Decisions made at Executive meeting – 14 February 2017Published Wednesday 15 February 2017
The outcomes of items considered at Harborough District Council’s Executive meeting on Tuesday 14 February 2017 are as follows:
- Executive councillors agreed that Harborough District Council’s new Corporate Plan and Corporate Delivery Plan for 2017/18 can progress to Full Council for approval.
The Corporate Plan is an overarching public document, published annually, that sets out the council’s vision for the district, its ambitions and priorities and how it will work with its partners and the community. It ensures that living in, working in, and visiting the Harborough district is the best possible experience. The Corporate Plan is based on information about the area and customer feedback and identifies how the council will achieve its vision.
The Corporate Delivery Plan sets out the council’s strategic activities, and what these mean for communities in the district.
Three council priorities have been identified for the 2017/18 year which underpin both the Corporate Plan and the Corporate Delivery Plan. These are working with communities to develop places in which to live and be happy, enable public services which are effective and deliver value for money, and encourage a vibrant and sustainable business community intent on prosperity, employment and learning opportunities.
Cllr Blake Pain, leader of the council, said: “This [document] identifies the many successes of the council and clearly shows what we intend to achieve next year.”
- Councillors noted the publication of the recently completed Leicester and Leicestershire Housing and Economic Development Needs Assessment (HEDNA). The HEDNA – commissioned jointly by nine local authorities – has looked at a wealth of evidence, including population, household and economic growth projections, to assess the need for housing and employment land over the next 20 years. The report says there is a need for 117,900 homes in Leicester and Leicestershire between 2011 and 2036 to meet the demands of a growing population. This equates to 4,716 homes per year.
In the Harborough district the HEDNA concludes, based on objectively assessed housing need, that 514 properties per year would need to be built between 2011 and 2036, taking into account constraints such as land availability. However the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) published in 2016, demonstrates that the Harborough district has sufficient suitable land to meet this need.
Cllr Jo Brodrick, the council’s planning portfolio holder, said of the HEDNA: “This is a key piece of evidence that we need for our Local Plan.”
Councillors also approved a Joint Statement of Co-operation with other local authorities to help meet housing and employment requirements across Leicestershire. The purpose of this joint statement is to support those councils which are seeking to produce a Local Plan, and to set out how the local authorities will collaborate further to ensure that the necessary joint evidence of housing and economic need is in place to support subsequent Local Plans.
- Councillors approved a report which concludes that, following a recent geo-environmental survey and land contamination risk assessment at The Cuttings in Thurnby, the site poses a low risk. The report concludes that the area – formerly a landfill site – does not pose a “significant possibility of significant harm” and therefore does not meet the definition of ‘contaminated Land’. The risk posed to people living on the site is considered to be low because no gas flow was detected, the buildings on site have ventilated under-floor voids, and no elevated levels of carbon dioxide were detected outside of the area of the landfill. Local residents, ward members and relevant portfolio holder at the council have been kept informed throughout the investigation.
- Executive councillors agreed the proposed budget for 2017/18 should progress to Full Council for approval on 23 February. For the first time in seven years, Harborough District Council has proposed a rise to its share of the council tax bill but says the increase still represents excellent value for money and will help “futureproof” services.
The council says, despite it receiving a £750,000 reduction in Central Government funding since last year, a “pro-active” budget process means no major cuts to public services are planned for the year ahead. Instead it proposes investment into play areas, disabled facility grants, tourism, apprenticeships, community grants, homelessness prevention, flytipping, and a number of other areas. The council says the proposed council tax increase of a £5 a year (3.12%), on the average Band D property, equates to less than just 10p a week and is still lower than its council tax precept was in 2014/15.
Cllr Blake Pain said the proposed increase would help “futureproof” council services adding: “It is because we are planning for the future that we’re taking this difficult decision to increase council tax.”
Cllr Neil Bannister said that the proposed increase of £5 was fairly modest and still represented value for money.
Cllr Phil King, the council’s finance portfolio holder, said that despite the council being in a relatively strong position financially compared to other local authorities there was still uncertainty around business rates and New Homes Bonus. He added that there was “no room for complacency; we can’t take our foot off the gas in terms of seeking efficiencies and new sources of income.”
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