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Ask the Leader

The Leader of Wealden District Council is Councillor Bob Standley. He will be pleased to answer any question you may have about Wealden District Council's policies, or other matters involving the Council, which you think are of interest to people living, working or visiting Wealden.

To ask your question, please use our or Ask the Leader - Submit a Question Form

Councillor Standley is the Conservative Leader of the Cabinet of Wealden District Council and has represented Wadhurst since 2004.

Specific inquiries about particular services such as planning applications, licensing or accommodation can be reported online. Please use our 'directory of tasks on online services' to find the appropriate form. You can also email info@wealden.gov.uk.

We will try to respond within ten working days of receiving your question and your question and the Leader's reply will then be posted on the website. Please provide your name, we don't need your address. If we think the question is inappropriate for publication we will contact you by email to say why.

For information on any of the Ask The Leader questions listed please contact our Communications Officer on pr@wealden.gov.uk.

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The latest Ask the Leader questions and answers are shown below. To view more questions and answers, use the search above, or the 'In this Section' menu.

Outsourcing and bin washing

Question

Dear Sir, I have not had cause to write to you lately but I now have 2 causes to complain to you about. The first being the rise in the Council tax for this coming year. I have lots of friends that worked in the Council for a lot of years and they told me all that went on regarding the decision to out source most of the services to many different bunches of what can only be described as clowns. I understand that the in house service put together a plan not only to do it cheaper than Kier but also had plans to make the council possibly enough money from outside contracts to make our refuse collections even cheaper. The main reason that yourselves declined this was that you all thought (and we all know what that leads to) that through economy of scales this was the cheaper option (how wrong can you all be?) . Not only is the service a complete joke it has now started to cost us more money which we all knew would happen but it makes no odds to the councillors as they are all wealthy people. So why has the tax had to go up when you tried to tell us the services would be cheaper ?? My next beef is something that is not a service from the council but does involve them. Why is it that the company who wash the bins are allowed to tip out their dirty water onto the road with all the food waste etc and anything else in the bin? I understand that this water should be contained on the vehicle and disposed of in the correct place. They even have the cheek to wash out neighbours bins at the end of my drive and I do not have them wash my bin. Does this not amount to fly tipping ?? In which case the council are responsible for stopping this so I will expect some action to stop this practise if not I will take it further and will also inform the environment agency about it and let them know that you failed to act on it. One last moan tell the dustmen not to leave the bin in the middle of my drive please put it back where you got it from. Regards Julie

Answer

Dear Julie Hamer I totally disagree with your analysis of our outsourcing policy. Apart from the derogatory comments you make regarding our contracting partners, you should realise that it is because of our outsourcing policy that we have been able to avoid any increases in our council tax for the past five years. It has helped reduce Wealden’s budget by £3million a year, without any change to the quality of our services. And the freeze on council tax has been welcomed by Wealden’s households. In 2014 we asked residents what they thought of Wealden and they told us. Some 95% said they were satisfied with Wealden as a place to live, 75% were satisfied with the way the Council ran things and 67 % felt they received value for money for the proportion of council tax they pay to Wealden. So you will see why I think it has been a success, and I am not alone. Our decision this year to raise council tax for the first time in five years will help compensate for the steady decline in the amount of Revenue Support Grant we receive from the Government. I have made some enquiries regarding your second point. Any solid matter that comes out of the bin when cleaned should be bagged and properly disposed of. To be treated as fly tipping, there would need to be the equivalent of at least a bin sack of waste. Regarding the water, this comes under the remit of the Environment Agency. We are not aware of it being an issue but you may wish to contact them. I am sorry to hear the refuse collectors are not returning your bins to their original place – please email your address to recycling@wealden.gov.uk and we will contact the round supervisor about the matter. Regards Bob Standley

Five year housing supply

Question

On 31st March 2014 a report published by WDC on the 5 Year Housing Supply showed a surplus over requirement of 7.8 years (+1237 dwellings). Please explain how this has reduced to 4.28 years and how many dwellings are now deemed to be required. Michael Oates

Answer

Dear Mr Oates, The main reason for the difference in the two figures is due to the publication of the Council’s draft Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) in October 2015. Prior to the publication of this document, the Council’s housing requirement was assessed in relation to the Wealden Core Strategy which was based on providing 450 houses per year. The draft SHMA, however, included for the first time a figure for the District’s Objectively Assessed Housing Need. This figure was substantially higher (735 per year). This means that substantially more houses would need to be included within the supply in order to achieve a 5 year housing land supply. Regards Bob Standley




For information on any of the Ask The Leader questions listed please contact our Communications Officer on pr@wealden.gov.uk.

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