Council sets out four-year plan to transform west Cheshire

20 February 2020

A plan developed by and for communities across the borough is set to be approved today.

Cheshire West and Chester Council is presenting its new Council Plan, Play Your Part to Thrive, at its annual budget setting meeting.

The document sets out six priority challenges that the borough faces between 2020 and 2024 and how the Council, residents, businesses and partner organisations can work together to tackle them.

Cllr Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “While we call this a Council Plan, I see it as belonging to the residents of west Cheshire.

“This is your plan shaped by your views, hopes, concerns and aspirations.”

The six challenges include:
  • tackling the climate emergency
  • growing our local economy and delivering good jobs with fair wages for our residents
  • supporting children and young people to get the best start in life and achieve their full potential
  • enabling more adults to live longer, healthier and happier lives
  • making our neighbourhoods even better places to call home
  • being an efficient and empowering Council.
The Council also faces a £91 million funding gap in the next four years, caused by forecast reductions in government funding and rising demand for services, particularly those for vulnerable residents.

Cllr Gittins said: “Big challenges need big responses but the days of the Council knowing best are over.

“Our plan paints a picture of an exciting future where we will all work together to tackle shared challenges.

“That means collaboration with public sector partners, charities, businesses but most of all building deeper, stronger and broader relationships with communities.

“Our communities are a huge resource of great ideas, innovation and insight.

“We need to harness this energy for the common good.”

She added: “This plan is just the beginning. It heralds the start of a new relationship with everyone in the borough as we work with all our communities to make it happen.”

An extensive public engagement exercise about the plan was held between October and early December 2019.

This featured an interactive website, surveys, focus groups and toolkits people could use to run their own engagement sessions.

During this time there were 3,100 visits to the Council’s dedicated engagement website Participate Now, as well as more than 600 contributions and 175 people and organisations taking part in a range of events and focus groups.

Feedback from this and a separate large-scale residents’ survey has been used to shape the Council Plan and the Council is keen to continue engaging with the community as the plan progresses.

The budget proposals will support the delivery of the four-year plan and will also go before Council this evening.

These include investment of £14.1 million in adult social care and £8.5 million in children’s social care in 2020/21, which will be funded by a total council tax increase of 3.99 per cent.

This will be made up of a 2 per cent precept for adult social care and 1.99 per cent for general Council services.

The budget also proposes capital investment of £406 million in the next four years, making the most of external funding where possible. 

This will be spent on improving service delivery to help vulnerable adults and children, delivering major regeneration projects in Chester and the borough’s towns, including the first phase of Chester’s Northgate development, initiatives to tackle the climate emergency and building more than 1,000 houses.

Investment in infrastructure and technology will help the Council to make the best use of its resources to grow the economy and deliver jobs for local people.

Once approved, the new Council Plan, Play Your Part to Thrive, will be available on the Council's website.

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