Our Manifesto for the period commencing May 2019

Our manifesto recognises the five things a Council should do to make a decent society that allows those to make the best of their talents whilst looking after those who need a helping hand, all with in a framework and environment that looks after today with an eye on tomorrow. All delivered with the commitment and compassion at a price that you can afford. We will continue to keep Council tax under control doing more for less.

Our shrewd financial management has run the Council effectively, balanced the budget without hiking fees and charges whilst keeping Council Tax rises below inflation year after year. We will continue our record of reinvesting all our income to serve you better whilst keeping tax rises to a minimum.

We will continue to run a Council that invests in a stronger local economy.

We will create more secure futures for local people by investing in our local economy and the local infrastructure that supports the creation of quality Jobs alongside the construction of new homes.

We will run a Council that protects our quality of life With a focus on street cleanliness, maximising recycling, addressing the causes of antisocial behaviour and a local plan that demands the highest quality of development that protects the special character of our market towns & villages, We will enhance daily lives with the best opportunities.

We will look after those who need the Council’s help the most.  Helping those in need with prompt and practical support to get them back on their feet in difficult times is the mark of a compassionate Council. Preventing problems and solving issues is better than managing caseloads so we will continue our leading work on improving housing, homelessness and debt advice to help families to help themselves with humanity and dignity.

 

We will run an agile Council that innovates and moves with the times Regardless of how Brexit pans out, you can rely on your Council to continue to work hard for local people. With profound changes in society and technology, we wíll work with neighbours to drive more efficiency on a scale that people can recognise and relate to. If events take an unexpected turn, we’ll be here for you. Solving problems one street at a time making life better for everyone. Four years ago, we made promises to you about what we would achieve if you elected a Conservative Conservative Council.  You entrusted us with the important job of running your Council and in return we have kept the South Norfolk Conservatives are committed to making our district the best place to live in the country, promises that we made. We hope we have earned your trust and you will support us so we can continue our delivering the services you value the most at a price we can all afford work that aims to make South Norfolk one of the best places to live in the Country.

We said we would keep Council tax under control and run the Council efficiently and we kept our promise by keeping Council Tax rises to a minimum by generating trading income, cutting costs and being more efficient. Over twelve years rises in our Council Tax in South Norfolk have been two thirds less than inflation.

We said we would sort faster broadband ... and we are proud that South Norfolk is the first rural district in East Anglia to offer every home and business access to fast broadband speeds. All our residents and businesses have access to decent Broadband speeds so residents have the facilities they deserve, and businesses can compete on the global stage.

We said we would protect our environment ...and we kept that promise with the highest recycling rates and the introduction of electric vehicle charging in each Market Town. We have a local plan with one of the best Design Guides for new buildings that respects the need to grow whilst minimising adverse effects on our landscapes. Conservation Areas across our district have been extended and we have protected landscapes that protect the gaps between settlements to maintain a rural feel to a growing and dynamic area.

We said we would help our community groups ...and we kept that promise by making over 500 grants to volunteer groups in our 120 parishes that improve our quality of life and capital grants to improve sporting facilities across our district to encourage active and healthy lifestyles. We have invested in sporting and leisure facilities that enables clubs to thrive and promote healthy and active lifestyles.

We said that we would look after those whose need is greatest...and we kept that promise building more affordable homes than the rest of the County put together, with every single home lost to right-to-buy replaced. We have pioneered a social prescribing model to help people get better by getting off medication that the NHS has now copied on a national basis. Our help hub has solved problems for 2127 families and residents to achieve positive outcomes that makes life better for them and saves the rest of Government a fortune. There are so many changes in the economy and in society driven by changes in technology. So it ís even more important that your local Council lives within its means and grows the economy so we don’t have to rely on Council Tax alone to fund ourselves. We will work with neighbours to strip out wasteful duplication but make sure that those in need receive the support they deserve.

We will continue our track record of running the Council on business-like lines whilst being an entrepreneurial Council that reflects a dynamic economy.

