Council Plan 2019 - 23 Investing in Bassetlaw - Council Plan

Investing In Bassetlaw

  • A1 Housing brought back In house delivering Savings of £800,000 Since October 2018.
  • £450,000 Heritage Lottery funding Secured for the New Piilgrims Gallery at Bassetlaw Museum. 
  • Working with partners we have created 10,000 local job opportunities since 2012. 
  • In 2018/19 we had 1.1million visits to our Leisure Centres. 
  • We opened the Retford Enterprise Centre 2, creating 10 new multi-purpose units, supporting start-up businesses in Bassetlaw. 
  • The majority of our residents pay £2.22 per week for our services.
  • We have submitted plans to build 120 new council homes in Manton, Worksop. 
  • S80 View, our CCTV trading company, is now providing commercial CCTV services to customers. 

Following the local elections, we have prepared a new Council Plan that sets out our priorities for the next four years. We want to improve the quality of our housing and build more new Council houses for rent. We want to see investment in Bassetlaw as a place, with vibrant town centres, improved green spaces and a robust Industrial Strategy to deliver more jobs and economic growth. We want to see investment in our communities, with a focus on improving health and wellbeing, raising skills levels and supporting our most vulnerable residents. We also have a responsibility to future generations of Bassetlaw residents so we will be reducing our carbon footprint whilst developing a long-term strategy to become carbon neutral in our operations.

This Council Plan will run until 2023 and will focus on the three key themes of:

You can find out more about these themes and the actions that will underpin them on the following pages.

To deliver this Council Plan we will need to work with residents, partners and local businesses, whilst continuing to deliver financial savings. By the end of this plan, we are forecast to have saved over £10.5 million since the beginning of austerity in 2009. Despite these cuts, we remain committed to delivering the best services we can to our communities and local businesses.

We are proud of what we do and we are proud of Bassetlaw and the communities we serve.

Neil Taylor, Chief ExecutiveCouncillor Simon Greaves, Leader of the Council

 

Investing in Place 

The Council will work with its partners – Nottinghamshire County Council, the Local Enterprise Partnerships - D2N2 and the Sheffield City Region, the Private Sector, the third sector, the NHS and the Government to secure investment in the District.

We will invest in our high streets and look to their long-term future, with alternative options sought for vacant Town Centre retail sites. We will continue to improve our award winning parks and green spaces, with a new focus on planting more trees across Bassetlaw.

We will develop a new car parking strategy to ensure we have the right type of car parks in the right places, making the most of our assets. Where car parks are not well used, we will explore other uses that can provide a greater community benefit. We will work with Nottinghamshire County Council to expand car-parking provision in Retford.

As part of Government policy, coal fired power stations are being phased out as the UK reduces its dependence on fossil fuels. Bassetlaw currently has two coal fired power stations: Cottam which is scheduled for closure in September 2019 and West Burton which could also close as early as 2021. Working with the owners EDF, Nottinghamshire County Council and the Local Enterprise Partnerships. Bassetlaw will be supporting work to consider future users for these two major sites.

Over the next four years the Council will seek to bring forward investment from the Private Sector as part of innovative partnerships with Bersahill, our joint venture company with Robert Woodhead Ltd and our trading company, S80 Partnerships.

 

Our Priorities 

  1. Maximise Bassetlaw’s local offer for the 400th Anniversary of the Mayflower Pilgrims’ sailing to America.
  2. Produce a Local Industrial Strategy for Bassetlaw, which will not only map out what we want to achieve but also support Bassetlaw’s future bids for external funding.
  3. Introduce a car parking strategy for our towns to maximise asset usage and support our local economies.
  4. Work with owners of the two coal fired power station sites to maximise their potential and create positive local opportunities.*
  5. Work proactively with partners and landowners in agreeing an approach to redeveloping large- scale sites.
  6. Provide continued support to our local high streets.
  7. Develop a land and property database to improve the Council’s asset management to generate more local income.
  8. Develop a business plan for a local investment company which using the Council’s balance sheet assets would enable the Council to intervene on stalled development sites whilst also generating a financial return.
  9. Deliver on the master plan for the Canch – including developing new physical activity facilities and new public toilets. There will also be a plan for Langold Country Park.
  10. Encourage local tree planting by developing a long-term strategy on trees and their maintenance.Through the use of the planning system and by encouraging others to plant more trees in the district, we will seek to rejuvenate the Sherwood Forest area.

