Newbury Town Council Strategy
INTRODUCTION / BACKGROUND
Newbury Town Council was created in 1997, around the time that the Berkshire unitary authorities were established and Newbury District Council became West Berkshire Council.
We are proud to say that since then, we have acheived a great deal for Newbury:
A high level of public service across a range of diverse activities, for example:
- We have led Newbury's celebrations for two Royal Jubilees and many other important events;
- We run beautifully-maintained Parks, Gardens and open spaces, including Victoria Park;
- We own and operate well-used play areas with modern play equipment;
- We run award-winning allotments;
- We have supported the installation of several pieces of public art;
- We instigated the provision of a new cinema in Newbury.
Responsible governance and prudent stewardship of the Council's assets and finances:
- Each year we set a precept that reflects the needs of the town and is good value for money;
- We employ a competent and valued officer team in a simple and robust staff structure;
- Our members are committed and trained;
- Our processes and policies are environmentally responsiblee and open to public scrutiny;
- We have had a diverse set of valuable town assests transferred into our ownership.
This Strategy sets out our aims and objectives, and provides the policy framework within which the elected Members make decisions and the Officer (staff) conduct their day-to-day work.
It has been developed in order to drive our short, medium and long-term goals and to inform our bedget-setting and expenditure.
It is reviewed regularly and revised as required.
THE COUNCIL'S STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES
Newbury Town Council exists to serve the citizens of Newbury. It is a catalyst for the development of activities, facilities and services within the town.
The Town Council's overall objectives are to:
SO1 Provide services responsive to the needs and aspirations of the citizens of Newbury;
SO2 Provide services that are sustainable and represent excellent value for money;
SO3 Deliver services in partnership with others where this offers best value;
SO4 Provide services that are recognisable as being deliverd by Newbury Town Council;
SO5 Provide a channel for the ciotizens of Newbury to express their needs and preferences;
SO6 Act as a facilitator for action that will improve and enhance life for everyone who lives in, works in, learns in or visits our town.
THE TOWN COUNCIL'S POLICIES
To ensure that what we do every day is always focussed on meeting our overall objectives, we have adopted specific policies to provide a clear framework for our daily work and decision-making.
Our policies are set out under six equally important Policy Area headings:
PA1 Environment and Sustainability;
PA2 Communication and Consultation;
PA3 Community Leadership;
PA4 Enhancing and Protecting the Town's Facilities;
PA5 Provision of Services;
PA6 Equality and Diversity.
This section sets out our position on each of these Policy Areas.
Policy Area 1 - Environment and Sustainability
Newbury Town Council has an important role to play in helping Newbury’s residents and businesses capture the opportunities and benefits of taking action on climate change and to promote sustainability.
With this in mind, we will:
PA1.1 Use local suppliers wherever possible;
PA1.2 Work to safeguard the vitality of the local economy, ensuring that any adverse impact on the environment and the quality of life in Newbury and its surrounding area is minimised;
PA1.3 Minimise waste created by the Council and the services we provide;
PA1.4 Recycle waste created by the Council and the services we provide wherever possible;
PA1.5 Protect and enhance public open space in the town;
PA1.6 Encourage biodiversity and habitat variety in our parks and other assets;
PA1.7 Actively pursue and encourage the use of renewable energy;
PA1.8 Encourage activities, development and transport plans that promote the health and wellbeing of, and respect for, all our citizens and visitors;
PA1.9 Work to retain and promote Newbury’s Fairtrade Town status.
Policy Area 2 - Communication and consultation
We will strive to maintain openness and transparency in our actions and decision making. We will actively seek to hear the needs and desires of people in Newbury, and will respond as quickly and as comprehensively as possible within the limits of our resources and other constraints.
In order to achieve this, we will:
PA2.1 Make ourselves available to the public by holding Saturday morning surgeries;
PA2.2 Encourage public attendance at meetings of the Council;
PA2.3 Encourage public questions at Council meetings;
PA2.4 Make our information, public meetings and records as widely accessible as possible;
PA2.5 Maintain an up-to-date public website that is informative and easy to access and use;
PA2.6 Publish and distribute a quarterly newsletter;
PA2.7 Consult on issues of significance to Newbury, using tools such as public meetings, surveys, questionnaires, petitions, etc;
PA2.8 Respond promptly to complaints and act as quickly as possible to resolve them.