WE will innovative to attract new sources of finance To support local investment we will maintain our enviable record of attracting Government funding to innovate and to do more things for more people. We will seek to create locally-backed investment vehicles which provides the best chance attracting Government investment in critical infrastructure so the cost burden does not fall on local taxpayers.

We will  commercialise if it ís a good deal for the taxpayer So we will balance the books without jacking up fees & charges by building new homes and developing commercial spaces that help businesses expand. We will develop our specialist commercial trading arms that offer class-leading services to other businesses and partners to generate surpluses that will keep Council Tax down for everyone.

We will work with neighbouring Councils to drive out costs and duplication We are working with Broadland Council to reinvent ourselves for 21st Century and to re-imagine what a Council  could be like. We will  use new technology and modernise working practices to do even more for less to allow staff to get out of the office and do more at street level. With 250,000 residents in Greater Norwich we will provide career opportunities for the best staff to serve you better avoiding wasteful duplication in the process. Helping our high streets keep vital at a time when shopping habits are changing is a big challenge for your Conservative Council. So we are constantly moving with the times to ensure that the facilities you would expect at city-centre shopping centres are available in our market towns. We want to make sure that South Norfolk stays a great place to live, work, visit and do business.

We will   respond to the challenges facing the high street and isolated rural businesses. We will extend electric car charging facilities that drives tourist visits within South Norfolk in a partnership with Offshore Windfarm operator Vattenfall to provide clean and green electricity generated off the Norfolk coast. We pledge a continuing commitment to free parking for at least the first hour in all our Council car parks to help small shops better compete with the supermarkets. We will make it much easier for rural businesses to ask for Brown Tourist Signs and cut the red-tape that makes it so difficult to attract tourists to businesses that are off-the beaten track so they can remain commercially relevant and attractive places to work.

We will invest in infrastructure that supports our economy and local quality of life. As resources are repatriated from Brussels we will create investable opportunities for the Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund to invest in local infrastructure projects. We will review local development taxes like CIL so that developers make enough financial contributions to addressing the cumulative impacts of house building. We will press for further improvements in mobile phone coverage in the rural areas and we wíll maintain the Business Rates Support for the rural pubs, garages, shops and post offices that sustain rural ways of lives especially for those without access to transport.

We will make South Norfolk an attractive place to relocate and grow a business. We will grow our world-leading science base at the Research Park in South Norfolk to provide new employment premises and job opportunities for businesses to expand in Wymondham, Long Stratton, the Waveney Valley and along the A11 towards Cambridge.

We will keep South Norfolk moving safely. We commit to working towards the construction of the long-awaited Long Stratton bypass. We will deliver improved disabled access at rail stations in South Norfolk.  

With thousands of listed buildings and over 40 conservation areas, local Conservatives are more aware than most of how to balance the pressures for growth against protecting our heritage and countryside assets.

We, South Norfolk Conservatives, are committed to making our district the best place to live in the country, have worked hard to strike the right balance between the need for growth that sustains our economy and delivering the services you value the most at a price we can all afford.

Protecting the special character of our market towns and villages, keeping our environment visibly clean and tidy action on recycling & waste.  Pride in South Norfolk starts with a visibly clean environment.

We will make best use of our £2m investment in new plant & equipment that has kept South Norfolk visibly cleaner than our neighbouring districts.

We are proud that Fly-Tipping criminals will be tracked-down and prosecuted in South Norfolk and we will clear away unlawful roadside advertising trailers that litter the countryside, and which are a unsightly and distracting hazard for motorists.

We will work hard to improve the value of the recycled materials and aim to consistently recycle more waste to reduce the impact on landfill.

Adoption of the local Plan ensures the highest quality of development. We will adopt our new local plan that balances the right number of small homes for young couples and new bungalows built for our older family members to get the right number of the right type of homes in the right numbers and in the right places with the aim of ensuring the five year land supply is met. We will invest in enhanced planning enforcement to address infringements that undermine confidence in the system.  We will continue our program of enhancing conservation areas and protect the gaps between settlements support health and fitness and leisure opportunities for people of all ages.  

