THE LEADER of Wychavon District Council Bradley Thomaas looks back at 2019 and forward to 2020 in a special New Year’s Message for Standard readers –
AS IN previous years, 2019 has been a year of achievements for Wychavon.
Not only did we have the sixth lowest council tax out of all the district councils in England but we also completed a number of key projects.
These include the Blake Avenue regeneration scheme in Droitwich. We also set out our plans for new football facilities in Droitwich and Evesham during the year and will be investing a further £2.5million in these facilities.
We are working on the council’s new strategy for 2020 to 2024 and will be officially adopting this in February. We are listening to partners and residents about what’s important to ensure we reflect these in our priorities and promises for the years ahead.
Climate change is an issue we will need to continue to respond to, in our own carbon emissions and encouraging wider changes in behaviours. This is why alongside our new council strategy we will also be publishing our new Intelligently Green Plan in the new year.
It will set out actions to achieve our targets of halving district wide carbon emissions by 2030, doubling the size of the low carbon economy and trebling the amount of renewable energy generation. But whilst our longer term vision is for the district to be carbon neutral as soon as possible and by 2050 at the latest, this will be achieved whilst maintaining a strong and prosperous local economy.
In our residents’ survey in the autumn, 81 per cent told us they were satisfied with their local area as a place to live and 71 per cent were satisfied with how the council runs things.
They also said levels of crime and affordable decent housing are both important and needed improving.
We will ensure our new strategy takes this on board.
We also know traffic congestion frustrates many residents which will also feature in our new strategy as part of our work to transform and revitalise our town centres.
We published our South Worcestershire Development Plan preferred options for consultation last month.
This review will result in an updated plan, taking us to 2041. Whilst not all the proposals will be popular, I commit to ensure this is a genuine consultation and all views will be taken on board.
In the last year we have recruited Wychavon’s first Urban Design officer – a dedicated resource ensuring future housing development maximises the potential for strengthening our communities whilst promoting health, wellbeing and sustainable connectivity.
So next year looks like being yet another busy year for the council as we continue in our efforts to make Wychavon an even better place to live, work and visit.
I wish you all a happy new year.
Coun Bradley Thomas
Leader of Wychavon District Council