Council’s Priorities Making Progress

The ten-week public consultation on South Hams District Council’s Corporate Strategy renamed, the ‘Council Plan for 2024-2028’, has closed with 1,200 residents viewing the consultation.

South Hams District Council’s Executive committee today considered changes to the Council Plan based on the public’s views. The main feedback was support for the priorities, for the Council to focus on core services such as housing vulnerable residents, and more clarity on what will be delivered.

Now work is underway to develop and finalise more detailed delivery plans which will help achieve the Council’s priorities.

The Executive also heard how it is making progress on delivering some of its core objectives.

Within its housing priority, the Council has bought 11 properties to create temporary accommodation, as well as working in partnership with Kingsbridge Town Council to develop affordable housing schemes.

A care leavers’ council tax discount scheme has been put in place and it has successfully lobbied the government for double council tax on second homes to help free up more local rentable properties. Three properties have also been provided through the Ministry of Defence to support those fleeing conflict in temporary housing.

A full weekly kerbside recycling and food waste collection has been introduced across the whole district with minimum disruption to the service. The Council is also working with organisations such as Sustainable South Hams to create community composting schemes which contribute to the wider priority of tackling climate change.

The Council can’t deliver its priorities alone, so to help it work closer with local communities and support them to deliver projects that matter the most to them, the Executive also agreed today to create a Community Development Team with responsibility for links to community groups and existing key partners such as South Hams Community Action.

The Executive also agreed an improved planning enforcement approach which aims to speed up decisions, improve communication with customers and Members, and create a clear process that is easy to understand. This is part of a wider Planning Improvement Plan which aims to provide a better service to residents.

To help with the ongoing pressures with the cost of living, the Council has not increased parking fees since March 2021. The Executive has agreed to keep parking charges the same until it can introduce a two-tier parking solution in 2024/2025 that will lessen the impact on local residents, by charging them less than visitors.

The Executive also heard about the projects that are being delivered through the UK Shared Prosperity funding (UKSPF) which are helping to meet climate and economic priorities. Over 40 agricultural businesses are being given support to diversify, a scheme helping farmers and food producers bring their products to new markets has started, and a number of exciting marine projects are being planned.

South Hams District Council’s Leader, Cllr Julian Brazil, said: “I’d first like to thank everyone who took the time to respond to the consultation on our draft aims and ambitions. We will read all your comments and take your suggestions onboard and weave them in wherever possible.

“We know there is lots still to do and we’re up for the challenge. As I have said before, we will work with all political parties, communities and our local partners to address whatever needs to be done.

“We are already making some good progress in a number of areas. Next, we will continue with the detailed delivery plans over the next few months to work out the next steps for meeting our aims and priorities.”

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