* This will take longer than the life of this plan as the estimated decommissioning process for the Power Stations is five years from the point of closure.

 

Investing in Housing 

Following consultation with Council Tenants in 2018, 60% of respondents supported returning the housing service to the Council. Therefore, after 14 years as an Arm’s Length Management organisation Bassetlaw’s Housing Service was brought back under Council control. Over the next four years, we want to improve the quality of our housing stock, ensure that tenants are living in a safe environment and build more council homes for local people. Working with the Private Sector through our joint venture company Bersahill, we will also look to build a number of private houses in the District.

Our new housing compliance function will ensure that all the Council’s housing services meet the legal requirements for gas, electricity and fire safety. We have already saved £800,000 since October 2018 and by reviewing all our housing contracts, we will ensure our tenants receive value for money. These savings will allow us to invest in our repairs service, improve maintenance standards and build new council houses.

Our Properties

  1. Review the Council’s housing estates and assets, including identifying any areas of deprivation and develop a plan to improve the physical appearance and image of those areas.
  2. Improve the quality and performance of Bassetlaw’s housing stock, by regularly inspecting them to ensure that they are maintained to the highest possible standards and therefore help reduce tenants’ energy bills.
  3. Agree appropriate and targeted interventions and investments to tackle the issues identified from these reviews and inspections, particularly in areas of need.
  4. Be pro-active in how we manage our neighbourhoods and support our tenants through community engagement, community safety initiatives, regulation and enforcement. The Council will also review its housing allocations policy to take account of homeless prevention and to enable our properties to be let effectively.
  5. Increase the supply and quality of new homes. We will seek to deliver our new housing requirement of around 400 new homes per year and will maximise all available S106 opportunities for new affordable housing.
  6. Deliver further value for money for our tenants by carrying out a review of the condition of the housing stock, developing a new 30 year Housing Revenue Account Business Plan, bringing contract work in-house, where appropriate, and implementing fairer charging and the Rent Standard for Social Housing providers to assist households in receipt of Universal Credit.
  7. To enable as many people as possible to live independently in their homes through the use of Better Care Funding to deliver disabled facilities adaptations and other initiatives.
  8. Ensure that our housing stock is safe and compliant in respect of gas safety, electric safety, asbestos management, fire management and legionella.
  9. Increase year on year the SAP Rating* of our stock (currently 70.5) and support the private sector in taking up energy grants e.g. warm homes on prescription over the term of the plan to combat local fuel poverty.
  10. To deliver in excess of 100 houses for sale by 2024 through the Council’s commercial partnership with Bersahill.

* The Standard Assessment Procedure is the methodology used by the Government to assess and compare the energy and environmental performance of dwellings.

 

Investing in Communities

The Council exists to support local people and improve the quality of life for our residents. We will work closely with the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) to manage the impact of Universal Credit and with third sector partners such as the local food banks who support people in need.

Bassetlaw is a rural district and we will engage with our communities on the creation of a new rural action plan, ensuring that the needs of residents and businesses in rural areas are reflected at a local and regional level.

We will continue our partnership work with the local NHS Bassetlaw Clinical Commissioning Group to ensure that residents can access services, better manage their own health and lead active lives. The Council will maintain its support for local veterans, working with the Royal British Legion and others in delivering our Armed Forces Covenant pledge.

The Council will take a leading role in ensuring that residents have the necessary skills to benefit from growth and investment into the District. Our new Skills Board will work in partnership with the Department for Work & Pensions, employers, the Business Improvement District, North Notts Place Board and others to ensure local people can reach their full potential.

Homelessness is a major issue in our society and like in many other cities and towns there has been an increase in homelessness and rough sleeping across Bassetlaw. We will work with partners to develop the Council led Project Steppingstones, which provides practical support in reducing drug and alcohol dependency and seeks to get people off the streets.

