This is what Denise Craghill said at the York City Council Executive meeting on Thursday 14 July:
The City Vision & Council Plan – A Framework for Delivery
Well, this is interesting! We seem to have something along the lines of a political vision for 2030 – much of which it would be difficult to disagree with – local people can access jobs and housing, the Council provides excellent frontline services and community facilities, residents feel empowered, poverty has been tackled, we are the Greenest City in the North … etc etc
All very lovely! This vision is then followed by a performance framework – a series of processes for assessing progress against objectives – no doubt very laudable and useful.
But it seems to me there is a huge gap in the middle here and the danger that this ‘high level’ vision will mean as little to staff and city partners as the peer review identified is the current situation. Surely the political task here is to tackle the contradictions in the vision and set out short, medium and long term objectives for tackling them?
For example how are you going to provide access to affordable housing when there is such a huge affordability gap in the city? Are you going to proactively work with residents’ groups who are offering alternative affordable housing models, for example by providing council land for such initiatives or are you going to continue side-lining them? How are you going to provide excellent community facilities when you are actually in the process of off-loading as many as possible to the voluntary and community sectors who may or may not have the capacity to sustain them? How are you going to invest in sustainable transport and improve air quality when you have prioritised capital spending on creating more roadspace and therefore more traffic on the ring road and have just been cutting bus services? How are you going to vastly increase recycling rates when you have an incinerator coming on-stream which will undermine recycling and staff capacity to promote recycling in communities is very limited?
All these objectives are perfectly possible to achieve with the political will but as far I can see from this we are still waiting for a clear plan from this administration as to how you intend to go about it.