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Residents can see for themselves how money is being spent and services delivered thanks to an annual progress report.

Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council is presenting an annual report, detailing its performance set against its four-year development plan to 2026.

Its priorities are:

• building the local economy;

• supporting healthy, safe and active communities;

• creating town centres that are attractive day and night for everyone;

• the ‘One Council’ approach to maximise resources and deliver cost-efficient services for residents.

Simon Tagg, Leader of Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, said it was essential the authority was open about its work on behalf of its communities.

He said: “We regularly publish information throughout the year about waste collection, town centre footfall, food inspections, the volume of inquiries handled by our staff and so on – and this first annual report for the year 2022/23 is part and parcel of that openness.

“We were praised highly at the beginning of this year by a Local Government Association review of what we do for our residents, but we know we can always do better.”

That LGA report praised the council’s financial management and clear, steady leadership, and for attracting “enviable amounts of Government funding to deliver physical regeneration”.

It also highlighted:

• strong financial management and stability;

• the work of the ‘One Council’ approach to redesigning delivery of services after the pandemic;

• the authority is on target to make a second yearly budget saving of £1 million;

• tireless work in the face of the unprecedented problems at Walleys Quarry, which led to the operator withdrawing its challenge to an Abatement Notice forcing it to recognise the problem.

Other aspects highlighted for 2022/23 include working to reduce rough sleeping from 49 cases to six, winning ‘safer streets’ funding to address anti-social behaviour, reducing carbon emissions, developing a full programme of events to celebrate the Borough’s 850thanniversary and winning a 20th successive Gold Award in Britain in Bloom.

Measuring the council against other, comparable authorities, the Borough Council was in the top performing 25 per cent for the low cost of collecting Council Tax, processing planning applications on time and receiving low numbers of complaints.

The authority was also in the top half of councils for low waste collection costs, high recycling rates and low numbers of fly-tipping incidents.

Simon Tagg added: “Residents want to live and work in pleasant, clean and safe surroundings with their council delivering cost-effective services with minimum fuss.

“We’re committed to doing that as simply and efficiently as possible and we will continue to do all we can to keep it that way, whether it’s protecting and improving green spaces, supporting investment in Kidsgrove, or redeveloping Newcastle town centre.”

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