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 Leader advised that Waverley had pledged to support between 5-10 Afghan families seeking refuge in the UK, subject to the identification of appropriate properties and detail from the Government on funding.

·         Councillor Clark provided an update on the new layout and working practices in the Council offices, including hot desking for staff and Councillors and breakout areas and meeting rooms for teams and committees.  A key focus had been to reduce the overall footprint of the building, releasing space for potential leasing.  Future joint working with Guildford Borough Council could involve shared office space and the changes would have a positive impact on any future arrangement.

·         Councillor Merryweather referred to the Council news release from 2nd September confirming that the Council had submitted a bid to acquire the Dunsfold Park site, which had been unsuccessful.  Further detail was expected soon and updates would be given when that information was received.

·         Councillor MacLeod advised that a change would be proposed to the draft Local Plan Part 2, to replace the Redcourt site with the Royal School in Hindhead and carry out a six week Regulation 19 consultation.  The new timetable would still achieve a submission to the Secretary of State by the end of the year.  The Redcourt developer had submitted an appeal, which would also be heard in December.  A grand opening for Brightwells was planned for the Spring 2022 and the developers were still securing tenants for the retail units.  A meeting of the Brightwells board would take place in early October at which point an update would be received on progress with the lettings.

·         Councillor Marriott provided an update on the work being carried out to collect, monitor and scrutinise data on the Council’s performance in the area of equalities, diversity and inclusion.  Pride in Godalming would be taking place at the end of September and attendance was encouraged.

·         Councillor Mirylees advised that the proposed funding mechanism, the Thriving Communities Commission, would be considered by Overview and Scrutiny in September with applications opening in October.

·         Councillor Rosoman updated on the urgent situation with the Afghan refugees.  She urged colleagues to lobby the Government to drive the work forward with proper funding.

·         Councillor Townsend advised that a week of sport would be taking place in September, including events and discounts paid for with Government grant funding and encouraged colleagues to promote in their areas.  A webinar would be held for local businesses on 5G at the end of September.  There would be a stall at Pride in Godalming to promote Waverley as a great place to live and work.  Feedback was being collated from the No Mow May initiative, which would inform the new grass cutting and biodiversity project.  The Leisure team had been running a number of summer projects across the Borough and a feasibility study was being carried out on Cranleigh Leisure Centre.  Godalming Park Run was due to run on 18th September.

·         Councillor Williams advised that as part of the Council’s commitment to climate change, it would be supporting World Car Free Day on 22nd September.  This would be a challenge in a rural borough with sometimes poor public transport, however the Council was keen to encourage staff and residents to do what they can on that date.  It would also be an opportunity to identify what the challenges would be going forward with moving to more sustainable forms of transport and there would be further reports on strategies to tackle these challenges in the future.

·         The Leader concluded by thanking the officers and Councillors for their work over the summer.