Prioritising Customer Service and Investing for Future Savings, Mole Valley’s Proposed Budget Sets Out a Positive Agenda For Residents and Businesses.
Leader of Mole Valley District Council, Councillor Stephen Cooksey said, “Our proposed budget recognises a degree of uncertainty in local government funding for the future and therefore takes a sensibly cautious approach. Our principle aim is to improve service provision this year. We are making some proposals in the budget to ensure that we maximise benefits to residents and businesses, and also ensure that the organisation operates effectively and sustainably.
“The budget proposals are directly linked to the three priorities in our Council Strategy; Community Wellbeing, Environment and Prosperity.
“Supporting our town centres is a key theme for us both now and for the future, with the regeneration of Transform Leatherhead continuing and the launch of a new Opportunity Dorking project in 2020. We are also proposing setting aside £200,000 for Infrastructure Feasibility Studies. These studies will allow us to bid for external funding for essential schemes for Mole Valley, working with Surrey County Council and the Local Enterprise Partnerships. The draft Local Plan outlines major infrastructure requirements which will only be possible if we are prepared to bid for funds when they become available.
“We know that parking arrangements across the district are important to both residents and businesses. We will continue to deliver the car park refurbishment programme, with Dorking Southside car park next to commence. In order to support our town centres and our overall economic prosperity, we are also proposing to increase the number of car park spaces that are free for 30 minutes.
“In terms of promoting our Environment priority, the Council declared a Climate Emergency in October 2019, and we have made a commitment to being carbon neutral by 2030. A Climate Change Strategy is being developed in co-operation with the Carbon Trust and the budget provides £200,000 for specific actions to be delivered during 2020/21.
“Mole Valley District Council has a specific objective to ensure the effective delivery of the waste management contract and we will be monitoring the performance and taking action to ensure it continues to improve.
“In relation to Community Wellbeing, we are proposing a sum of £20,000 for youth activities in our recreation grounds during school holiday periods to tackle anti-social behaviour positively. Mole Valley District Council also provides grants to a number of organisations who assist us in delivering services to residents. Citizen’s Advice Mole Valley provides advice to an increasing number of households in relation to issues such as benefits, housing and debt. We are therefore proposing a significant increase in funding to continue to support this work.
“We are proposing to invest £190,000 in a new Digital Strategy. With a new Mole Valley District Council website coming in 2020, we intend to provide more opportunities for customers to pay and apply for services online, and also to report issues and concerns. We will also be working with partner organisations to improve digital connectivity in poorly served rural areas of Mole Valley.
“We believe this budget is well balanced and realistic, makes progress in introducing our initiatives and policies and accepts the challenges of unknown future funding from government whilst building capability and resilience for the future.”