Agenda item

Leader's report


The Leader stated that the previous agenda items discussed lay out the challenges to Local Government finance and that there are serious issues if there is not meaningful reform in the proposed Local Government Finance review at the start of the next Parliament.  As part of making sure that this review is fit for purpose, the Leader has asked MP Nigel Evans to arrange a meeting with the Minister.


The Leader was pleased that the Council has been fiscally conservative, compared with some other Borough Councils that are now heavily in debt.


The Leader noted that despite all the ongoing financial challenges, the Policy Finance Committee and Community Committee will be providing grants of nearly £100,000 to community and voluntary organisations in the coming month.


The Leader reported that the Council has also started spending the first year’s allocation of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, with a further £200,000 allocated for Longridge.  This brings the total investment in capital schemes to £680,000, including the Kestor Lane play area that was completed recently.


The Leader confirmed that there has been a recommendation from the working group for £800,000 for Clitheroe and £400,000 for Whalley.  He urged the residents of Whalley to come up with a deliverable scheme by October 2023 so that a significant opportunity is not missed for them.


The Leader reported that the Council is still awaiting details of the rural elements of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to enable investments in the villages around the Ribble Valley.


The Leader confirmed that this year the Clitheroe Food Festival is being enhanced to a week long event, now called the Ribble Valley Taste Fest.  This will incorporate themed walks, cheese making demonstrations, brewery tours, gin tasting at farms and food venues through the Borough.


The Leader went on to report that the Council will be trialling Bio Diesel for our Diesel vehicles next month, and if successful, it will reduce the Council carbon dioxide emissions by up to 90%.  Subject to the Climate Change working group, the Council will be looking to build solar panels on the Council offices and at Roefield.  He reminded Members that the Council needs to continually focus on improvements in efficiency to support the revenue budget and this has started with the E-recruitment system. 


The Leader reiterated that the most important relationship the Council has is with its residents and a people’s survey has been conducted.  The results of which will help the Council to inform overriding strategies for the benefit of the residents in the future.


The Leader advised that Ribble Valley residents continue to benefit from the Household Support Fund and the Council will be working with the Government to conduct the required checks for the prompt release of £400 payments for Energy Bill Support Scheme.


The Leader reported that last year the Grade 2 listed Punch Bowl was demolished without planning permission.  Ribble Valley enforced the rebuilding of this pub but the applicant appealed to the Planning Inspectorate.  The Leader was pleased to report that the appeal has been dismissed and an award for costs has been granted in the Council’s favour.  The pub will have to be rebuilt within the next 12 months.


Finally, the Leader provided an update to the Council on the Greatest Days movie.  He reported that it will be release in cinemas and in his mind, Clitheroe is the star of the film.