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Work to create healthier eco-friendly communities highlighted in report

Work to improve people’s lives by creating healthier communities has been highlighted in a council’s performance report.

In particular, South Oxfordshire District Council has allocated funds for a range of projects to improve Didcot as part of its Garden Town status.

Garden towns focus on providing community benefits, improving the high street, encouraging healthy lifestyles and helping to tackle climate change.

Some £100,000 has been allocated for tree planting, while £54,000 has been set out to improve cycling and walking routes.

A further £30,000 has been awarded for public arts and culture while £45,000 is for projects to increase health and wellbeing.£20,000 has been earmarked for a retail strategy to help local businesses thrive.

The figures were published as part of the council’s commitment to openness and transparency, which sees it publish quarterly reports that detail its performance against its corporate priorities:

  • Protect and restore our natural world
  • Openness and accountability
  • Action on Climate Emergency
  • Improved economic and community wellbeing
  • Homes and infrastructure that meet local needs
  • Investment that rebuilds financial viability

Other key work highlighted in the latest report, which covers the period from October to December 2022, included £730,000 of funding secured to support rural businesses and communities, plans for tree planting at five sites across the district and more than £1.3m paid to parish councils through the Community Infrastructure Levy – money developers pay when building in the local area.

Cllr Andrea Powell, Cabinet Member for Corporate Services, Policy and Programmes, said: “Openness and accountability are key corporate priorities so I am always delighted when we publish these reports and our residents can see exactly what we’re doing to improve their lives and to deliver the priority projects identified in our Corporate Plan.

“The money allocated for Didcot Garden Town means we can continue to help deliver homes that meet local needs while also improving community wellbeing and tackling the climate emergency.

“It’s also pleasing to see more tree and hedge planting across the district as they are great for the environment and community well-being.”

The council has also published its Climate Action Plan quarterly performance report for the same period. The report looks specifically at its performance delivering the council’s commitment of taking Action on the Climate Emergency and its target of becoming a carbon neutral council by 2025.

Among the actions highlighted were an application made for greener technology to lower energy bills and carbon emissions at Cornerstone Arts Centre, awarding £34,000 to town and parish councils to take climate action, and including energy efficiency and carbon reduction in considering contracts with external partners.

The full reports can be found at the South Oxfordshire District Council datahub page.