BUILDING HOMES FOR THE FUTURE
1. To continue to deliver safe and secure homes
for residents in our borough, Labour will seek
- Build more council houses in Cheshire West and Chester. Over the past four years we are proud to have built the first new Council houses in the Borough for more than 40 years.
- Build affordable housing for rent or sale, and through the planning process, aim for a target of 40% affordable homes in all large developer-led schemes.
- Explore alternative housing models, like community land trusts, self-build and housing co-operatives.
- Extend our charter for private landlords so more renters can be secure in their tenancies. New ways to challenge rogue landlords will be investigated.
- Develop a charter for social landlords in our Borough, so the Council can be a champion and advocate for social housing tenants who are seeking support with repairs, rent arrears, lettings or improvements.
- Bring more empty homes back into use. Over past four years 650 empty properties have successfully been brought back into use.
- Increase penalties on houses left empty for over two years because neighbourhoods shouldn’t fall into disrepair when absent landlords don’t take responsibility for their properties.
- Develop appropriate accommodation to support people with learning disabilities and those recovering from mental illness, helping people to live at home or in supported accomodation.
- Support our local MPs in their campaign for justice for those affected by the leasehold scandal.
MEETING THE CHALLENGE OF RISING HOMELESSNESS
2. The number of homeless people has risen
nationwide due to Tory austerity and the
introduction of Universal Credit. We have
been working hard to help people who find
themselves threatened by homelessness or
having to sleep on the streets.
To tackle rising homelessness in the borough and rough sleeping on our streets:
- Resources will continue to be focused on preventing more people from becoming homeless. In 2016-17 council services supported 2,116 households in Cheshire West and Chester to remain in their homes instead of ending up on the streets or temporary accommodation.
- Work will continue with the voluntary sector, commissioned services and other public services, through groups like ‘Outside In’, to identify ways to better support people with addiction and mental health issues.
- Housing First principles will be embedded and we will continue to work with rough sleepers to help them off our borough’s streets and into the most appropriate accommodation.
- The new homeless pilot in Chester, which offers 24/7 support to homeless people and rough sleepers will be evaluated and developed
- The innovative new model for emergency winter provision for rough sleepers will be developed further in partnership with charity, faith and volunteer groups.
AWARD WINNING CHILDREN’S SERVICES UNDER LABOUR
Over the past four years the demand for Children’s Services has dramatically increased while funding from central government has been cut. There are more families requiring statutory social care, alongside family support services and more children entering care.
Despite the huge pressures on these services, Cheshire West and Chester Council has been recognised as one of the highest performing local authorities in the country in relation to safeguarding children.
In 2018 Cheshire West and Chester’s Edge of Care Team, which provides tailored support to children and families, won the Best Innovation or Demand Management Award from the Association of Public Service Excellence.
The Edge of Care Team was recognised for helping children avoid the care system by listening to the views of children and their families, successfully managing issues and building strong support networks around the family. School attendance, attainment, home conditions and self-esteem have improved for the majority of people the team have supported.
3. The Council’s priority is to keep children in
our Borough safe in their homes or safe in
our care. This commitment is unwavering. To
continue to keep children safe, we will:
- Provide effective support for families through our Early Help service and through developing parental mentoring schemes.
- Tackle issues relating to Domestic Abuse and the causes of domestic abuse, ensuring there are appropriate local services and support available for children who experience or witness domestic abuse.
- Continue to work to recruit more foster carers from Cheshire West and the surrounding area, and develop more local provision for those children who are unable to live in foster care placements.
- Continue to prioritise the safety and wellbeing of children by providing excellent safeguarding and child protection services. Working with partners in health, education and police services, the Council will continue to build good practice across Cheshire West to make sure children are kept safe.
4. Domestic Abuse has a devastating impact on lives. Existing refuge provision will be retained to keep people who are fleeing domestic violence safe, and we will work in partnership to ensure there are appropriate local services and support for all those who experience abuse and are affected by it.
PARTNERING WITH CHESHIRE POLICE & FIRE SERVICES TO KEEP STREETS SAFE
5. Working with Cheshire Police, we will strive to
make neighbourhoods safer by:
- Supporting the creation of community policing hubs in local neighbourhoods. This means Police and Community Support Officers (PCSOs) spends more time in communities and less time clocking in and out at main stations.
- Continuing to joint fund PCSOs and community wardens to help tackle crime and anti-social behaviour in our towns, city and villages.
- Continuing to use Public Space Protection Orders to tackle drug abuse and anti social behaviour.
- The Tory government has cut 20,000 police officers from Britain’s streets since 2010. The next Labour government will recruit an extra 10,000 police officers to make communities safer.
6. Working alongside the Police, local schools and our youth services, we will raise awareness of County Lines drug trafficking, to keep young people safe and help keep drugs off our streets.
7. Despite deep, unprecedented Tory Government cuts to fire services, Labour members of Cheshire Fire Authority will continue to serve the communities of Cheshire West and Chester by making sure there is a safe and effective fire service for all residents in our borough.
8. Streets will be kept safe with our leaf clearance service and a new Streetcare SMART team will identify and prosecute fly-tippers. Working with partners in Town and Parish Councils, and other community organisations, we will expand dog fouling enforcement under a new Borough-wide Public Space Protection Order.
TACKLING DISCRIMINATION, PROMOTING EQUALITY AND FIGHTING PREJUDICE
9. To promote equality and diversity, and build
on our record of tackling discrimination and
prejudice, we will:
- Continue to support festivals like Pride and Diwali, to celebrate the richness of our society.
- Identify street routes that are safe and accessible for wheelchair users and those with mobility problems, ensuring better access to footways using dropped kerbs.
- Work with transport providers to ensure train stations and bus stops are accessible for wheelchair users and people with mobility problems.
- Keep car parking free for Blue Badge holders in any Council-owned pay and display car park for up to four hours.
- Support voluntary and faith groups so Chester can become a City of Sanctuary.
- Help tackle all forms of hate crime through local awareness campaigns, supporting events that bring our community together, and by working closely with the police so perpetrators are brought to justice.
- Strengthen the protection of the most vulnerable adults in our Borough by piloting the introduction of “safeguarding angels”, newly trained volunteers who will champion and uphold the rights of physically and mentally disabled, and infirm adults.
10. Labour will continue to support the Armed Forces Covenant to help people who have served our country to adjust to being back in their community. To represent Armed Forces personnel and veterans, we will retain the Armed Forces Champion on the Council.