The annual State of Tamworth Debate gives councillors the opportunity to look back at the work of the authority over the last 12 months, consider public feedback gained through various consultation exercises and set the agenda for the coming year.
This year’s session was centred on a brand new vision and strategic priorities which have been implemented to inform the direction of the council for the next three years.
The new vision was approved by Full Council in February this year and is a commitment ‘To put Tamworth, its people and the local economy at the heart of everything we do’. This vision is underpinned by a number of strategic priorities that focus on Tamworth (the place), the communities served (the people) and the council itself (organisation).
The debate was broken down into the two areas of ‘people and place’ and ‘organisation’, with a total of 60 minutes being spent on each topic, during which councillors could put forward their views.
A number of successes were raised during a review of the last year, including new funding secured for the Pathway Project, securing the provision of debt and generalist advice services to Tamworth residents, grants provided to small businesses, the purchase of land at the Gungate Precinct, the provision of more affordable homes in the town, reduced levels of homelessness since the introduction of the Homelessness Reduction Act and £30m investment in new council homes, including the Kerria Centre and Tinkers Green regeneration.
Discussion around the big issues that are of concern to Tamworth residents revealed a number of key themes.
These included concerns about development on Tamworth’s borders and the town’s infrastructure capabilities, road and traffic problems, the need to develop a skilled workforce, improvements for education and ensuring the provision of enough affordable housing to meet the town’s needs.
There was also support for the priority to ‘create a new and developing vision for the continued evolution of Tamworth, including a town centre fit for the 21st century’. This process will continue as part of the council’s current ‘Tamworth…What’s Next?’ campaign which is asking residents, businesses and visitors their thoughts on the future regeneration of the town centre.
Councillors also identified the need for improved training and induction for new members joining the council.
Appreciation was shown for the members of staff at Tamworth Borough Council who work hard behind the scenes to provide services to the people of Tamworth and the fantastic support from the voluntary sector.
Leader of the Council, Cllr Daniel Cook, and Leader of the Opposition, Cllr Simon Peaple will now meet to look at all the issues raised during the debate and identify which should be investigated further by the council’s scrutiny committees.
Tamworth Borough Council’s new strategic priorities are:
People and Place
- To meet housing needs through a variety of approaches and interventions
- To facilitate sustainable growth and economic prosperity
- To work collaboratively and flexibly to meet the needs of our communities
- To create a new and developing vision for the continued evolution of Tamworth, including a town centre fit for the 21st century.
- To be financially stable
- To ensure our employees have the right skills and culture to help our residents, visitors and businesses
- To ensure our service delivery is consistent, clear and focused
- To ensure our decisions are driven by evidence and knowledge.
Cllr Daniel Cook, Leader of Tamworth Borough Council, said: “The State of Tamworth Debate is an important meeting in our annual calendar as it’s where we all have our say on what is important to us about Tamworth, both personally and on behalf of our constituents. I felt it was a really good debate and will now help set the agenda in terms of doing more work on those issues which have been identified as mattering most to the people of Tamworth.”
Cllr Simon Peaple, Leader of the Opposition, said: “The Leader and I will be meeting to agree on the key themes to be referred to Scrutiny so that we make progress on improving council services.”
The State of Tamworth Debate marks the start of a number of consultation ‘surgeries’ which will enable members of the public to have their say or give their views. More details will follow on these in the future. The State of Tamworth Debate report, full description of strategic priorities and summary of the feedback received from members of the public can be viewed online.