Policy Area 3 - Community Leadership
We will use all the tools at our disposal to engage our community in making their own difference. We will encourage public engagement with both the Town Council and local democracy, we will work closely with other stakeholders, and we will organise and support a wide variety of ceremonial and civic occasions.
In order to achieve this, we will:
PA3.1 Ensure that our policies and actions do not exclude any sections of the community, and that our services are accessible by all citizens of the town;
PA3.2 Work closely with West Berkshire Council, the Business Improvement District (BID) and other organisations that are important to the success and wellbeing of the town and its residents;
PA3.3 Support and encourage the devolution of decision-making and service delivery to the lowest appropriate level.
PA3.4 Support Remembrance Day and other important civic events;
PA3.5 Run and sponsor Newbury’s annual Civic Award scheme;
PA3.6 Run a community grants scheme which prioritises the award of financial or other support to organisations and causes which serve wholly or mainly the residents of Newbury and have outcomes that support the delivery of our Strategy;
PA3.7 Support the Newbury Young People’s Council (NYPC);
PA3.8 Promote annual events for Local Democracy Week, in particular for young people.
Policy Area 4 - Enhancing and Protecting Town Facilities
We will enhance and preserve Newbury’s heritage, environment, community and cultural vibrancy, and we will protect the town from excessive, unsustainable and conflicting development.
In order to achieve this, we will:
PA4.1 Promote arts, leisure and sporting activities in the town through our Arts and Leisure Strategy and work programme;
PA4.2 Lobby the Local Planning Authority as appropriate;
PA4.3 Comment on all planning and licencing applications in, near, or affecting the town;
PA4.4 Promote sustainable transport, educational, and social infrastructure suitable for the town’s needs now and in the future;
PA4.5 Promote a vibrant town centre;
PA4.6 Ensure Newbury is a safe, attractive and friendly place in which to live, work, shop, learn and play;
PA4.7 Maintain the assets of the Town Council and ensure public access to them.
Policy Area 5 - Provision of Services
We will deliver well-managed services to the town, using direct labour or contractors as appropriate, and always ensure value for money while using local labour and suppliers where possible.
In order to achieve this, we will:
PA5.1 Provide efficient and customer-responsive action in all of our service areas;
PA5.2 Maintain a budget explicitly for local environmental improvement capital projects such as footway lighting, public benches, litter/dog bins, salt/grit bins, and tree planting;
PA5.3 Promote the use of the Town Hall as a venue for meetings, conferences, receptions, the celebration of weddings, etc;
PA5.4 Run regular high quality markets;
PA5.5 Provide bus shelters in appropriate locations;
PA5.6 Provide roadside salt/grit bins in appropriate locations.
Policy Area 6 - Equality and Diversity
Newbury Town Council is fully committed to equality for all and to fully recognising and embracing diversity in our community.
We therefore wholeheartedly accept our legal obligations, and will fulfil our duties and responsibilities under, and act in accordance with both the spirit and the requirements of, the Equality Act 2010, the Public Sector Equality Duty set out in it, and any other relevant legislation.
TARGETS FOR THE NEXT FIVE YEARSs (2012 - 2017)
It’s important that we make measurable progress towards achieving our overall objectives, which means in turn we need to be able to demonstrate that we are making progress towards delivering the policies set out under each of the Policy Areas.
Therefore we have set ourselves specific targets for the short and medium term, each of which relates back to one or more specific Policies.
