How your Council is helping South Somerset be an outstanding place to live, play and work – read our end of year report
Vital grants, award-winning parks, essential care for those at risk of homelessness, ambitious regeneration schemes for our town centres - you often ask us what your Council Tax pays for
Well, when you pay your bill, you are helping to fund an extraordinary range of services that benefit communities across South Somerset.
And despite a 70% cut in our government grant since 2010, at SSDC we are still making your money go further to deliver things that make a positive difference to everyone who lives in South Somerset.
We’ve just released our annual report for 2018/2019 and we’re extremely proud of the achievements over the past year made possible by our incredible team working with residents and businesses from Wincanton to Chard, and Yeovil to Somerton.
Here are some of the highlights
Environment – we want to help keep South Somerset clean, green and attractive:
- £233,000 was awarded to the Council to enable the purchase of 73 acres of “at risk” heritage land at Ham Hill
- Ham Hill, Yeovil Country Park and Chard Reservoir Local Nature Reserve all retained their green flag awards which recognises and rewards well managed parks and green spaces
- We carried out investigations into 443 abandoned vehicles across South Somerset to keep neighbourhoods clean and attractive
- We planted 230 trees, cleared 96% of flytips within five days, and provided education for 353 school pupils at our country parks.
- We’ve invested in an innovative energy storage facility that has put the Council at the cutting edge of renewable energy technology.
Economy – we want to promote a strong and growing economy with thriving businesses:
- We created a new 10-year strategy for economic prosperity and growth in South Somerset looking at how we can help improve transport, communications, skills and investment
- We continued to make great progress on plans to regenerate Yeovil, Chard and Wincanton
- We provided £10,000 of grants to support 29 high street initiatives while delivering training for 200 businesses at 24 events in partnership with the South Somerset Market Towns Investment group
- We delivered 9,000 square feet of new space for businesses to grow and flourish at the Yeovil Innovation Centre where we also provided the first Somerset Entrepreneur Bootcamp
Homes - we want to enable the provision of housing that meets future and existing needs or residents and employers:
- 652 new homes were built and 122 of these were affordable, delivered in partnership with housing associations and developers
- 2,034 vulnerable customers were support by Careline to help them stay safe in their homes
- Provided a new 11-unit temporary accommodation property for homeless families
- We provided emergency accommodation for 28 people over 16 nights as part of severe weather emergency provision
- 82 grants to allow residents with disabilities to live independently in their homes
- Helped prevent 57 people becoming homeless by providing specialist debt advice in partnership with Citizens Advice South Somerset
Council services – we will protect our valued services:
- We countered the loss of Government funding with savings of £2.5M through our Transformation programme which has seen us become more commercial and deliver more online so we can spend more time helping those most in need
- 66,520 transactions were completed on our website
- There were 120,756 calls to our customer contact centre and new Customer Access Points have been provided in Yeovil, Chard and Wincanton to make accessing our services even easier
- 71% of planning applications are being submitted online and we handled 1,823 applications for planning consent, 93% in the target time
- We’ve invested in ambitious and exciting assets which are already providing an additional income of £1.3M per annum to keep our services to you from being cut
- We have set up a trading company to enable us to offer our very best services to the public in order to generate more income to support our core services
Caring for our communities – we’re committed to providing opportunities for everyone to play, access the arts, be safe and be healthy
- The Octagon and Westlands entertainment venues set box office records selling more than 152,000 tickets
- We provided seven new play facilities across South Somerset with £249,000 of council funding, and carried out 3,300 safety inspections
- We built a new play zone at Ham Hill and provided Play Days for 12,500 people
- We investigated 359 noise complaints, carried out 1,161 food inspections, provided 370 rat treatments, collected or rehomed 98 stray dogs, and licensed more than 960 premises and taxis.
- Awarded £167,000 of grants to 47 community projects, £26,500 to community organisations providing arts and activities, and provided £205,000 of support to Citizens Advice South Somerset.
And that really is just a sample of the work being carried out by your local Council every day.
Council leader Val Keitch said: “We place our residents and businesses firmly at the centre of everything we do and we are incredibly proud of what we achieve alongside our communities.
“Despite the massive government cuts to our budget, we delivered a balance budget with no cuts to services while launching exciting regeneration projects, creating a 10-year economic development strategy and continuing to transform the way we do our businesses to ensure we are a modern and efficient council ready for the future.
“A number of these changes are still taking place and we thank residents for their patience as we ensure we are in the best place to provide you with the best possible service in the years to come.
“What this report really demonstrates how our hardworking staff continue to do amazing work to ensure we are great to work with, lead the way and deliver for our communities.”
You can read the full report here - END OF YEAR REPORT 2018/2019