Derbyshire County Council unveils its plans for next four years

Councillor Barry Lewis (centre) with the new county council cabinet.
Councillor Barry Lewis (centre) with the new county council cabinet.

Derbyshire County Council has unveiled a new plan outlining its key priorities for the next four years.

The ‘Working for Derbyshire’ draft document has been drawn up following the local elections in May when the Conservatives wrestled control from Labour.

Now views are being sought on the draft to help shape the future of the county.

Council Leader Barry Lewis said: “We’re extremely proud of Derbyshire and are committed to making it an even better place to live, visit and work.

“It’s a great responsibility but we’re more than up to the job, with our new council plan setting out what we intend to do and how we intend to do it.”

The priorities for the year ahead include:

n Working efficiently and effectively

n Unlocking economic growth and access to economic opportunities

n Repairing and improving the condition of Derbyshire’s roads

n Improving accessibility in rural communities

n Investing in employment and skills

n Improving social care

n Transforming services for people with learning disabilities

n Keeping children and adults safe

n Supporting local library services

n Promoting Derbyshire as a global cultural and tourist destination.

But Coun Anne Western, Labour Group leader, said: “The Conservatives came in on a manifesto that isn’t affordable and they are now spending money they haven’t got.

“They think that privatising and outsourcing will save money but it won’t.

“It will just reduce the quality of services and increase the risk of services failing.

“This is the first step down the road that leads to a failed council like Kensington and Chelsea.

“One of their flagship projects is the ‘re-start’ of their £30m Care Programme. This was their plan in 2013 and it involved the wholesale closure of Derbyshire County Council residential homes for older people.”

Coun Western said she was ‘very worried’ about the council’s future - claiming it was led by ‘part-timers’ who ‘don’t seem to understand or care about the consequences of their plans’.

The draft plan will be considered for approval by full council on Wednesday, September 13.

The council’s cabinet has already approved the plan for consultation.

Residents have until September 1 to comment on the draft plan at www.derbyshire.gov.uk/councilplan.