From our local County Councillor
In my role as Cabinet Assistant, helping with the children and young people portfolios I attended 2 Star Chamber meetings in November. These are meetings where Senior Officers and budget holders are questioned on their initial budget plans for the coming years. The meetings are intense in nature and designed to ask searching questions about future plans. This will then help form the budget proposals, which will be published shortly. I also attended 2 informal meetings of the Cabinet.
The Environment and Sustainability Scrutiny Committee met. There was 2 major items on the agenda - the current and future position of Section 106/ community infrastructure levy, and a progress report on this winter's gritting programme. On the first the Committee questioned officers regarding the negotiation process, on how developer contributions are managed so that the money is spent for the intended purpose and on links with District Councils to ensure the system operates as efficiently as possible.
On winter gritting the committee heard that salt stocks are full, with a further 5,000 tonnes ordered from Ireland for delivery in January. Following responses to the consultation on the precautionary network a number of changes have been made to take into account comments from Parish Councils, including acceptance of changes suggested by Reach and Swaffham Prior Parish Councils. County Council Highways are writing to parish Councils offering to indemnify Parish Council workers who help with snow clearance on footpaths etc. Information for householders saying they can clear snow etc outside their properties has been published on the Directgov and County Council websites. Their has also been a good response from local farmers offering to help clear roads of heavy snow.
I also attended a meeting of the member-led review group looking into how the County Council can help stimulate provision of affordable housing in the County.