Tandridge District Council’s four policy committees met this week to agree budgets and priorities for 2017/2018 and beyond.
The Community Services Committee met on Monday to approve the budget, with no reduction in services and savings of 6%. Key achievements:
- Saving £700,000 in contract costs since changing the recycling and waste contract in 2014 and increasing recycling rates from 32% to 62%.
- Keeping public toilets open and maintaining street sweeping and grass cutting.
- Budgeting to refurbish two more children’s play areas.
- Starting a parking review across Tandridge, to find a better way to balance the competing needs of shoppers, local businesses and commuters.
Tuesday’s Housing Committee also agreed its budget and met a 9% savings target, with no reduction in services. Key achievements:
- Providing and extending the Wellbeing Prescription through partnership working.
- Building 8 new council houses, with 33 in the pipeline and making improvements to existing homes.
- Across the district 122 affordable homes are currently under construction.
- Joining the government’s Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme to home up to 10 Syrian refugee households over five years.
On Wednesday the Planning Policy Committee approved a budget which included an increase of 19%. This is the only committee to have had an approved increase, to reflect the volume of work being carried out to deliver a new Local Plan. Key achievements:
- Investment in Planning Policy to deliver a robust and sound Local Plan, which will aim to support an environment where people want to live, work and visit.
- Processing planning applications more efficiently - the Council is in the top 25% of councils for processing planning applications and fourth in Surrey.
- Coming in the top 7% in England and second in Surrey for determining major planning applications.
Last night’s Resources Committee agreed an 11% reduction in its budget, without cutting services, while setting out an ambitious set of priorities for the Council over the next year. If endorsed by full Council on 23 February, by May 2018:
- A Customer First strategy will start to change the way the Council delivers services to ensure customers have easy access to the right information at the right time, while providing help for the more vulnerable or those not able to help themselves.
- Work will start to enhance town centres, with a Master Plan for Caterham and a regeneration scheme for Oxted.
- The Council will work with other organisations to put in place measures to help reduce the impact of flooding in Caterham.
- An investment strategy will be implemented to ensure the long term financial viability of the Council, without big council tax rises or drastic cuts to services.
- The viability of a lottery scheme will be explored, which will support community groups, as well as provide additional income for the Council to help fund local groups.
Councillor Martin Fisher, Leader of the Council, said:
“There is no doubt we are in challenging times, government funding is reducing and we are continuously exploring ways to generate an income to support the services we know our residents and businesses expect and value. This week our officers, working closely with councillors, have delivered plans which will make sure we remain able to support the community, particularly those who need extra help. Our auditors KPMG recently concluded the way we manage our finances ensures we take properly informed decisions and make best use of our resources to achieve planned and sustainable outcomes for the district and that we are in a good position to meet the tough financial challenges ahead.”