My £210m plan for your future – council chief

First published in News Worcester News: Tom Edwards by , Political Reporter

AN ambitious blueprint has been unveiled for Worcestershire – with pledges of at least £210 million of investment into better roads and rail stations, protection from flooding and faster broadband.

The county council’s revised Corporate Plan has been published, which spells out spending priorities from now to 2017.

As your Worcester News revealed last week, the document outlines an extra 650 job losses by then on top of the 857 posts currently being axed.

And while it admits the council will be 40 per cent smaller by 2017 than it was in 2011, it does reveal a raft of investment priorities.

Under an ‘open for business agenda’ a minimum of £210 million will be spent on what bosses believe are the best ways of encouraging growth.

It includes: l Extra surface dressing and a new resurfacing programme for “main” roads.

l Measures to improve navigation on key routes in and out of Worcester, which could include widening of roads and cycle lanes.

l A new package of railway im-provements.

l Flood mitigation measures, which could include extra barriers to protect homes.

l Tidying up of footways to make them more pedestrian friendly.

l An £11.8 million scheme to speed up broadband across Worcestershire, bringing 90 per cent of all properties at least 24 megabits per second by 2015.

Specifics of each plan will emerge at the start of each financial year, and the expectation is that extra funds from the likes of the Environment Agency and the Government will beef up the total spend.

As your Worcester News first revealed last month, bosses have admitted the budget will need to be slashed by at least £20 million a year to 2017.

They plan to hand over as many services as possible to outside providers, a tactic known as commissioning, in order to shed staff and cut spending.

Councillor Adrian Hardman, county council leader, said the Corporate Plan was his “vision” for the future.

“This council aims to attract as many new businesses to the county as we can, and that is why we are determined to progress our ‘open for business’ agenda,” he said.

The plan also pledges to safeguard spending on children’s services and social care, after residents said they should be priorities.

Coun Simon Geraghty, deputy leader and cabinet member for economy and regeneration, said: “We’ve engaged more than 30,000 residents when putting this together to have a plan grounded in what people say is very important.”

To view it, visit worcestershire.gov.uk/corporateplan.

Comments (7)

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10:58am Sat 26 Jan 13

Landy44 says...

ARE THESE PEOPLE MAD OR JUST STUPID?

It hurts me to even read this story, never mind think about it's implications.

They are rearranging deckchairs on the titanic again!

Councillors Hardman and Geraghty need a severe dose of reality. I'm sure they have asked 30,000 residents what they'd like, but have they told them the cost and implications of providing it! I doubt it as they seemingly don't know themselves!

These are exactly the kind of "leaders" we don't want, with their lack of commercial and fiscal IQ.

I'm all for promoting growth, but this won't cut it! For example - They are proposing to spend £11.8MILLION of your money (you're a tax payer right?) on providing faster (min 24meg) broadband to 90% of the county. I can't begin to tell you how flawed that thinking is.

Firstly - A good % will already have the option of fast broadband, and "90%" doesn't include most rural and semi-rural areas, so don't hold your breath - it's EASY to get to 90% coverage and it means next to nothing.
Secondly - The council has no business spending ANY of our money on this - All they are doing is lobbying the broadband providers, who will get around to rollling it out in their own good time anyway based on national demand. It's a waste of £11.8MILLION of tax payers money! (I wonder what your slice of that is!)

I'd love to have it, and it would promote growth, but it's not in the councils gift to provide it unless the £11.8MILLION is an "incentive" paid to BT!

It also looks like the highways department will be rewarded for their incompetence with more funding! Beggars belief. Pavements and walkways? Yep - that should promote growth.

Let me tell you - I'd like to have what they're selling, but it won't promote growth, and it's a blatant waste of tax payers money and mostly political "spin".

If they want to promote growth, they should help identify and encourage more office space to attract business to the area, and otherwise work out how they REDUCE their spend.

Last one out, turn out the lights (if they haven't been disconnected due to non payment by then)!

I think I just want to cry now.
ARE THESE PEOPLE MAD OR JUST STUPID? It hurts me to even read this story, never mind think about it's implications. They are rearranging deckchairs on the titanic again! Councillors Hardman and Geraghty need a severe dose of reality. I'm sure they have asked 30,000 residents what they'd like, but have they told them the cost and implications of providing it! I doubt it as they seemingly don't know themselves! These are exactly the kind of "leaders" we don't want, with their lack of commercial and fiscal IQ. I'm all for promoting growth, but this won't cut it! For example - They are proposing to spend £11.8MILLION of your money (you're a tax payer right?) on providing faster (min 24meg) broadband to 90% of the county. I can't begin to tell you how flawed that thinking is. Firstly - A good % will already have the option of fast broadband, and "90%" doesn't include most rural and semi-rural areas, so don't hold your breath - it's EASY to get to 90% coverage and it means next to nothing. Secondly - The council has no business spending ANY of our money on this - All they are doing is lobbying the broadband providers, who will get around to rollling it out in their own good time anyway based on national demand. It's a waste of £11.8MILLION of tax payers money! (I wonder what your slice of that is!) I'd love to have it, and it would promote growth, but it's not in the councils gift to provide it unless the £11.8MILLION is an "incentive" paid to BT! It also looks like the highways department will be rewarded for their incompetence with more funding! Beggars belief. Pavements and walkways? Yep - that should promote growth. Let me tell you - I'd like to have what they're selling, but it won't promote growth, and it's a blatant waste of tax payers money and mostly political "spin". If they want to promote growth, they should help identify and encourage more office space to attract business to the area, and otherwise work out how they REDUCE their spend. Last one out, turn out the lights (if they haven't been disconnected due to non payment by then)! I think I just want to cry now. Landy44
  • Score: 0

