Peak Park Deal, and thank you

I wanted to thank those of you who have been involved in examining our expenditure for savings. I’ve been immensely impressed by the positive attitude that has accompanied this task. People have, in the main, taken another long, hard look at what we’re doing, and come up with sensible suggestions. This comes, I know, after a hard MTFS process last year, and therefore it’s difficult. Thank you.

I met with Sarah Fowler, the CE of the Peak District National Park, and Ian Stephenson, CE of Derbyshire County Council this week, in the first of what we hope will be regular meetings to make sure that we get the best for the residents of this beautiful area. Having lived in Germany and the United States, it makes me smile that we have such a relaxed attitude to national parks. In Germany, designating an area as a national park effectively bars entry by people so that nature can take priority. In the UK, we allow people to live in the parks, and indeed, the communities and skills are as carefully nurtured as the natural habitats. I think that we have got it right. We’ve got a Peak Park Deal, which we’ve worked out with Sarah and her team, and the Staffordshire Moorlands District Council team. It’s a good plan, and we’ll work on developing it.

The Shire Leaders and Chief Executives quarterly meeting took place in the Shropshire Council chamber.  We’re all grappling with the same issues – shrinking budgets, devolution, integration of health and care and academisation of schools. There’s always something to learn from our colleagues, but it’s quite reassuring to understand that we’re actually well up with the pack, to use a running term. We have some work to do to develop our own themes of devolution, but it seems clear that not rushing into the cities-focused arrangements last year was the right decision. We’ve got a good level of consensus for enhancing what we have already, providing better integration for the county and its residents.


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