Braintree District Council has approved a new annual plan, setting out actions and performance measures for 2023/24 which aims to strengthen and support local communities and grow the local economy.
The annual plan, which was approved at a meeting of Braintree District Council’s Cabinet yesterday (Monday, 13 March), will support the delivery of the council’s Corporate Strategy 2020-2024.
£1million of the council’s New Homes Bonus has been invested to support and strengthen the safety net for residents who need it most in the district through the continued cost of living crisis. This includes providing food security and access to essential goods across the district, helping community groups and organisations provide additional support to the most vulnerable residents and enabling physical and emotional health and wellbeing support with a focus on young people who find it difficult to access services.
In a bid to boost the recovery and regeneration of town centres, improvement works to Halstead and Witham town centres will take place to increase their attractiveness and accessibility.
Supporting the availability of good quality, sustainable and affordable homes that best meet the needs of current and future residents remains a key priority, and a target has been set to deliver another 250 affordable homes over the next year.
Investment has been made into leisure centre improvements including refurbishing the wet and dry changing facilities at Halstead Leisure Centre and replacing the studio and sports hall floors at Braintree Leisure Centre.
Continuing the council’s drive to become a carbon neutral district, it will work with partners to improve the energy efficiency of homes and buildings and protecting and improving the natural environment. Prioritising sustainable travel and transport will be harnessed by introducing more walking and cycling networks across the district. Refurbishment of the wildlife garden in Halstead Public Gardens will take place to enhance biodiversity in the area.
To support the district’s economic growth and improve infrastructure, the council will continue to facilitate the delivery of a new build, multi-purpose community centre in Witham, bringing people together to socialise, learn and access key services, as well as a new purpose-built medical centre in Sible Hedingham. A new business support programme will be delivered at The Plaza enterprise centre to help businesses start, grow and increase productivity.
Braintree District Council will also continue to support people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless on their pathway to independent living through supported housing and move-on accommodation.
Like all councils, Braintree District Council continues to face future budget pressures and increasing demand for services and will continue to work closely with North Essex authorities to explore ways to create greater resilience to benefit the district and reach its full potential, whilst building on opportunities to level up rural communities.
Cllr Graham Butland, Leader of Braintree District Council, said: “The future for the Braintree district looks very exciting as we reach the final year of our Corporate Strategy. This annual plan aims to provide residents with support when they need it, invest in services, encourage and assist businesses to thrive, and work to protect and enhance the beautiful district we live in – all to make the Braintree district the best that it can be.”
The plan can be read online at www.braintree.gov.uk/annualplan202324.