It feels like 2018 has gone in the blink of an eye, and, in my second year as Leader of North Kesteven District Council, I’m immensely proud of what we’ve achieved for residents, businesses and visitors.
Local government finances are always in the news, and the pressure on authorities to become more self-sufficient grows with each day.
At North Kesteven we’re always planning ahead, and we’re working to a ten-year financial strategy rather than a traditional three-year plan.
By being robust we can be more resilient to any changes that might happen, particularly when so much uncertainty remains around Brexit.
But being financially aware doesn’t mean we’re not going to invest in the district – in fact quite the opposite is true.
We have an ambitious investment programme – £200 million over ten years – that’s currently under way.
Only this year, we finished on site and moved operations to our new waste and street scene depot in Metheringham, ensuring the service remains efficient as ever as the district grows now and in the future.
Next door to this, we completed seven new business units – adding to our portfolio of more than 100 around North Kesteven – that allow business to expand, grow and for jobs to be created.
As a council we’ve invested in smaller commercial business premises that tend to have more resilience. We’ve looked to do this longer term inside the district rather than making short term gains.
For us, investing isn’t just about the value in the property – it’s about investing in people and job creation in North Kesteven.
We’ve committed £1.5 million to the Heart of Sleaford project and the regeneration of Newfield Road, a project of more than £8.65 million, continues a pace and is due to be completed in the spring, completely transforming the street and creating lifetime homes for our tenants.
Only recently we’ve consulted on plans to revitalise the National Centre for Craft and Design, a popular venue with visitors numbers increasing year on year, we want to ensure it continues to grow in popularity and support with people visiting from far and wide.
We’re also proud of its local connections, the talented community groups that use it and very much want it to be cherished as both a local and national centre.
There’s so much more we want to do and achieve for the district and are committed to seeing it flourish now and in the future.
And although it is Christmas, we will be hard at work delivering for you all. It’s still very much business as usual, making sure we support the people we’re here to serve.
Also, please spare a thought for our emergency services and everyone working over the festive period, making sure we’re all safe, secure and as well as we can be.
They won’t be having the time with their families and friends that so many of us will get to enjoy. Their efforts mustn’t go unnoticed.
And so as I bring this column to a close, I’d like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous new year. Let’s see what 2019 brings for us all.