This year has been a year memorable for many of the wrong reasons. Here in Brighton and Hove though there has been a lot that has been positive. Here are just some of the things your council has achieved despite huge cuts from government.
On housing, we approved last week our joint venture which will deliver 1000 affordable homes, whilst hundreds of our 500 new council homes have been completed, started or given planning permission.
A new allocations policy will save money and give local people a better chance of securing a home. Rent Smart was launched to help private tenants get a better deal, and a new strategy for helping rough sleepers was launched. Clean streets and better refuse and recycling have been a priority. We’ve introduced Big Belly bins that compact waste, rolled out new garden waste wheelie bins, approved popular new recycling wheelie bins, introduced fines for littering, and brought in commercial waste collections to earn money to improve our service.
We’ve delivered an improvement in recycling rates for the first time in four years.
Air quality has started to improve, and we held our Big Conversation on the future of our city parks. A multi-million pound investment in better street lighting was agreed last week, and new textile recycling points are raising money for the community. We are working for a fairer city. Thousands helped shape our Fairness Commission, and we invested in making our local credit union stronger. We got a top rating for tackling fuel poverty and signed the Ethical Care Charter.
Our schools have continued to improve, and we grew apprenticeships by almost 20 per cent. We’ve improved our fostering service, and established a trust fund for young people leaving care. A rescue plan for the Madeira Terraces was put in place, work on the Shelter Hall got underway, the Zip Wire and the new King Alfred were given the go-ahead, part of our billion-pound seafront regeneration. Our planning service has seen a huge improvement, and we are saving money by sharing support services with neighbouring councils. Getting the basics right, protecting the vulnerable and growing the economy for all has been and will be our goal on into 2017.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Warren Morgan is the Labour leader of Brighton & Hove City Council.