From the executive: With Cllr John Halsall, leader of Wokingham Borough Council
I thank you for your support, but also want to reassure those people who didn’t vote for us that we will continue to run the Council in the best interests of the whole community.
I want to give you a flavour of our plans for the coming year.
Our priority is economic and social recovery for our Borough. Earlier this year, the Executive approved the creation of the Employment Support Hub to help people get back into work.
As with Shinfield Studios, we will work with our partners to attract new job opportunities to the Borough and are confident in our ability to do so.
A key part is the delivery of infrastructure and capital investment needed by our towns and villages. A new draft of the Local Plan will be brought forward, while continuing to bring housing targets down to a level that is reasonable for our Borough.
We were successful in convincing the Government to scrap the proposed substantial increase in our housing numbers, and we will go on making our case to get those figures down further.
At the same time, too many young people simply cannot afford to buy here. We will get the right housing in the right places, which means addressing the urgent need for more affordable and social housing in the Borough.
We will be building on our first steps in doing our part to tackle climate change and make our environment more friendly.
We will begin the work of building solar farms in the Borough, moving towards our target of making 70% of the Borough’s waste recyclable, and planting 300,000 trees.
Securing the best education for our younger generation is vital to ensuring that those from less affluent homes are not left behind as we emerge from the pandemic.
We will continue to provide the best opportunities for children and young people, opening a new special educational needs school in Winnersh, and start laying the groundwork for new primary schools in Matthewsgreen and Arborfield.
We will be taking action to tackle flytipping, noise, bonfires and other environmental issues which affect the quality of life for our residents. Anti-social behaviour, Low level crime and Domestic Violence is a concern across the Borough.
We will work with Matthew Barber, our excellent and experienced new Police and Crime Commissioner, on creating a co-ordinated plan for how we can clamp down on these issues – whilst looking to what more we can do to help families going through difficulties and provide activities for younger people.
This year will see the rolling out of our Congestion and Intelligent traffic Schemes coupled with a very high level of maintenance, which should keep the Borough moving while minimising environmental considerations.
This is just the start of what is to come.
There is much work to be done, but I know that my team and I have the energy and resolve to do it.
Cllr John Halsall is the leader of the council and Conservative councillor for Remenham, Wargrave and Ruscombe at Wokingham Borough Council