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Annual Plan 2021 to 2022

Welcome to the Somerset West and Taunton Council Annual Plan for 2021-22.

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.

From planning to leisure centres and environmental services to running elections there are hundreds of areas where efficient and effective work takes place every day.

So not everything we do is in the Annual Plan. What’s laid out in this plan are the major projects and initiatives that will be our focus outside of our core work.

It sets out the key actions where we will place our energy and resources over the coming 12 months, from 1 April 2021, as we bring our ambitions to life.

The Annual Plan 2021-22 also provides an update on what we achieved during the previous 12 months.

Our focus for 2021-22

  • Continue to deliver projects that work towards making ours a carbon neutral district by 2030 through our Carbon Neutral Climate Resilience Action Plan.
  • Deliver Recycle More, the expanded household recycling service, to make it easier for everyone to increase the amount they recycle.
  • Deliver a programme of creative initiatives to support the recovery and growth of our town centre businesses.
  • Complete the redevelopment of one of our prime riverside quarters, Coal Orchard in Taunton.
  • Progress individual planning applications on Firepool, for Block 1 (Firepool South, next to the Viridor building) as well as Block 3 (Firepool North next to Trenchard Way) with a view to starting work on site in late 2021 and start on site of the Digital Innovation Centre at Block 5 (Firepool North).
  • Increase opportunity for new jobs and businesses in Minehead and West Somerset by completing an employment land sites feasibility study.
  • Present a full business case to open a train station in Wellington (if given the go-ahead from the ‘Restoring Your Railway Panel’)
  • Continue to gather evidence to support the review of the Council’s Local Plan. The Local Plan is a very important set of policies that will set out how the district will develop over the next 20 years, such as where new housing will go and what we expect from developers in terms of affordable housing, infrastructure, how biodiversity will be improved and how our landscapes and heritage will be protected.
  • Keep progressing our new Garden Communities toward delivery.
  • Enable development by finding a long-term solution to manage the phosphates issue on the Somerset Levels and Moors while finding a way to unblock stalled sites as soon as possible.
  • Maximise the benefits from the decommissioning of the Hinkley Point B power station for local business and employment.
  • Complete decontamination and structural repairs at Toneworks, Wellington, to help preserve this place of significant historic interest.

  • Deliver a Customer Experience Programme to get a clearer picture of our customers and identify ways in which we can improve their experience of the Council.
  • Commence a Service Efficiency and Improvement Programme to improve our internal processes to increase productivity and efficiency.
  • Deliver a new system to manage of programmes and projects within the Council to ensure better efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Launch the newly elected Tenants’ Strategic Group.
  • Update and distribute our housing tenancy handbook and new tenant’s welcome pack.
  • We will carry on live streaming our public meetings in order to continue to make them accessible and inclusive for residents who want to participate but who are unable, or do not wish to, attend in person.
  • We will work to make the most of the talents that disabled people can bring to our workplace, with specific focus on how we can adapt to best support our current and prospective neurodivergent employees.

  • Start building 47 new low carbon Council homes and a new community facility at North Taunton.
  • Acquire planning consent and start on site at Seaward Way, Minehead for the construction of 54 zero carbon homes.
  • Complete an options appraisal for Oake. This will identify the investment needed and timescales to manage the Council’s defective non-traditional Woolaway homes in Oake, and any contribution to new affordable housing in that area.
  • Complete a Housing Strategy Demand Study which allow the Council to develop a joined-up approach to affordable housing investment focusing on where it’s most needed.
  • Deliver a Homelessness Improvement Plan designed to minimise homelessness, promote prevention and lead to reduced bed and breakfast costs.
  • Approve, and commence delivery, of an accommodation strategy to meet the housing and support needs of single homeless people within the District.
  • Improve access to social housing by replacing the county wide home finder system with a new and improved way of applying for social housing within the district.
  • Introduce at least two community pantry schemes into the District offering subsidised food for communities affected by Covid-19.
  • Review and improve the Council’s CCTV to provide a more effective service and better value for money.

  • Complete our programme of commercial property acquisitions that generate additional income.
  • Deliver an asset management plan so we can make informed decisions on the investment or disposal of our land and property assets to maximise future income.
  • Form a dedicated delivery company, owned by the Council, to deliver Town Centre Regeneration projects in addition to those brought forward by the private sector.

Annual Plan 2020-21

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

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.

Annual Plan 2020-21

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 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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