11:49am Sat 26 Jan 13

broadwas says...

Please stop tinkering with the roads(Whittington roundabout??) and build what EVERYBODY except a few nimbys want - the northern ring road extension. Shame the Highways Agency into coughing up.
Please stop tinkering with the roads(Whittington roundabout??) and build what EVERYBODY except a few nimbys want - the northern ring road extension. Shame the Highways Agency into coughing up. broadwas
  • Score: 0

12:07pm Sat 26 Jan 13

saucerer says...

The council really don't get it do they. Stop wasting money on what staff think the public want and start spending scarce funds on what people want - listen to what they want, you are the the public's servants. Start working efficiently too instead of doing next to nothing and coming up with idiotic and money wasting schemes.

And if this is what the council are spelling out for the next 4 years, I think 650 job losses is not nearly enough as it seems we'll still have lunatics left running the asylum.
The council really don't get it do they. Stop wasting money on what staff think the public want and start spending scarce funds on what people want - listen to what they want, you are the the public's servants. Start working efficiently too instead of doing next to nothing and coming up with idiotic and money wasting schemes. And if this is what the council are spelling out for the next 4 years, I think 650 job losses is not nearly enough as it seems we'll still have lunatics left running the asylum. saucerer
  • Score: 0

12:09pm Sat 26 Jan 13

saucerer says...

And please don't let the highways department have any more money to squander. If they have schemes planned, lets have a public consultation first attended by highways staff before allowing the public, not staff, the final say on whether they go ahead or not.
And please don't let the highways department have any more money to squander. If they have schemes planned, lets have a public consultation first attended by highways staff before allowing the public, not staff, the final say on whether they go ahead or not. saucerer
  • Score: 0

3:12pm Sat 26 Jan 13

DarrenM says...

Widening of cycle lanes?? yes because im sure i saw someone use one once, a bit like those stupid boxes in front of traffic lights that i've seen anyone use.
Widening of cycle lanes?? yes because im sure i saw someone use one once, a bit like those stupid boxes in front of traffic lights that i've seen anyone use. DarrenM
  • Score: 0

3:55pm Sat 26 Jan 13

take a deep breath says...

Where is the completion of Worcester's ring-road in all of this? Travelling through the centre of Worcester or one way around a partially constructed ring-road is not what we want to hear. Your are talking about our future; use forethought ... don't be left with hindsight!! A good recipe is 'reduce a lot of politics add a little reality.'
Where is the completion of Worcester's ring-road in all of this? Travelling through the centre of Worcester or one way around a partially constructed ring-road is not what we want to hear. Your are talking about our future; use forethought ... don't be left with hindsight!! A good recipe is 'reduce a lot of politics add a little reality.' take a deep breath
  • Score: 0

10:16am Sun 27 Jan 13

Lew Smoralz says...

take a deep breath wrote:
Where is the completion of Worcester's ring-road in all of this? Travelling through the centre of Worcester or one way around a partially constructed ring-road is not what we want to hear. Your are talking about our future; use forethought ... don't be left with hindsight!! A good recipe is 'reduce a lot of politics add a little reality.'
Well said... the most positive thing that the County Council can do is to complete the ring-road around Worcester, and it is not mentioned. The rest is mostly dross and window dressing and very little will encourage growth and create wealth.

That is not a "Vision", it is nightmare of profligate waste!

Is there something in the water in Worcestershire?
[quote][p][bold]take a deep breath[/bold] wrote: Where is the completion of Worcester's ring-road in all of this? Travelling through the centre of Worcester or one way around a partially constructed ring-road is not what we want to hear. Your are talking about our future; use forethought ... don't be left with hindsight!! A good recipe is 'reduce a lot of politics add a little reality.'[/p][/quote]Well said... the most positive thing that the County Council can do is to complete the ring-road around Worcester, and it is not mentioned. The rest is mostly dross and window dressing and very little will encourage growth and create wealth. That is not a "Vision", it is nightmare of profligate waste! Is there something in the water in Worcestershire? Lew Smoralz
  • Score: 0

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