Performance against key priorities
A report to Telford & Wrekin Council cabinet spells out how the Council has performed in a number of key priority areas over the last year.
These focus on the services where the Council is concentrating efforts to help make the borough a better place for its residents. One of the major priorities has been to protect and create jobs in the borough by supporting and winning business.
In the last year 2017-18, new investment into the borough is creating hundreds of new jobs. Recent examples include the opening this spring of the new manufacturing plant for lightweight car component manufacturer Magna, and auto supplier PolyTec on the T54 site at The Nedge which will eventually create almost 750 new jobs and expansion by German company Craemer at Hortonwood. In the last year, the Council received 56 investment enquiries of which 31 converted into new businesses, while the borough secured eight direct foreign investments last year, with a further nine more in the pipeline. The Council’s Land Deal with Homes England and its £50 million Growth Fund to support business expansion also help support this.
Another major focus for the Council is to make sure that neighbourhoods are safe, clean and well maintained. As such one of the Council’s priorities has been tackling crime and reducing anti-social behaviour, with a strong focus on environmental enforcement. Overall in the last year there has been a 15% reduction in all forms of environmental crime.
The Council’s approach to tackle illegal traveller encampments has produced spectacular results with the number of illegal encampments in the borough falling by 89% in two years from 150 in 2015 to just 16 in 2017. It has also sought to better use its legal powers to target illegal scrap metal dealers and to do all it can to prosecute fly tippers, resulting in a six per cent fall in the number of fly tips reported. Equally, the Council is targeting rogue landlords who run sub-standard properties that can lead to a range of environmental issues, setting up a Rogue Landlord taskforce supported by a £389,000 grant.
At the same time residents in the borough are continuing to recycle in ever greater quantities, following introduction of purple top recycling bins and the new community recycling centres at Hortonwood and Halesfield which are open 362 days a year.
Overall an extra 669 tonnes of waste was recycled last year, taking the borough’s recycling rate to its highest ever level and 1 per cent up on the previous year
Another important part of the Council’s £45 million Pride in Our Community programme is investment in roads, pavements, footpaths and green spaces. The borough is ranked sixth out of 112 councils for satisfaction with highways and there is significant investment planned to help further improve the road network.
Elsewhere, the Council is seeking to boost high streets across the borough through initiatives such as its Pride in Our Community High Street Fund grants to bring empty units back into use and to revitalise high streets as leisure destinations. Recent initiatives include financial support for the Let’s Go Quackers art trail in Ironbridge, which has attracted many thousands of visitors, the Makers’ Dozen Mural Trail in Wellington, painted shutters in Dawley, and the Young High Street Challenge - a Dragon’s Den-style competition that challenged around 200 students from eight schools to come up with creative ideas to revitalise one of six borough high streets and Wellington’s Market.
The report also looks at the work the Council is doing to protect and support vulnerable children and adults, to improve people’s prospects through education and skills training, giving local people access to suitable housing and improving health and well-being of communities.
Councillor Rae Evans, cabinet member with responsibility for partnerships, said: “The report highlights that while we still have many challenges ahead such as ensuring vulnerable children and adults continue to be protected, an uncertain business climate, and as we must reduce budgets further due to cuts in Government grant, we are delivering on our priorities.
“For example we are attracting and winning business that is protecting jobs here while creating many more new posts, we getting ever tougher on environmental crimes and preventing this and we are working hard to make this a place where we can all have pride in our community.
“Yes - there is much, much more work to do, but I believe we are moving in the right direction in making our borough a great place live, work, visit and do business in.”