 

Our Priorities

  1. Raise the skills level and employability of people within the district by establishing a Skills Board and encouraging local businesses to take on more apprenticeships.
  2. To work collaboratively with Partners to reduce health inequalities across the district, and to improve general levels of health and well-being by encouraging healthy and active lifestyles and prioritising early preventative interventions in relation to the wider determinants of health.
  3. Local Labour Agreements – the Council will ensure developers deliver a local labour agreement on future major developments to create training and employment opportunities during the term of the development
  4. Support rural communities through our outreach network, examine further digital service improvements and support the work of local parish councils.
  5. Support local drug treatment engagement programmes to reduce dependency and turn peoples’ lives around.
  6. Increase the year on year number of homelessness preventions and a year on year decrease in the number of rough sleepers, over the term of the plan.
  7. Work with the Department for Work & Pensions, Citizens Advice, Nottinghamshire County Council and local food banks to support local people in need.
  8. Engage with local residents through “Bassetlaw Conversations” at community events, local town improvement plans, the work of the Worksop Town Commission, and the Bassetlaw Tenants’ Panel.
  9. Recruit, develop and retain local talent where the Council can in a competitive labour market. Bassetlaw has a significant apprentice scheme with 11 local participants and advertises all positions in our communities, as local people provide the backbone of the services we provide. We will also develop our staff via our policies and training commitments. Promote apprenticeship opportunities to existing staff and offer new apprenticeship positions externally, with the aim of achieving five new apprenticeships each year.
  10. Become recognised as a leader in environmental good practice both in how the Council conducts its operations, and how we assist and enable our residents and businesses to play their role too. Bassetlaw will develop a green plan to support this aspiration covering fuel poverty, insulation, green vehicle fleet and fuel efficiency, climate change, recycling and refuse, built environment (planning), water consumption, nature conservation and open spaces.

 

Financial Context

The Council has a sound track record of financial management, delivering balanced budgets each year, receiving an unqualified opinion* on our final accounts and a positive external auditor judgement on the Value for Money the Council provides.

Our Medium Term Financial Plan sets out how we will fund the operations of the Council and how we will resource our Council Plan priorities.

2019/20 will be a significant year. There will be a new government spending review, there will be a new financing system for local government, there will be a new grant distribution mechanism for councils and there may be changes within the funding arrangements different councils receive. With so much change and uncertainty in the system in the next twelve months, we will maintain a cautious financial approach until the full impact of these changes is known.

The Council is completing an equal pay and grading exercise which we aim to conclude in 2020. At the same time, we are welcoming the returning housing staff back into the Council. As the Housing Service is now the Council’s largest service area, this is a significant task, which we will aim to complete by the end of March 2020. We will continue to review all our services on a continuous basis to ensure they provide value for money and match the needs of residents and communities.

* An unqualified opinion is an independent auditor’s judgment that an organisation’s financial statements are fairly and appropriately presented, without any identified exceptions, and in compliance with generally accepted accounting principles.

 

Glossary

Bersahill - Bersahill is the Council’s joint venture company with Robert Woodhead Ltd that exists to build new housing in Bassetlaw.

BID - The North Notts BID is a non-local authority body and will be responsible for providing the Business Improvement District services across Bassetlaw. It is made up of 958 local businesses that each pay a levy based on 1% of their rateable value. The BID is run for local businesses by local businesses and is 100% business managed and controlled.

North Notts Place Board - A group of local business people who oversee the North Notts Place shaping initiative, that promotes the area as a place to visit, invest and do business in.

S80 Partnerships - S80 Partnerships is a company wholly owned by Bassetlaw District Council that exists to trade services and undertake commercial activity.

Section 106 Agreements - Section 106 (S106) Agreements are legal agreements between Local Authorities and developers; these are linked to planning permissions and can also be known as planning obligations. Section 106 agreements are drafted when it is considered that a development will have significant impacts on the local area that cannot be moderated by means of conditions attached to a planning decision.

 

 


Last Updated on Thursday, September 17, 2020