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Improving our environment, aiding South Somerset’s recovery from the Covid-19 and protecting our future

| District

Plan to tackle climate change, boost the local economy and ensure South Somerset District Council’s legacy of delivering for its communities is secured are all part of this year’s Annual Action Plan.

The plan sets out the wide range of projects and work that will be undertaken in 2022/23 to help enable our vision of ensuring our communities can enjoy a naturally beautiful and sustainable environment, which also allows business to flourish and good homes to be delivered.

It also sets out how we will work to make South Somerset a place where our communities are safe, vibrant and healthy and have access to exceptional cultural and leisure activities.

The plan – which can be seen in full on our website – was unanimously approved by our District Executive committee on Thursday (February 17) and it will need to be ratified by Full Council later this month.

Council Leader Val Keitch said: “I am proud to lead South Somerset District Council and I am delighted to put forward this plan which is ambitious, innovative and has the best interests of our residents at its heart.

Our Annual Action plan sets out how we will accelerate action to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change and enable healthy communities which are sustainable and enjoy a high quality of life.

It will also help businesses to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, while supporting growth within the South Somerset economy in partnership with other organisations and ensure housing is provided and communities are equipped to meet the existing and future needs of residents and employers.

And, as we look to the future, it will ensure a safe and legal transition to the new Somerset Council on 1 April 2023.”

What was achieved in 2021/22?

From ensuring more than £10M in grants to support business through the pandemic were delivered, to planting 1,650 trees and providing a new leisure centre for Chard, there were a wide range of achievements in the past 12 months.

This also includes providing almost £90,000 in Community Grants covering arts, community transport, sports, community buildings and more, alongside setting up the South Somerset Opportunities Hubs to provide employment support for businesses and individuals while preventing hundreds of vulnerable people from facing homelessness through dedicated support.

What will be delivered in 2022/23?

The Annual Action Plan sets out our five key priorities for the next 12 months alongside a range of other work.

The priorities are:

Environment – Actions will include installing 50 electric vehicle charging points across our car parks; expanding the No Mow Conservation initiative to appropriate parishes across the district; relaunch and celebrate the River Parrett Trail; continue our programme to decarbonise SSDC buildings and much more.

Healthy, self-reliant communities – Actions will include investing in key local volunteer sector organisations (Spark and Citizens Advice South Somerset) to support local people; deliver three new youth facilities to replace existing skate parks in Yeovil; Invest in the growth of Careline and test new initiatives to reduce social isolation and much more.

Economy and Covid-19 recovery – Actions will include completing the Chard Regeneration project while continuing work on the regeneration of the town centres in Yeovil and Wincanton; support manufacturing hub (M-Hub) in Yeovil in partnership with the Chamber of Trade; support initiatives which ensure investment in Martock, Langport, Crewkerne, Somerton, Wincanton, Castle Cary, Bruton, Milborne Port, Ilminster, Chard, and South Petherton.

Improving places where we live – Actions will include developing the Octagon Theatre into a flagship Theatre and Cultural Hub; planning the development of an Eastern relief road in Chard; delivery of a Passivhaus Scheme with partners in South Petherton; improvements to homeless/ rough sleeper accommodation in the district and much more.

Local Government Reorganisation – Actions will include working in partnership across Somerset to secure a transition to a new Unitary Council for Somerset by 1 April 2023 while protecting essential services for South Somerset residents during the transition and much more.

The full Annual Action Plan is published on our website.

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