District’s plan is ready for Brexit says council

Sleaford Moor Business Park. A plan for its development is beginning to take shape. EMN-181113-160055001
Sleaford Moor Business Park. A plan for its development is beginning to take shape. EMN-181113-160055001

North Kesteven District Council is inviting public comments on its corporate plan for the next three years, as its leaders insist they are confident they will steer the authority through the uncertain, choppy waters of Brexit over the coming months and years.

The council is currently refreshing the NK Plan – which sets out the vision and priorities for the council over the next three years – ensuring NKDC and its partners can deliver services and respond to any challenges, as well looking ahead to the next 10 years with an approved financial strategy.

The five priorities are based around homes, communities, the economy, environment and council – making sure people have access to good quality housing, in places they feel safe to live in, where there are employment opportunities and places to enjoy visiting.

Last year, more than 3,300 residents responded to the survey and the aim this year is to engage with traditionally under-represented age groups, such as young people.

Chief Executive Ian Fytche said: “We are still investing in our services and we have a £200million investment programme currently under way with some parts complete or underway, and some planned for the future.”

These include refurbishment of the leisure centres, new housing programmes and the regeneration of Newfield Road council housing in Sleaford which is nearing completion by the spring. Other schemes coming forward include the Heart of Sleaford project in the town centre opening up a public link and amenities, including cinema between Money’s Yard and the Market Place. The Sleaford Strategy Plan has been worked on by a group of all three councils and private sector business partners.

All of the investments are designed to support the priority areas the council is committed to delivering - to create jobs, provide leisure opportunities, improve the local environment and provide vital infrastructure as the district grows.

Coun Richard Wright, Leader of NKDC, said: “The Sleaford regeneration Group takes on views of people who work in and effectively run parts of the town - it is not just council led.”

He invited feedback on the NK Plan to help shape services and point out where to focus efforts in the district. You can have your say on the NK Plan – and opt-in to a prize draw to win vouchers – by visiting www.n-kesteven.gov.uk/NKPlan

With future funding streams uncertain beyond Brexit, Coun Wright remained upbeat: “We have a financial plan in place. You cannot just sit waiting for Government policy, we cannot do that. It is about working with our partners and businesses.”

He said the outlook was good for businesses in the district as they were planning to employ people differently, using direct labour instead of agencies and using more technology.

Mr Fytche said NKDC’s executive board has set up a project team that will meet soon for the first time to develop a business plan for the new Sleaford Moor Business Park which has been purchased by the council as an extension to the existing enterprise park off East Road. The land will then be released in four or five phases.

Coun Wright added: “We have to look at long term and short term uses as well as temporary uses potentially. It is a 10 year, £40million investment. It will deliver employment and help businesses to grow and improve their supply chains. It is on a much bigger scale than the council has done before.”