A COMMITMENT to create 1,000 new jobs and 1,000 affordable rented homes within a decade has been re-inforced by South Lakeland District Council.
SLDC Leader Coun Peter Thornton said last night that the authority’s newly-adopted Local Plan had unlocked sites for business and housing to help create growth across the district.
Coun Thornton was speaking at a full meeting of the council as members approved the authority’s annual report for 2013/14. The report reviews activity over the last year and also stresses the council’s vision for the next 12 months.
Coun Thornton said: “Jobs, housing, recycling, town centres and our plans for the fifth year of a Council Tax freeze are the headline achievements, but there are many more.”
He said South Lakeland was at the centre of the recently-launched Strategic Economic Plan for Cumbria, and enabling jobs and growth remained the key priority.
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“What a choice to have to make. We attended them both and, of course, were hugely impressed.”
He also cited the development sites at Berners, Grange-over-Sands, and the Kendal Auction Mart as outstanding examples of what progress was being made on affordable housing.
Coun Thornton said: “Our Local Plan is helping us move towards our target of 1,000 affordable homes to rent.”
Other highlights from the annual report include: * More than four million waste collections made, 99.5 per cent on time * Successful collection of 98.39 per cent of Council Tax * Preventing 317 households from becoming homeless * Distributing £300,000 for community projects * Orders to tackle irresponsible dog-owners * Approving a new partnership to run the district’s leisure services * More controls on second homes and a reduction in long-term empty properties The report celebrates a highly successful year of events, including the visit in July by Her Majesty the Queen to Kendal, Burneside, and Bowness.
Other major events enjoyed by thousands of residents and visitors, and supported by SLDC, included: The Tour of Britain cycle race; the Comic Art Festival; and the Kendal Mountain Festival.
SLDC teams also worked in partnership with local businesses to stimulate economic growth and boost inward investment. Events held included Google Juice, the Action for Market Towns annual conference, and a South Lakeland Economic Forum.
Coun Thornton added: “Our vision is a South Lakeland where young people can expect to leave school or college, find a local job, and buy or rent a home with the proceeds of that employment.
“A South Lakeland which encourages entrepreneurs and where our elderly people can live rich lives supported by healthcare which suits their needs. We are committed to making this truly the best place to live, work, and explore.”
The report is published just weeks after an independent Quality of Life Survey, involving thousands of households, revealed increasing satisfaction with the way services are run by SLDC.
In the survey 40% of residents (up from 29% in 2012) agreed that SLDC provides value for money and 48% (up from 37%) are satisfied with the way services are run. People were most satisfied with refuse collections (78%).
Around nine-tenths of respondents (88%) also declared themselves satisfied with South Lakeland as a place to live.
The survey is undertaken every two years and is seen as a key indicator of council performance and is used to help determine authority priorities and policies.
The future strategic priorities for SLDC are: providing homes for need, enabling economic growth, improving health and wellbeing, and protecting the environment.
The full report can be viewed at: www.southlakeland.gov.uk