|Cllr Tony Ball, leader of Basildon Council has set out an ambitious agenda for the borough over the next four years. The Council’s mission – create opportunity for local people underpinned by five key promises was delivered by the Leader to the Annual General Meeting of the Council last night.|
Cllr Ball promised to build a firm foundation on Value for Money and what he called getting the basics right. He then set out three big inspirations that are intended to improve the local area over the next four years.
The council will redouble its efforts to support local businesses on the trade missions the Leader and Chief Executive have already been on to Portugal and China earlier this year.
He promised to transform the borough by regenerating its town centres and using its planning powers to ensure just the right amount of new development for business and new homes while protecting the cherished Green Belt.
Finally Cllr Ball pledged to work with partners such as the County Council, Police and NHS where the councils will use all its influence to demand better services for local people – in particular in the key areas of health and education.
Speaking at the AGM Cllr Ball said:
"Our country and the public sector in particular are in the eye of an almost perfect financial storm. With this the nature of local government and the way in which we must do things is changing for ever. On the one hand the new localism agenda challenges us to work with local people closer than ever before while on the other hand the financial crisis which began in 2008 and the steady decline of central government funding for councils and local areas means we have less money to provide services.
"I believe our challenge and our job as elected local members working with the council officers is to do the best for local people – and that as I have already said means creating opportunity for our area and our local people.
“It is no longer simply our job to provide services and at any rate even that is getting harder as we have less and less money. Our job is I believe to work together with our partners, local people and everyone who has a stake in our area to create the environment where everyone
can thrive. That job has become less about simply doing things for people and more about creating the opportunity for people to do things for themselves.
“Our pledge to create opportunity will be underpinned by five key promises and these will form the basis of everything that this council does for the next four years.
“First of these five promises will be to provide value for money and do what I call getting the basics right. These may seem obvious but they are the day job. They are the absolute minimum that we are expected to do as a good local authority but if we are to address our more ambitious challenges we must start by getting them right.
“Achieving these two will give us the headroom to tackle the next three that will really begin to change our borough and create the opportunity I have already talked about.
“Our next promises involve supporting our local economy, using our influence to see that better public services are delivered in areas such as policing, healthcare and particularly education.
“Finally we are committed to transforming our borough. This means regenerating our town centres while at the same time using our planning powers to protect our cherished greenbelt while ensuing that we allow the right number of news homes to be built that people will want to live in.
“These are not vague promises - they are already the business priorities of this council and beginning to form the basis of business and work plans across the council for the coming year.”
Cllr Ball finished by saying:
"All of us - elected members, our partners and council officers have a huge task ahead of us. I am asking all of you for your support. If we really pull together and make the right choices then we can do the best things for the people of our borough."