WLDC - Making council sustainable

I am responding to put right some factual inaccuracies in Guy Grainger’s letter published on 8th April.

I would firstly like to reassure Mr Grainger that feedback from engagement with the public and other facts that I expand on are not one which reflects that the Council is in chaos, indeed national representation as a progressive council are reasons we have been given an additional £200,000 for housing growth on brownfield land and economic growth.

We have successfully balanced our budgets, made no cuts to services and have a strong financial position benchmarked against other councils.

The council has been informed by the district’s citizens that health is a priority. Secondly no loan has been approved to any hospital and if it was to be approved it would be subject to consultation with our Citizens Panel and a proper Business Case before any decision is made by the Council.

All councils nationally need to explore new ways of becoming sustainable when our grants are reducing each year. This is where we have worked with local residents through various forms of consultation and that feedback has both been the public’s understanding of the cuts in funding and informed the various forms of best practice. I give examples of two areas the public has shaped with regard to services five years ago were due to be cut.

On the point of leisure and culture, the Council five years ago reversed a decision to close down Trinity Arts and as a result of investment purported by the Community in their volunteering efforts reduced its running costs by over £90,000 a year and at the same time increased income and customer satisfaction.

With regard to the leisure facilities, investment and sound business management has resulted in negotiations to the present contract which has seen savings in excess £230,000.

I hope this clarifies some of Mr Grainger’s misunderstanding.

Julie Heath

Senior Communications Officer