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South Kesteven District Council leader Richard Cleaver reflects on challenges of Storm Henk and looks ahead to 2024

In January it is traditional to look forward to the coming year and review our hopes and aspirations for the 12 months ahead, writes South Kesteven District Council leader Richard Cleaver (Ind).

At SKDC this month, this is being done in two ways – first we are preparing our budget which is a statement of our priorities, policies, and programme for the year ahead.

After eight months in office since the elections last year, the new administration has a very clear set of priorities to pursue which the budget should enable, including future-proofing our leisure provision; improving the condition of our housing stock; encouraging the revitalisation of Grantham town centre; increasing supply of good quality affordable homes built; clear plan to help prevent climate change; and building stronger and more active communities.

South Kesteven District Council leader Richard Cleaver
South Kesteven District Council leader Richard Cleaver

But having clear priorities doesn’t mean we overlook the importance and quality of everything else we do. Much of the success of being a council comes from doing the routine and unglamorous things well all day, every day – whether it be keeping the streets clean, collecting the bins or monitoring CCTV cameras to keep our streets and communities safe – and we are very aware of this.

Our annual budget simply reflects our priorities. It is our corporate plan which sets them, and the second way in which looking forward this month is through the adoption of a new three-year corporate plan.

A lot of work has gone into drafting this plan and this has included a full public consultation. The plan is a living document – it doesn’t sit on a shelf gathering dust.

It underpins everything we do as a council. Every single thing we do and every decision we make is measured against our corporate plan objectives. Furthermore, it is a public document and we are publicly accountable to our residents and council tax payers for delivering on it.

Can we deliver on all this? The speed and thoroughness with which we responded to Storm Henk (850 sandbags delivered, portable toilets installed, rest centres set up, vulnerable residents visited personally, emergency accommodation arranged, etc) shows how well SKDC responds to challenges and I’ve every confidence that we will address our priorities in the rest of 2024 with the same successful teamwork and determination.

Finally, please remember that your council is improved by greater public participation. If you have feedback please don’t just post it on social media, tell your local councillors about it directly! All our contact details are listed at https://moderngov.southkesteven.gov.uk/mgMemberIndex.aspx?bcr=1

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