SSDC Leaders Report

South Somerset District Council Report 2020

 

This has been a strange year for all of us . The District Council staff have mainly been working from home since March in common with many other people, this has worked well and support is in place for any staff finding it difficult.

 

The Council response to the Pandemic has been amazing, within 7 days our distribution was up and running at Westlands .The initial supplies from Government were supplemented by us to provide more balance . Oscar Myer at Chard supplied us with 6000 ready meals which could be used to support the homeless in Hotels. The Housing team worked very hard to get people off the street and into temporary accommodation . Some of those have now gone into permanent accommodation thanks to the work done to get them Tenancy ready .

 

Business grants were sent out very quickly and extra help provided where needed. Staff across the council were redeployed to assist in areas of most need. I am rightly proud of the response from SSDC ,which of course continues.

 

We declared a Climate emergency and are working with the other councils in Somerset to move the work forward. Full details can be found on the SSDC website.

 

As many of you will know there is a Planning White paper out for consultation the council have responded and a motion was put to Full Council deploring the lack of local input in that paper.

 

The main topic we are dealing with at the moment is the Unitary debate. All four District Councils have worked together to produce a business case called Stronger Somerset. The letter from Robert Jenrick MHCLG has now been received and the submission date is 9th December. Engagement is going on and we have experts assisting us with areas we have little experience in. There is a website called Stronger Somerset where you can find lots of information on our bid. Despite the Government seemingly pulling back from full scale reorganisation it has been made clear that Somerset and two other authorities are still on the table. I met with council leaders in those other authorities last week by Zoom to discuss the way forward. It was clear that there is no real consensus among them. We are fortunate to have agreement from all four District Councils in Somerset .

 

I would like to congratulate Cllr Oliver Patrick for his outstanding win in the Parrett by-election and Cllr Dean Ruddle has joined us from the Independents and Louise Clark has rejoined the group .

 

4 Councillors have or are attending the LGA Leadership Academy at Warwick funded by the District council.

 

Cllr Val Keitc. Leader South Somerset District Council

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