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“Investing in Test Valley” reaps rewards for residents.

The results for the second year of Test Valley Borough Council’s Corporate Plan “Investing in Test Valley” was announced last night.

At a meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, members endorsed the progress being made against the 2015-19 plan and were briefed on the projects planned for year three.

Leader of the Council, Councillor Phil North said: “The Corporate Action Plan shows in detail how the Council intends to make progress by focusing on the actions it will take forward against each of the priorities of the Corporate Plan. As a result it informs decision making and allocation of resources across the Council.”

“Highlights for the Council this past year have included our investments in attracting and maintaining new business - including workplace skills – building over 260 new affordable homes; our work with local communities and increasing outdoor and leisure opportunities.

I look forward to working with members and communities and continuing our  achievements in year three.” 

The highlights from the plan’s four ambitions are as follows:

Live where the supply of homes reflects local needs

266 new affordable homes were built in 2016/17, totalling 513 over the first two years of the plan; a new housing strategy was published, and a new Community Planning Toolkit was developed and launched

Next year will see the Council preparing for the implications of the Homelessness Reduction Act . The Council already has a 91% success rate in preventing homelessness. In addition, we will start to review the Local Plan, ensuring early consultation with communities.

Work and do business

Andover benefited from a new £3.9m Skills and Technology centre; £56k of funding was provided for skills training at Nursling and Rownhams; a new Economic Development Strategy was produced and enhancements made to both Andover and Romsey town centres.

In Year three, a new tourism website will be developed and co-funded with Romsey Future partners; there will be continued support for the Andover BID campaign and an Economic Development action plan will be produced.

Enjoy the natural and built environment

A new 30 year leisure contract began worth £18m of investment in facilities for the whole borough and work is underway to evaluate the new development areas of Abbotswood in Romsey and Augusta Park in Andover.

Next year will see £2.3m of developer contributions towards increasing public access to the countryside in Andover; a new Green Spaces strategy; continued enhancements to Romsey Town Centre; a management plan delivered for Fishlake Meadows together with the Hampshire and IoW Wildlife Trust; and the Waste Strategy finalised and an action plan started.

Contribute to and be part of a strong community

A new 20 year Andover vision was launched earlier in the year, and the Romsey Future action plan continued to be developed and strengthened. We received national interest in our community empowerment approach and made a submission on the new Test Valley wards to the Local Government Boundary Commission.

99 organisations received total funding of almost £75, 500 from the Councillor Grant Scheme and 15 organisations received total funding of £250k from the Community Asset Fund.

In Year three, an action plan will be developed for the Andover Vision and we will continue to work with partners to deliver on the action plan for Romsey Future. We will also continue to work with members to build on the Community Councillor role.

In addition, through Project Enterprise, over £35.4m has been approved for property investment. £18.7 m has already been invested on completed projects, of which £6.7m was completed in 2016/17. The average return on investment in the year was 7.7% and net rental income from projects was £927k.

The majority of the 21 projects included in year two will remain a corporate focus in year three and full details can be found here.