Offering a positive way forward for all
In 2007 the Labour Government forced through the splitting of Cheshire without any meaningful consultation with the residents, creating Cheshire West and Chester Council. Initially a shadow Council in 2008 and on 1st April 2009 took over from half the County Council and the merger of the 3 District Councils of Chester, Ellesmere Port & Neston and Vale Royal.
Conservatives received a strong mandate from you in 2008. For the last two years we have put your confidence to good work, making difficult decisions and major changes to the way the new Council works. Reducing our staff by over 1100 we have made saving of over £50 million during the first 2 years. This is creating a streamlined, efficient and effective Council with over £12m of the savings being invested into front line services to protect the most vulnerable children and adults in our communities.
The past has left the new Council with a huge backlog of maintenance and dilapidated assets ranging from poor roads, poor school buildings, inadequate care homes where the elderly share bathroom facilities with strangers, sports facilities that are tired and obsolete. We are determined to fix these problems and your Conservative-led Council is responding to residents’ concerns and has the ambition to upgrade/replace all these assets over 10 years. This will ensure our most vulnerable elderly people are cared for in accommodation where they retain their dignity, where our children and grandchildren can attend a school with decent teaching environments where they can be inspired by our great teachers and where the sports facilities welcome and encourage young people to participate in sport.
The Conservative-led Council has worked hard not only to reduce the costs of the Council and provide you with excellent value for money, but to redesign our services with you, the customer, at the heart of everything we do.
Our commitment to you is to continue to improve the way we deliver the right services to you, at the right time and at an affordable level of cost.
We have made promises and are now delivering on the promises we made to you in 2008, which include reducing the cost of the Council so that we can invest more into our communities. The main investment highlights include the historic buildings in Chester such as the Walls, the Amphitheatre and the Town Hall (over £5.5m), the building of the Riversdale Bridge and refurbishment of the Lion Salt Works (over £10m) in Northwich, improving our schools with investment in the design of the new Academies in Ellesmere Port and Winsford (part of nearly £50m of investment).
Some of these projects may be familiar to you as they have been discussed for years by the previous Councils; however, your new Conservative Council is delivering these key investments for all our residents.
We have an ambitious agenda for the next 10 years and have consulted widely on the priorities for investment. The programme is based on what you have told us, is important to you.
Our commitment is to deliver the following key projects for our residents prior to 2015:
§New sports facilities in Northwich, Ellesmere Port and the rural area
§New theatre and conference centre in Chester
§An additional £10m/year on our roads
§Investment in our schools including the two new academies in Ellesmere Port and Winsford
This is an exciting and positive agenda for the next 4 years. The dreadful financial legacy of the last Labour Government makes this a challenge but it is one the Conservative Party will deliver on in Cheshire West and Chester.
We set out our agenda through 6 key commitments to you:
Commitment 1 - Ensure your Council tax will only increase at or below inflation; this is a real term reduction in Council Tax for the 4 years 2011-2015 (with the objective of a 0% increase over the next 3 years)
Continue to reduce overhead costs and improve how we deliver services the way our communities want, giving real improvement of value for money
Keep a business-like control on finances and continue the programme of investment to improve the way we deliver services
Review the properties we own and sell what is not required, to help fund investment plan for new facilities for everyone
Continue to give you the opportunities to get involved in shaping our new initiatives and our decision making
Commitment 2 – Improving the economy for your benefit
Building on the success of developing our business-led Local Enterprise Partnership to maximise inward investment and creating jobs
Continue to reduce car parking charges in real terms in our car parks throughout the Borough
Continuing investment in our historical buildings throughout the Borough to encourage tourism throughout the Borough including sports facilities and a new theatre in Chester to open in 2014
Improve access across the Borough to BT super fast broad band to support business development
Use our regeneration plans to support growth across the Borough, with the waterways of Weaver Valley being used for sport and recreation and culture and engineering and education as the basis of the regeneration of Ellesmere Port
Work with Parish and Town Councils to develop solutions to rural issues, develop services and continue to support communities creating their own Parish Plans
Commitment 3 – Investing in improving your quality of life in Cheshire West and Chester
Deliver £60m investment for new and refurbished sports/recreation facilities throughout the Borough for people of all ages with a focus on young people
New cultural venues to be developed including a new theatre for Chester as part of bidding for Chester to be the City of Culture in 2017
Continue to invest in the Borough’s historical assets, including the Walls of Chester and support the bid for World Heritage status for the Rows of Chester
Work with our Parish Councils to enable sustainable development in the rural area, retaining jobs, supporting vulnerable services and enabling housing to be developed sympathetically with the character of the villages
Investment in affordable housing in our towns, city and rural areas as a critical element of regeneration
Commitment 4 – Greener/cleaner and safer Borough
Deliver major investment in green energy/energy efficiency measures in domestic and council premises throughout Borough and help those who are in fuel poverty
Deliver a new harmonised waste collection system for everybody across the Borough to reflect the wishes of the residents of the Borough, to increase recycling to 58% and implementing a common weekly waste collection of decomposable waste in Northwich, Winsford, Neston and Ellesmere Port areas
Deal with problematic parking on pavements, street corners and outside schools in our communities
Adopt a zero tolerance approach to those who behave badly causing noise, nuisance and crime through a new task force with the police
Work to remove grot spots throughout the Borough and ensure our streets are properly cleaned
Commitment 5 – Giving your children and grandchildren a better start in life
Invest in new facilities to replace the poor and inadequate mobile classrooms (approx 56) in our schools and ensure they remain at the heart of our communities
Build the new academy buildings in Ellesmere Port and Winsford by 2015
Help our young people achieve their potential by working in partnership with Chester University and FE colleges and businesses
Ensure our looked after children have the same opportunities to achieve as any other child and improve their educational attainment and access to work
Improve the educational attainment of our schools by giving the best support to our teachers in our schools
Commitment 6 – Improving support for all our citizens as and when they need our help and support
Build facilities and services to help people remain healthy and independent for longer in their own home and with friends in their community
Ensuring the individual who needs help is the centre of everything we do and focus on delivering excellent, flexible and personalised services
Working with Health to integrate services and reduce costs so that our residents see joined up service delivery
Investing in better facilities for the vulnerable elderly who need our help and to ensure they retain their dignity as they age
Caring for our vulnerable adults by working together with our partners to ensure they are safe in their communities and where every individual has the opportunity to realise their full potential.
Ensure all our ideas and plans are discussed with our service users and partners to ensure the best ideas are delivered and all individuals are treated fairly, equally and with dignity.