including the percentage of total homes built that will be Council houses over the coming year.
Council considered the 2020-25 Business Plan. Councillor Neil Gough, Deputy Leader and Lead Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Transport and for Transformation and Projects, presented a report. He highlighted the fact that delivery of actions was in the context of the pandemic, and moved the recommendations as set out.
Councillor Peter McDonald, Leader Cabinet Member for Business Recovery and Skills, seconded the motion. He said the allocation of grants to businesses had been done effectively and had provided a lifeline to businesses. He said the council was one of the best performing councils in the county and that it had passed the threshold to secure future Government grants. He thanked all officers involved for their support for ensuring rapid deployment of grants.
Councillor John Williams, Lead Cabinet Member for Finance, said he supported this strong business plan and that the council needed a strong financial base. He referred to progress over the last three years and the income from investment and business rates. He said the council had delivered a sound financial base for this business plan and commended colleauges and officers for their work to produce it.
Councillor Bill Handley, Lead Cabinet Member for Community Resilience, Health and Wellbeing, said the communities team had worked extremely hard in delivering much of the work arising from Covid-19. He commended the fantastic service they had given.
Councillor John Batchelor, Lead Cabinet Member for Housing, said he had taken on the housing portfolio only recently, but had been impressed. He highlighted the fact that from its significant housing asset base the council still provided affordable housing and support for tenants. He welcomed the measures being taken to green the housing stock, including a trial with Southampton University. The words “Green to our Core” were apt, as the council had been recognised in the public sector transformation awards. He highlighted the dedicated officer role for climate change which had been set up, and a number of other initiatives and the aspiration of the council to conduct air quality monitoring through the district.
Councillor Deborah Roberts said it was the government to whom people should be grateful, for providing the money to councils to help people through the pandemic. She referred to the history of her having fought to keep housing under the authority’s control, which she said the current administration was now taking the credit for. She referred also to risks of a fall in value of the commercial property investments the council was making, which she considered was being conducted without transparency and openness, and to the need for the authority’s accounts to be audited.
Councillor Grenville Chamberlain said the Business Plan contained much that was good, but investment in commercial property was risky. There was in his view no doubt the market was debating whether to reduce space requirements, with break clauses for some in the future. He had grave concerns at the prospect of such investments.
Councillor Grenville Chamberlain referred to the liaison meetings being run to minimise disruption ... view the full minutes text for item 15
(a) Recommended the proposed 2020-25 Business Plan at Appendix A (with the Action Plan primarily focused on delivery 2021-22) to Council for approval, with any amendments as required.
(b) Authorised the Chief Executive to make any minor wording changes required to final drafts, in consultation with the Deputy Leader.
Please note that recommendations to Council are not subject to call in.
The Cabinet received the Business Plan for 2021-2022. The Deputy Leader, Councillor Neil Gough introduced the report, thanking Officers for their work with updating the plan, and key areas of focus for the Council, notably the continued progress of the local plan, along with the ongoing implications of the previous year.
The Deputy Leader (Statutory), Councillor Dr. Aidan Van de Weyer, noted the continuity with the updated business plan and continued focus of the council’s priorities.
After a further discussion, Cabinet:
a) Recommended the proposed 2020-25 Business Plan at Appendix A (with the Action Plan primarily focused on delivery 2021-22) to Council for approval, with any amendments as required.
b) Authorised the Chief Executive to make any minor wording changes required to final drafts, in consultation with the Deputy Leader.
Report to follow.
The Deputy Leader (non-statutory) presented the proposed 2020-25 Business Plan.
The Deputy Leader would discuss with the Head of Transformation, the potential for a forum for lessons learned regarding new developments.
Committee members commented that the business plan was very clear.