Report No: OAS/WS/19/012
[Councillor Mike Chester declared a non-pecuniary interest as he provides assists to the Portfolio Holder for Housing, and remained in the meeting].
[Councillors Terry Clements and Margaret Marks arrived at 5.15pm, during the consideration off this item].
The Leader of the Council, Councillor John Griffiths presented Report No: OAS/WS/19/012, which sought input into the development of the draft West Suffolk Framework 2020-2024 (Appendix A). The document was intended to succeed the West Suffolk Strategic Framework 2018-2020.
The report summarised the work which had been carried out to date on the development of the draft West Suffolk Framework 2020-2024 and sought the Committee’s views on the draft document.
Work undertaken in preparing the document had involved officers compiling information on Members’ existing and future priorities. This included analysis of the previous Strategic Framework and other council strategies, the Single Council Business case, existing business plans for council services and Ward member priorities, as shared with the Portfolio Holder for Families and Communities. Two workshops were then held on 11 and 17 September 2019, to which all Members were invited. Following the workshops, input from Members was then combined with the existing commitments and priorities, including those of partner organisations to produce the attached draft document.
The Committee was asked to note the following, that:
- The document was not comprehensive;
- It was proposed that the council’s strategic priorities remain the same;
- West Suffolk’s contribution was only part of the picture;
- The document included a new emphasis on the Environment and Rural issues; and
- The document was a draft which would be designed and formatted before final publication.
The Leader of the Council wished to thank officers for their work in developing the attached document.
The Committee considered the report in detail and asked questions to which responses were provided. In particular discussions were held on the following areas:
1) Given the evidence for the need for one bedroomed properties and bungalows, could this be made clear in housing priorities in the framework.
Members were informed that the document recognised there was an issue. However, the detail, size and type of properties to be delivered would be covered in depth in the new West Suffolk Local Plan, following the Housing Needs Assessment which would be commissioned shortly.
2) The document should highlight the work required in responding to issues arising from an ageing population, increased prevalence of dementia and disparities between areas that had been highlighted in the recent Ward reports, especially around children and educational attainment.
Members were informed that the Council recognises its commitment to work in partnership with other bodies who had lead responsibility for these issues. The final framework document would include infographics and information setting out how the council would support initiatives, which focused on prevention and early intervention.
3) The Vision and Strategic Priorities should include more reference to climate change.
Members were informed that more emphasis on climate change and the environment would be included throughout the document, in particular within the Leader’s Foreword.
4) The Strategy should include more detail on the evidence to support the priorities.
Members were informed that the updated version to be presented to Cabinet would include a range of statistics and infographics.
The Committee suggested the following amendments to the draft West Suffolk Strategic Framework document:
(1) Page 10: Bullet Point 1, - suggest sentence be reworded to read as follows:
“Encourage economic growth in West Suffolk that benefits our local economy, our workforce, our families and communities and our global and local environments, in particular by tackling climate change.”
(2) Page 10: number 3, under “during 2020-2024 we will” – suggest sentence be reworded to read as follows:
“Drive progress with partners to plan for the infrastructure needed to support our economy, including infrastructure that reduces our impact on the environment, for example, non-car transport”.
Councillor Lisa Ingwall-King commended the document, but felt the priority of protecting the environment and mitigating the impact of climate change should be integrated more fully in the document. She then tabled a paper setting out a number of suggestions for inclusion in the document (attached to this minute as Appendix 1).
The Leader thanked Councillor Lisa Ingwall-King for the tabled paper and welcomed the draft wording/suggestions, which officers would look into in more detail following the meeting and would advise him on updates to the document, where appropriate, which would then be considered by Cabinet.
It was then proposed by Councillor Richard Route, seconded by Councillor Patrick Chung, and with the vote being unanimous, it was
That subject to the approval of Cabinet and Council, the Draft West Suffolk Strategic Framework 2020-2024, attached as Appendix A to Report No: OAS/WS/19/012, be approved, inclusive of comments made during the meeting.
Cllr Lisa Ingwall-King’s Proposed Amendments to the Strategic Framework 2020-2024
Vision and strategic priorities
1. Inclusive and green growth in West Suffolk’s economy for the benefit of all our residents and UK plc.
Growth in West Suffolk’s developing circular economy for the benefit of all our residents and UK plc.
· Encourage green growth, with a focus on promoting a circular economy, in West Suffolk that benefits our local businesses, our workforce, our families and communities and our local and global economy.
· Secure improved sustainable infrastructure and facilities, which prioritise active travel and public transport (over cars), to support existing and new communities.
· Invest to future proof our towns, villages, and country side by building on their unique strengths and by mitigating and adapting to the climate crisis.
As a minimum circular economy and the encouragement of its adoption and growth needs to be added to align with the outcome of Environment and Climate Taskforce.
2. Resilient families and communities that are healthy and active living in a clean environment, with easy access to green spaces:
(Stronger words for the three bullet points would be encouraged, use similar language as for the Growth goal e.g. invest, secure..)
Only got changes for last bullet point for this goal.
· Improve our community, leisure, public open space, countryside and heritage assets so that they give maximum benefits to West Suffolk communities, biodiversity and global climate.
3. Improved provision of sustainable and affordable/appropriate housing in West Suffolk in both our towns and rural areas:
· Ensure a variety of new energy efficient/passive and affordable housing is provided in appropriate location that meets the needs of current and future generations without damaging local nor global environment and biodiversity.
· Improve the quality of housing, with particular focus on energy efficiency, and the local environment for our residents.
4th goal – Enhanced provision of healthy/resilient natural spaces, rich in biodiversity and ecosystem services that mitigate and support the adaptation to the climate crisis
· Invest in natural based solutions to mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis, with the goal of improving the resilience of the whole of West Suffolk to minimise the risks and protect our residents.
· Ensure a healthy environment that secures our natural capital for future generations and provides green spaces for all West Suffolk residents.
· Encourage and support residents, communities and businesses to reduce their ecological footprint.
 The OECD Green Growth Report defines green growth as “fostering economic growth and development, while ensuring that natural assets continue to provide the resources and environmental services on which our well-being relies”