A vision for the future of East Cambridgeshire aims to make the region “one of the most desirable places to live in the UK”, it was announced today.
A series of pledges designed to improve and enhance the district were outlined in a four-year corporate plan in 2015 - many of which have been achieved or will be completed in the upcoming months.
Now the progress has been laid out in a video celebrating the successes of East Cambridgeshire District Council and the improvements which have been made to the lives of local people and businesses.
A refreshed two-year corporate plan was approved by Councillors in October 2017 to support the completion of the Council’s outstanding ambitions, as well as introduce new targets for the forthcoming months and years.
Cllr Charles Roberts, Leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council, 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 place to live in the UK.”
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. 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.
Another area of innovation has been the continued provision of genuinely affordable housing, supported by the development of Community Land Trusts in Stretham and Wilburton and Swaffham Prior. With a number of new Community Land Trusts coming forward, the number of truly affordable homes owned by local communities is set to grow.
East Cambridgeshire District Council has a firm grip on homelessness prevention and since 2013 continues to spend nothing 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 Train Station. The Council also continues to provide free car parking in the city and town centres to support local businesses and the economy.
The Southern Bypass in Ely, which the Council is helping to fund, is set to be completed in 2018 and will help ease congestion. The Council is working with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority to create a new railway station for Soham.
The new Hive Leisure Centre will also open its doors in Spring 2018. 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.
Deputy Leader of the Council Cllr 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”.
The corporate plan runs up to the end of this period of administration in 2019.
The video outlining the commitments and achievements to date can be found here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChMAq1JHPPk