We have been moving forward with important projects such as this, alongside our response to the pandemic. The demand for temporary accommodation is expected to increase later in the year, once the eviction ban is lifted, making this project even more important. This will mean that we can provide many more short-stay homes for people who need them.

Preventing homelessness and rough sleeping is a key priority for the council and we are really pleased to have successfully accessed funding to support us, and our partners, with this work. The grants we have accessed are being used to provide on-going accommodation, as well as extending Stonepillow's Housing First scheme; and helping Stonepillow to expand their accommodation.

The number of rough sleepers in our district is now lower than it has been for many years. A number of those who we have accommodated have been doing really well, and quite simply, their lives have been transformed. Not only is this down to the fantastic team we have at the council, but also our partners at Stonepillow, Heart and the Four Streets project, all of whom make such a huge contribution to supporting rough sleepers.

Another key project we have been moving forward with is the Local Plan. This aims to make Chichester more resilient and will create a fairer, healthier, safer and greener district. This is more vital than ever in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and gives us the opportunity to create a better future for our residents and businesses.

It's no secret that planning is a complex area. What our officers have been doing is making sure that that we have the evidence to back up our investigations. This is absolutely critical, because when the Local Plan Review is submitted to the Planning Inspector to be considered, we have to show that we have done everything we can to consider all of the available options. If our evidence shows that certain things are not possible, the Inspector should take this into consideration when reviewing the targets set by Government. Two of the areas that we are currently focusing on are roads and waste water. My colleague, Cllr Susan Taylor, who is our Deputy Leader and cabinet member for planning, has recently issued an update on this, which can be found at: latest news and we intend to continue to regularly update you on our progress. We're also encouraging people to sign up to our Local Plan email newsletter by forwarding their details to publicrelations@chichester.gov.uk

I'm also pleased to tell you that we have given the go-ahead to trial a kerbside collection scheme for textiles and small waste electrical and electronic items. The trial will start this summer and will cover 75% of the district. Items such as old toasters, kettles and hairdryers will be collected in the trial areas separately on a monthly basis and this will coincide with a recycling collection day. The trial has been funded by a £68,000 grant from West Sussex County Council and will run until early 2022. You can find out more here: latest news. We are really pleased to be introducing this scheme because it's vital that we recycle as much as we possibly can.

Finally, I want to update you on the vaccination programme in the district. I'm pleased to say that our NHS colleagues are making excellent progress and are confident that they will have offered the first vaccination to all of the government's top four priority groups by 15 February.

Overall, Sussex is the fifth fastest area in the country to roll out the vaccine and as of last week over 302,000 vaccinations have been delivered across Sussex. The number of those vaccinated in the district is very much in line with the rest of Sussex.

You can also be assured that the NHS is working incredibly hard to vaccinate people as quickly as they can and that they are listening to the needs of local people. Over the past month, we have worked closely with them, sharing your concerns and views, which they have listened and responded to. This includes relooking at options for a vaccination site in central Chichester. You can find the very latest updates here: Coronavirus support for residents or by signing up to our email newsletter.

Please keep safe and take care.

Best Wishes

 

Cllr Eileen Lintill

Leader of Chichester District Council