What we promised we are delivering says East Cambs Council leader Charles Roberts
PUBLISHED: 12:16 27 January 2018 | UPDATED: 12:51 27 January 2018
East Cambs Council says many of the pledges it made four years ago to improve and enhance the district have been achieved or will be completed in the coming months.
Council leader Charles Roberts said: “We have made some staggering strides forward and plan to keep up the momentum to ensure that we are one of the highest performing councils in the country creating one of the most desirable places to live in the UK.”
He said the council has a track record of maintaining a balanced budget into future years and has frozen council tax since 2013. It has also made vast improvements to frontline facilities and kept a firm grip on management of services including waste management.
“The latter will see the introduction of a second optional blue bin for residents in April,” he said. “The council will also be bringing waste services in house from April, making a considerable cost saving and allowing for a more responsive and flexible waste service.”
Cllr Roberts says another area of innovation has been the continued provision of genuinely affordable housing, supported by the development of Community Land Trusts (CLT) in Stretham and Wilburton and Swaffham Prior. With a number of new CLTs coming forward, the number of affordable homes owned by local communities is set to grow.
The leader believes the council has a “firm grip on homelessness prevention” and since 2013 have not spent any money on bed and breakfast accommodation - an area that was previously costing the council £1 million per year.
Cllr Roberts said: “One of our objectives is to make East Cambridgeshire an even better place to live. Part of this is ensuring every one of our residents has a safe place to sleep and a roof over their head.
“It is also linked to ensuring our services are second to none and we are working hard to improve the number and variety of local employment opportunities which will be boosted by our promotion of apprenticeship schemes with local businesses.”
In 2017 new car parks were opened at The Dock in Ely and at Littleport rail station and the leader says the council continues to provide free car parking in the city and town centres to support businesses and the economy.
He said he was looking forward to the opening of the southern by pass in 2018 – a project partly financed by the council- and a rail station at Soham was being worked on.
Cllr Roberts said: “The new Hive Leisure Centre will also open its doors in the spring – this is a welcome addition to the Ely Leisure Village completed in June 2017, which includes a six-screen cinema and a host of restaurants.
“The new leisure centre will have an eight-lane 25m swimming pool, learner pool with moveable floor, 120-station gym, two activity studios, a four-court sports hall as well as an outdoor 3G artificial grass pitch.”
His deputy, Councillor Anna Bailey said: “We have a can-do attitude here at East Cambridgeshire which is something I’m extremely proud of.
“The targets we set ourselves were ambitious, but we have risen to the challenge for the benefit of residents and businesses in the area.
“We have achieved a considerable amount, but there is more we want and need to do in the next few years to deliver our aspirations for the district”.