Cutting homeless numbers is priority

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CUTTING the number of people living on the streets and increasing work experience placements are two of the district’s top priorities for the new year.

A series of targets for 2014-15 are set to be debated by Chichester District Council’s cabinet on Tuesday (January 7).

The corporate plan outlines six main priorities: promoting economic development, ensuring housing is relevant to help those most in need, using resources effectively, providing clear leadership, supporting vulnerable people and communities and protecting and maintaining the district’s natural and built environments.

A report, set to be considered by councillors at Tuesday’s meeting, said the plan was designed to help the district ‘flourish’.

However, it added: “The years ahead will be extremely challenging as the public purse is being squeezed like never before and we will have to continue to make some very tough decisions.”

It said there would be a greater emphasis on working with partners, including voluntary organisations, to deliver services.

Specific targets included in the plan include increasing the number of work experience placements available in the district by 50 by March, 2015, and supporting ten potential ‘high-growth’ businesses during 2014-15.

Another target is to reduce the number of rough sleepers by 80 per cent by October and to see ‘no increase’ in total crime reported in the district compared to the previous year.

The local plan is also included in the targets, with the aim to adopt the document by October. The corporate plan includes targets to build 110 affordable homes each year and to ‘enable’ an additional 30 affordable homes each year.

The report also includes ‘actions’ from last year’s plan which have been put on hold or cancelled. These include increasing the number of apprenticeships and reviewing housing conditions in the district.

New ‘actions’ for 2014-15 include disposal of council land, for example the former museum site.

Members will discuss all the proposals at a meeting of the council’s cabinet, set to be held at East Pallant House, Chichester, from 9.30am on Tuesday.