Portfolio holder for Transport, cllr Yash Gupta has defended his record over the past year in Cabinet.
We gave Yash the opportunity to tell us about his achievements as well as that of the Cabinet.
Cllr Gupta said: “Most of the local residents are aware about the cuts imposed by the Central Government and also the huge budget deficit left by the previous administration. The Cabinet under the able leadership of Cllr John Kent worked hard with the officers and local residents to minimise the impact of these cuts on front line services used by our residents. The monthly monitoring of departmental budgets by the Portfolio Holders led to the balanced Council budget with increase in Council’s Reserves. A Good Achievement!
Let me highlight some achievements of my portfolio during the year;
Last May I was given the Portfolio for the Environment which included two big departments of the Council; Cleaning & Greening and Highways & Transport.
In the first three months the Cleaning & Greening had three main achievements;
Firstly the new waste management contract was implemented successfully in the first week of June, 2010 from Veolla to the Council. There was an estimated savings of two million pounds a year for the Council by changing this contract.
Secondly the good publicity given to recycling helped to increase it from 36% to 46 % in the first three months.
Thirdly the Council was awarded Three Green Flags for the well maintained parks.
I handed over this portfolio to another colleague (cllr Valerie Morris-Cook) in September, 2010.
Highways and Transport Portfolio; There are a number of achievements in this Portfolio but I will mention a few which helped to improve services for local residents;
Efficient delivery of Highways & Transport Capital Works Programme;
In June, 2010 the Cabinet approved these works programme for the year which also included one fifth of the uncompleted works from the previous year-2009-10.
The departments also received additional funding for the Winter maintenance and filling winter pot holes during the year. These were also including in the work programme for the year.
A monthly monitoring group was set up of officers from the Council and Vertex under the chairmanship of the Portfolio Holder which helped to finish all these work programmes on time.
To regularise the future annual works programme, the portfolio holder got the Cabinet approval for next year’s programme of works in March 2011 instead of June thus giving enough time to officers to finish these works on time.
Submission of Transport Implementation Plan-2011-2015
After a wide consultation with all stake holders including councillors and the residents this Five Year Plan was submitted to the Department of Transport in April 2011. This Plan sets out Council’s objectives for improving Transport ie easy access; reducing congestion; improving air quality and improving road safety.
Access to Local Sustainable Transport Fund;
The Council submitted a bid in April 2011 for five million pounds to improve transportation in the Borough. This bid is over a period of four years. It was a real hard work by the officers to submit this bid in such a short time.
Improving Road Safety in the Borough.
By delivering a focussed package of educational, promotional and physical measures by the Road Safety Team, there has been a reduction of 38% in road accidents since 2005. The co-operation from the residents and our schools and colleges is appreciated in promoting road safety in the Borough.
Because of the Anti-social activities of some people , a large number of gully covers were stolen from our roads recently which caused a huge safety hazard. The portfolio holder led the campaign to stop this menace. With the co-operation of local press, local residents and the police it is now almost stopped.
Improvements in bus patronage;
There has been a steady improvement in bus usage by our residents. This year further increase. The portfolio holder led the campaign of better bus services for the Borough. He attended bus users group meetings and also talked to bus passengers on the buses.
Sadly this year there is a reduction of £200, 000 in bus subsidies which might impact some bus routes. The department is monitoring the impact.
All these achievement were made possible by a close working relationship between the portfolio holder and officers from the Council and the Vertex; The cooperation of the Councillors and the local residents have also contributed to these successes.