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Annual Plan 2020-21

Welcome to the first Somerset West and Taunton Council Annual Corporate Plan.

In October 2019, Somerset West and Taunton Council agreed an ambitious Corporate Strategy, which set out the Council’s priorities and vision for the next four years; putting people and the environment at the heart of what we do.

Little did we know back then the huge impact which the Covid-19 crisis would have across the District. Our immediate focus has been on the coordinated response to support the District during the lockdown period. As a Council, we will continue to work tirelessly to respond to these new challenges.

Across the SWT area there has been a collective effort to protect, shield and support our communities. We give grateful thanks to all key and frontline workers and volunteers that have worked tirelessly to support and protect us all. It would be wonderful to continue to harnesses the creativity, skills and resolve that we have collectively demonstrated in the early weeks and months of this new financial year.

This Plan details the key areas on which we intend to focus on during the 2020/21 year, as the lockdown lifts and we begin the journey back toward normality, in order to deliver our ambitions and ensure that the District is an even better place to live, work and visit.

At the end of the year we will publish how we have done.

Our focus for 2020/21

What success will look like:-

A low-carbon, clean, green and prosperous district that attracts high quality employment opportunities and encourages healthy lifestyle.

Our focus for 2020/21

  • The Council is acutely aware of the need to invest in our local economy to help it recover from Covid 19. There are a number of initiatives in train and none more significant than Firepool. We are working on a business case that will guarantee the delivery of a regenerated Firepool and within an accelerated period.
  • We will approve a Carbon Neutrality and Climate Resilience Action Plan for the District and progress further actions that reduce the Council's and the District's carbon footprint, supports biodiversity and increases resilience to more extreme weather events;
  • Using funding from our successful Warmer Homes Fund bid, we will commence installing improved heating systems and energy efficiency measures within 175 SWT council owned homes as well as provide advice, support and access to funding for Private Sector households to improve energy efficiency of their homes.
  • We will commence a pilot to create wild meadows initially on Council owned land in Taunton, Minehead and Wellington. Sowing will take place in late Autumn 2020.
  • Building on the extensive work that took place during 2019/20, we will produce a draft Local Plan to 2040, undertake consultation before submitting the final Plan to the Secretary of State for consideration
  • We will approach completion of our regeneration project at Coal Orchard, Taunton;
  • We will jointly commission, and complete, a Strategic Outline Business Case for the re-opening of Wellington Railway Station.
  • We will undertake works that provide a long term solution for the integrity of the harbour wall in Watchet, that enables it to meet the challenges of rising tidal levels in the future.
  • We will delver against the Economic Development Strategy including the completion of a feasibility study for an innovation centre in the District.

What success will look like:-

A Council which informs and engages openly with our stakeholders and which consistently delivers excellent customer service.

Our focus for 2020/21

  • Building on improvements introduced during 2019/20, to our housing repairs service, we will be focussing on offering our tenants a time and date for their repair, during the tenants first call with us; same day or a later date at the tenant's convenience and on improving the proportion of repairs which take place on the same day in which they were requested
  • We will improve how we engage with our residents, businesses and tenants by modernising our communications approach.
  • We will undertake elections to the Tenants Strategic Board and enable this group with Mod.gov technology to better support them to fulfil their role.
  • We will continue to review our processes in order to improve the customer experience, including making more of our services available online for those who can and wish to transact in this way.
  • We will introduce a Member Equality Group to be ambassadors for those within our communities who may be at heightened risk of discrimination, to ensure their voices are consistently given prominence in all that the Councillor does.
  • We want you to be able to follow and take part in the democratic decisions that affect you in SWT. We understand that not everyone is able to attend council meetings in person, which is why we will continue broadcasting key meetings on our website so that you can watch them online at any time, from anywhere.

What success will look like:-

A district which offers a choice of good quality homes for our residents, whatever their age and income, in communities where support is available for those who need it.

Our focus for 2020/21

  • We will complete 8 new units of social housing in Laxton Road, Taunton;
  • We will build at least 6 new modular and energy efficient homes for social rent;
  • We will commence the construction of 47 good quality, energy efficient homes as part of phase A of the North Taunton regeneration project;
  • We will increase the number of homelessness preventions within our area,
  • We will work with partners to put in place a stronger , more joined-up process for rough sleepers in our area.
  • We will continue to work with developers to facilitate the provision of additional Affordable Homes;
  • We will review our voluntary and community grants in order that they deliver value for our communities and align to the Council's priorities;
  • We will identify, and deliver, a solution that improves CCTV equipment and monitoring arrangements for Watchet and Minehead;
  • We will implement a Public Space Protection Order in order to help fight against anti-social behaviour in Taunton.

What success will look like:-

A financially self-sufficient Council which has expanded its commercial activity and generated more income in order to support service provision.

Our focus for 2020/21

  • We will continue the programme of acquiring income generating property assets which will also help support the funding of service delivery to our communities;
  • We will commence collaboration with the Somerset District Councils to deliver a more efficient, sustainable, but locally accountable, system of local Government in the county that will work better for our communities;
  • We will let further empty space within our offices at Taunton and Williton, making better use of public resources and delivering extra income to the Council;
  • We will review our land and property assets to identify further opportunities to better support the achievement of the council’s objectives (including service delivery, regeneration projects and community initiatives).

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