In January the public examination into the Council’s Core Strategy was reopened by Government Inspector, Pete Drew.
Since then a great deal of work has been undertaken that has enabled the Inspector to produce a consolidated version of the Core Strategy, bringing together all the modifications made to date.
The only exception is policy CS.18 where there is some concern over the proposed wording. There is an ongoing dialog between the Inspector and the Council to agree this, all of which will be made public as soon as possible.
The council has agreed to undertake what should be its final 6 week consultation on the Inspectors preliminary indications. This consultation will be between 31 March and 12 May.
In his most recent update, the Inspector has indicated that he is minded to find the plan sound, subject to the consultation on the final modifications.
Pete Drew is targeting June 2016 to publish his final report. This would allow the Council to adopt the Core Strategy shortly thereafter.
2016/17 Financial Budget
At the recent full council meeting on 29th February members were presented with and voted on the financial budget for the year ahead.
In the last six years we have successfully managed to freeze council tax rates and in 2012/13 members even managed to reduce the level of tax paid by residents by 1%.
However, reductions in Government funding have meant that this year an increase is unavoidable. As a result members have agreed to a £5 increase for Band D properties. That represents an increase of 3.9% on your local authority council tax, which is in line with figures recommended by Central Government.
In order to maintain this low level of tax, a number of other savings have been required, particularly with further cuts in funding that are likely in the next few years.
The most significant saving has been achieved through a restructuring of the senior management team that will provide an annual saving of over £100,000. This restructure will take effect from 31st March 2016.