Decisions made at Executive meeting – 12 February 2018Published Tuesday 13 February 2018
The outcomes of items considered at Harborough District Council’s Executive meeting on Monday 12 February 2018 are as follows:
Councillors recommended Harborough District Council’s Corporate Plan and Corporate Delivery Plan for approval. The Corporate Plan for 2018/19 to 2020/21 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 sets out the Council’s strategic objectives and how these will be implemented and measured 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 new council priorities have been identified for the 2018/19 – 2020/21 period which underpin both the Corporate Plan and the Corporate Delivery Plan. These are:
- The Place: An enterprising, vibrant place
- The People: A healthy, inclusive and engaged community
- Your Council: Innovative, proactive and efficient
Harborough District Council’s budget and spending priorities for the year ahead – as well as its share of the Council Tax – have been recommended for approval. The Council said it is continuing to respond proactively to further reductions of nearly a quarter of a million pounds in Central Government funding in 2018/19 alongside other reductions in external funding. This is on top of £1.9million of reduced funding from Central Government since 2014/15. Despite reductions in funding, the Council plans further investment in the services residents value and will recommend savings and income generation of more than £660,000 over the coming year. Harborough District Council is proposing an increase of 1.5 per cent for 2018/19 (£2.48 for a Band D property) for its share of Council Tax. This is still less than that paid by Harborough district residents in 2011/12 and half of the 3 per cent that the Government would allow without need for a local referendum. Council Tax is made up of a number of charges made by separate authorities including Leicestershire County Council, Combined Fire Authority, Police and Crime Commissioner, Harborough District Council and Parish Councils. Harborough Councillors say the proposed increase in its share still represents excellent value for money with improvements planned to online services to help residents order and pay for services outside of business hours. The Council is planning major investment in the Council’s leisure assets with a new leisure centre in Market Harborough – replacing the existing building – and a refurbishment of Lutterworth Sports Centre. There will also be £500,000 for disabled facilities grants to allow people to remain in their homes and further development of much-needed housing on the Council’s vacant garage sites. Work also continues towards an adopted Local Plan later this year which will manage future development in the district until 2031. A public consultation on the Council’s budget closed last week.
The Executive has recommended that the Council adopts its Economic Development Strategy which sets out the economic development priorities for the next five years. It outlines economic opportunities for the Harborough district as well as the strengths, threats, weaknesses and the challenges the district will face.
Councillors approved the Market Harborough Transport Strategy which could see a number of transport improvement schemes developed as funding becomes available. Councillors noted some of the feedback received about the Transport Strategy following a consultation held last year. The Market Harborough Transport Strategy will help to support the planned future growth of the town, and place Harborough District Council and Leicestershire County Council in a strong position to secure public and private funding for the transport improvements necessary to support growth – including around 2,700 new homes up to 2031. Recommendations of the Study include improvements to encourage walking and cycling, junction improvements to tackle congestion, and the possibility of more significant changes to traffic movement, potentially including a southern relief road linking Northampton Road (A508) with Harborough Road (A6) as a long term aspiration, increasing the height of the Rockingham Road rail bridge subject to funding becoming available; and the reclassification of Welland Park Road and Coventry Road.
Councillors agreed that, following an independent examiner’s recommended changes, the Houghton on the Hill neighbourhood plan should proceed to a referendum – to be held in the village on 29 March 2018 – to decide if it is adopted. A neighbourhood plan cannot prevent otherwise sustainable or appropriate development; however neighbourhood plans can help communities choose where they want new homes, shops and offices to be built, and what new buildings should look like. When ‘made’, they are an important document when considering applications for planning permission.
Councillors agreed that a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) could be used to acquire land which is needed to enable the proposed development of a key strategic area for development, including housing, employment and supporting infrastructure known as the East of Lutterworth Strategic Development Area (SDA). The East of Lutterworth SDA is a key element of the Harborough Local Plan 2011 to 2031 Proposed Submission Plan. A Compulsory Purchase Order is a legal function in the UK that allows certain organisations to obtain land or property if it is considered a public requirement. The use of a CPO is subject to the development site being allocated in the adopted Harborough Local Plan, the granting of future outline planning permission for the site, and a further report confirming the CPO is justified.
Councillors approved a move to join forces in partnership with Blaby District Council to create a more competitive building control service. It is hoped the partnership will be an opportunity to provide a more robust and resilient building control service, that is able to operate more effectively in an increasingly competitive market. The council’s building control team is responsible for building safety inspections, checking structural plans for development, advising on how to comply with regulations and carrying out regular site inspection visits. The team carries out statutory and commercial work. Harborough District Council has successfully entered into partnerships relating to other services in recent years resulting in savings, shared knowledge, and more efficient ways of working.
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