We will continue investments in health & fitness and introduce more flexible pricing for off-peak use in our leisure centres.

We will seek to work with national sporting bodies like the FA to provide even more football pitches and new low impact exercise for older residents. Working creatively with the criminal justice system to reduce crime.

Crime can affect anyone. We recognise vulnerable people can be drawn into bad behaviours by criminal gangs so we will work with Norfolk Police to make our area a more hostile environment for County Lines gangs responsible for drug dealing and other crimes like anti-social behaviour, fly-tipping, alcohol abuse & vandalism.

The Council does so much more than collect the bins. We are there to pick up the pieces when things go wrong - We know that the elderly and infirm prefer to stay independent at home and young families need a roof over their heads so we act promptly whether it is changing a light bulb for an elderly pensioner or helping a young family to fund a deposit for a rented home.

A focus on getting A roof over everyone’s head and getting families into homes. We house two families every working day. Family life is changing, and we will respond to the needs for smaller households and an aging population.

For those unable to own their own home we will continue to operate a housing register based on need, work hard to prevent cases of homelessness with rental deposit schemes.

We will ensure that every home lost to right-to-buy is replaced and reserve a proportion of new social homes for those with a genuine local connection. Developing our early intervention team that prevents rather than cures.

We will continue our ground-breaking work with the police and other agencies that addresses and fixes social problems one family at a time.

We know that prevention is better than cure at addressing anti-social behaviour, fly-tipping, drug & alcohol abuse, vandalism, dog fouling and graffiti.

We will help victims of domestic abuse with additional  accommodation.

We will continue positive engagement with local doctors to improve the provision medical facilities in parallel with the building of new homes.

Tacking homelessness and hidden homelessness Rough sleeping is not obvious in South Norfolk but that does not mean that hidden homelessness like overcrowding or sofa surfing is not a local problem:

We will work creatively to put a roof over everyone’s head whilst ensuring people with a local connection, including returning servicemen & women, are given priority. Whether it ís help to afford a tenancy deposit, relationship counselling to keep families together or ensuring that we have smaller homes for youngsters or new bungalows for older family members We will ensure each case is treated individually with humanity.

Keeping people more independent at home for longer we will continue to can make small adjustments in the homes of the vulnerable that make a big difference to those who want to stay independent for longer close to supportive family and friends.

As Chairman of South Norfolk Conservative Future, I know that there are limits to what National Government can do by itself so there is a role for the local council to look forward and shape our local economy and environment and be accountable to local people rather than bureaucrats in London, I want to be part of the team that leads that change.

Embrace technological changes Society is changing with technology driving profound changes in consumer behaviour and expectations.

We will plan for the smaller households that result from an aging population and young people waiting longer to get married.

We will facilitate the app-based economy including licencing ride hailing apps and recognise the changing role of transport with electric and autonomous vehicles.

We will invest in more online channels that meet expectations for people who want immediate answers to problems.

We will invest in staff mobility to aid flexible work patterns so we can come and see you.

 Finding new ways of getting A roof over everyone’s head.  We will be at the forefront of self-building within South Norfolk that enables local people with the right skills the chance to build a home of their own breaking monopoly of the volume house builders. We will provide serviced plots on allocated land we control to make the dream of home ownership available to as many people as possible.

Work more closely with the health service and DWP to offer a seamless service as well as planning for housing and growth, we wíll work with others to deliver more services on behalf of central Government like the NHS, DWP functions and Job Centres at a scale and geography that makes sense to those for whom travelling to Norwich is not a realistic option.

We will be realistic about responding to changes in local government and we will be open to a reconfiguration of local Government in formal collaborations that saves money and eliminates wasteful duplication provided it is delivered at a scale that ensures local people remain at the heart of decision making. Work with those that can work with us We can’t do everything ourselves so we will seek to support voluntary groups with grants when they can achieve more than we can ourselves.

The Council does much more than collect the rubbish or simply process planning applications.

That ís why it is so important that the Conservatives approach to efficiency and value-for-money is used for each of this list of 86 tasks that the District Council performs for you.

John Fuller, April 2019

Attachments

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