SHORT TERM TARGETS
This is what we plan to do in the next 12 months:
TS1 Regain Quality status [PA5.1];
TS2 Produce up-to-date work programmes and forward plans for all our services, activities and assets that make best use of the Council’s human and financial resources [PA4.1, PA5.1];
TS3 Work with other stakeholders to refresh the Newbury Vision 2025, and scrutinise the detail of individual components of the Vision [PA3.2, PA4.4, PA4.5, PA4.6, PA4.7];
TS4 Publish the Town Council’s vision for enhancements to Victoria Park [PA1.5, PA1.6, PA4.1, PA4.4, PA4.5, PA4.6, PA4.7];
TS5 Progress repairs and reinstatements in Victoria Park following the damage suffered since 2010 [PA4.7];
TS6 Support and publicise the Charter and other markets [PA5.4];
TS7 Support the expansion of the market across more pedestrianised areas [PA4.5, PA5.4];
TS8 Progress enhancement works at Newtown Road Cemetery [PA4.7];
TS9 Establish beneficial uses for any vacant space within the Town Hall [PA4.7];
TS10 Keep abreast of Localism and Big Society initiatives and impacts [PA3.3];
TS11 Work to ensure effective integration of Parkway with the rest of the town [PA4.5];
TS12 Produce a detailed schedule of s106/CIL funds held and proposed spending plans [PA4.1, PA4.4, PA4.7];
TS13 Ensure effective support for Olympiad-related activities in the town [PA3.4];
TS14 Ensure appropriate celebration of 50th Anniversary of twinning with Braunfels in 2013 [PA3.4];
TS15 Review the future direction of the Town Trail and the TTSG [PA4.1, PA4.6, PA4.7];
TS16 Review the Town Council’s grant distribution process [PA3.6];
TS17 Re-energise the Fairtrade Town initiative [PA1.9];
TS18 Start using Facebook and Twitter as a means of engaging with the public [PA2.4, PA3.1].
Some things will take longer to do, so we have also set ourselves targets which we plan to achieve in the next five years:
TM1 Complete the Town Council’s vision for enhancements to Victoria Park [PA1.5, PA1.6, PA4.1, PA4.4, PA4.5, PA4.6, PA4.7];
TM2 Develop the Town Trail (subject to a review in the next 12 months) [PA4.1, PA4.5, PA4.6, PA4.7];
TM3 Lobby and work with West Berkshire Council to devolve appropriate assets and services to us [PA3.3];
TM4 Ensure that all forms of transport (pedestrians, cyclists, trains, buses and private motor vehicles) are properly catered for in the town, with a focus on sustainability [PA1.8, PA3.2, PA4.4];
TM5 Progress and encourage renewable energy projects [PA1.7];
TM6 Work with West Berkshire Council and others to introduce Local Listing in West Berkshire in order to enhance the protection of character buildings in the town [PA4.2, PA4.5, PA4.6];
TM7 Establish a regular supplier review process to ensure that non-local suppliers are used only when there is no viable local alternative [PA1.1];
TM8 Review our Strategy targets to ensure that they are measurable (including establishing baseline positions against which to measure our progress/achievement) and achievable [PA3.1, PA5.1];
TM9 Review the Newbury Town Design Statement [PA4.2, PA4.3, PA4.4, PA4.5, PA4.6].
THE LONGER TERM
We recognise that Newbury Town Council has a responsibility to look further ahead, too, and with this in mind we are committed to a number of ongoing and longer term activities:
TL1 Campaign to protect the character of the town through effective use of the Town Design Statement and by expanding Conservation Areas where appropriate [PA4.2, PA4.3, PA4.4, PA4.5, PA4.6];
TL1 Work with a wide variety of other organisations and bodies to continue to develop a vibrant community and vision for our Town Centre [PA3.2, PA4.4, PA4.5, PA4.6];
TL3 Encourage the development of low-cost (inexpensive) and Affordable (social) housing throughout the town to meet identified local needs [PA1.8, PA3.1, PA4.4];
TL4 Develop further links with other Councils (at all levels) in the locality [PA3.2];
TL5 Work in partnership with others to ensure a continuous improvement in the appearance of our town [PA3.2, PA4.2, PA4.3];
TL6 Work in partnership with others to improve the range of facilities in our town [PA3.2, PA3.3, PA4.4, PA4.5, PA4.6, PA5.6];
TL7 Encourage residents’ participation in social, recreational and sporting activities [PA1.8].
ADOPTED 16th July 2012