Christmas Message from Cllr Tony Berry, Leader Cotswold District Council
Release date: 15 December 2018
Christmas has come early for me this year! 11th December precisely when I was elected as leader of Cotswold District Council, taking over from Cllr Mark Annett who stepped down in late September for health reasons. Mark did a brilliant job considering his battle against a significant bout of illness, and I would like to thank him for his contribution. I am delighted to report that he is continues to get better whilst still doing good work as a ward councillor.
Like Mark and his predecessor Cllr Lynden Stowe, I will strive to ensure that people across the District continue to benefit from a wide and expanding range of services that are excellent value for money, whilst maintaining a strong overall financial position.
Together with Cheltenham Borough Council, Forest of Dean and West Oxfordshire District Council, we are beginning to appreciate the advantages of co-owing the Publica Group. Most of the employees from the four partner councils transferred into this not-for-profit company just over a year ago and it is well on course to deliver even better services for local residents, whilst identifying continuing savings of over the next ten years of operation. One of the biggest plus points of this way of working is that CDC retains its independence and controls service standards, as well as being responsible for the strategy, policy and decision making for the District. The future looks very bright with Publica - all the major service areas will soon be undergoing a redesign to align more closely with customer needs, and employees will be able to harness new digital technology that improves interaction with the public at any time and in any place.
Looking back over 2018, I take pride in some of the Council's major achievements. We have made further progress on many flood alleviation projects in the District and I am pleased to tell you that we delivered 247 affordable homes during 2017/18, comfortably ahead of our goal of delivering a minimum of 150. Another tremendous milestone was that our Local Plan was adopted this year and that progress is continuing on plans for a multi-storey car park at the Waterloo in Cirencester together with a joint review of the Town Centre being carried out jointly with Cirencester Town Council.
The phenomenal success of our jointly owned environmental company Ubico Ltd continues to be a source of great pride. Yet again, thanks to the efforts of our residents, we continued to achieve very high levels of recycling (almost 60%% of all household waste is recycled, reused or composted). With Christmas just around the corner, we are urging residents to support the current seasonal campaign which encourages a wider range of 'recycling, reuse and reduce' initiatives.
Finally, on behalf of everyone at the Council, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I( would also like to thank the staff at Publica and Ubico for working so hard this year to deliver such good results for the Council.
Cllr Tony ‘Blue’ Berry
Leader Cotswold District Council