Agenda item

Leader's and Portfolio Holders' Updates


The Leader and Portfolio Holders gave brief updates on current issues not reported elsewhere on the agenda:

·         The government had declined to extend the regulations enabling remote meetings to take place, therefore after 7 May councillors would need to attend meetings in person, in the Council Chamber. There were concerns over the potential health risks for councillors and officers, and therefore the Annual Council was being brought forward to 27 April, and as much business as possible was being directed to the scheduled Council meeting on 20 April.

·         The government was running a consultation on the future of the New Homes Bonus, and the council would be submitting a response which would highlight the shortcomings in the underlying assumptions of the proposals.

·         A Transport Projects Officer had been recruited to the Sustainability Team to help develop the council’s work on reducing carbon emissions and promoting active and sustainable travel.

·         The Chairman of Waverley’s Tenants Panel, Terry Daubney, had joined the National Housing Ombudsman’s Resident Panel, so Waverley now had two representatives on that panel. They would also be part of Waverley’s new housing complaints group.

·         The Tenants Panel had held an on-line open meeting, with more than 30 tenants attending, who gave constructive and some critical feedback to officers. The Head of Housing Operations had prepared a leaflet which would sent to all tenants concerning the repairs and maintenance service. The Housing Team and contractors took the complaints very seriously and were working hard to meeting tenants’ expectations of service.

·         The Brightwells Yard development in Farnham remained on track to open in September, with M&S possibly opening a little earlier. A very positive meeting had been held with Reel about the plans for the cinema which was due to open in December. Crest were changing the energy system for the flats from gas boilers to electric, and would be installing solar panels on the roofs. Crest had started marketing the flats and selling off plan.

·         The consultation on the proposed Public Space Protection Order would close on Friday. There had been positive feedback so far, although there was some debate around the exact wording. Any further comments would be welcomed.

·         Leisure Centres were on track to re-open on 12 April, subject to final confirmation from the government on 5 April. Outdoor pitches were open at The Edge and the Leisure Team had put together a full programme of activities for the Easter break, both online and the outdoors. Final arrangements were in place for the launch of the Godalming Park Run at Broadwater Park.

·         Careline continued to provide invaluable peace of mind to residents and their families. There were 1,660 clients in Waverley and in January 2021, 2,260 calls were received with an ambulance despatched on 45 occasions as a result. In February, 1,910 calls were received, of which 49 required ambulance assistance.

·         Threats to cyber-security continued to be a challenge for organisations, and the council was very serious about its responsibilities to protect IT systems and residents’ data.