Cllr Elizabeth Campbell sets out plans for a borough that is greener, safer and fairer

Published: Wednesday 1 March 2023

At the Full Council meeting on Wednesday 1 March 2023, Cllr Elizabeth Campbell set out the Council's plan for a borough that is greener, safer and fairer. Below is the speech in full.

Find out more about the Council Plan 2023-2027.

Tonight marks an important moment for the borough.

After winning the local elections last year, we vowed to build on our manifesto and come back with a four year plan for the Council and the borough we serve.

And today is that day.

Today we start a journey to become the best Council for a borough that is greener, safer and fairer.

This mission is set, in part, by the bereaved families and survivors from Grenfell who told us directly one legacy they want to see from the tragedy in 2017, is this Council simply being the best Council.

Not only should we listen to that, we should be humbled by it.

People who lost everything in the tragedy, their loved ones, their possessions, their homes.

They are standing there, speaking with us, and encouraging this organisation to be better than it was before.

Mr Mayor, becoming the best can be subjective but the leadership team and senior management in this Council are in lockstep.

It means not only listening to residents, but taking action and demonstrating that we care.

It is not just what we do, but it’s the way that we do it.

Whether you believe ‘being the best’ can be measured or not, it doesn’t really matter.

What we are looking for here is creating and improving a culture.

Aiming to be the best could equally apply to a call from someone who has a difficult personal issue they need help with, or it could be procuring a multi-million-pound housing project that could benefit thousands of people.

The Council needs to aim for better, always. Have that mindset. Be better than our peers and be better than all previous versions of this organisation.

Mr Mayor, we have met with residents, including the citizens panel, and those impacted most by the Grenfell tragedy, and we ran a series of workshops, conversations, and events right across this borough.

Throughout the conversation, which includes feedback on the doorstep, I have been struck by the universal theme of improving the way we talk and listen to people, and care about people.

It is clear – it is crystal clear – that every phone call, every email, and every face-to-face meeting is important, and needs to be just as important to us.

Every contact counts.

Mr Mayor, the borough is united in what it wants to be.

People agree with our three clear main ambitions, to be greener, to be safer, to be fairer.

This means delivering major public space improvements.

Finishing what we started on housing – creating safer housing and building the hundreds of new homes we have promised.

Spending sensibly.

Tackling climate change head on through investment in schools, public buildings, the council fleet.

And making it easy at every step of the way for residents and businesses to support these ambitions.

It means having a relentless focus, day in day out, on housing, public spaces, net zero, customer service.

Doing all we do with care, and with the highest levels of competence.

Our track record in recent years is good.

There are numerous examples.

We have kept tax low and we have spent taxpayers money sensibly.

We have halved rough sleeping in the last three years, with new approaches which directly informed Government policy, meaning people are being helped off the streets and into work and a better life.

Over the past four years, we have protected and enhanced our very special, vibrant, beautiful local places.

We have helped our high streets bounce back after the global pandemic and helped set up three local Business Improvement Districts, attracting inward investment of more than £15 million.

We successfully led London’s al fresco revolution for two summers running and will do so again this summer.

Portobello and Golborne were awarded Best Large Outdoor Market, with the national association describing it as 'cosmopolitan, world renowned and without doubt, a major London attraction'. 

And as we promised in 2019, we have progressed our New Local Plan to its final stage.

It will help us cut emissions, green our housing stock and bring in new technologies sensitively, like solar panels on listed properties.

Our public spaces and green spaces are seeing an investment of over £30 million, creating areas where people want to spend time.

And let’s not forget our fantastic museums, and our own Leighton House, fit for a King, who on a recent royal visit was heard to say, “I love this place”.

Well, we do too.

And we are looking forward to celebrating the King’s coronation later this year, with community funding made available to our residents for events, free applications for street parties.

Hopefully the group sat opposite feel the same, and they too want to make sure the communities they represent don’t miss out.

Mr Mayor, colleagues, we said we will make housing safer, we are doing it.

We said we will build more homes, we are doing it.

We said we will improve and create amazing public spaces, we are doing it.

Deliver Council net zero by 2030 and inspiring borough net zero by 2040? We are doing it.

Being careful with your money and keeping taxes low, we are already doing it.

Council tax frozen, and a £100 rebate for those who really need it.

And focusing on continually improving customer service and customer care, we are already doing it.

From today we are focused on becoming the best Council for a borough that is greener, safer and fairer.

Redoubling these efforts starts tonight, with our very own budget.

Mr Mayor. thanks to the efforts of those on this bench with me, we will freeze council tax to support people with the cost of living, and go further by providing a £100 cost of living rebate for people living in properties that are council tax band A to D.

This is putting back a total of £1.7m into the pockets of residents, at a time when they really need it, in the wake of Covid-19, in the face of high living costs.

I can also announce we will be investing £14 million into buildings in this borough to accelerate our net zero commitments. This includes a ringfenced £8 million fund for schools to achieve greater energy efficiency.

Mr Mayor, on top of that, we will immediately launch a programme to better connect our own staff with the communities they serve, no matter what their role or position is.

We will be asking every officer in the Council to spend at least two days a year volunteering in the borough on local projects and with local organisations, every year.

This is about connection, compassion, and understanding and being part of the communities we serve.

Tomorrow, I am going to Trellick Tower with the deputy leader, to support a local charity which provides books to children.

Mr Mayor,over the coming months, attention will turn to what happens next with Grenfell Tower and the work of the memorial commission.

Our own attention never turns away from Lancaster West and the surrounding area, and our commitments to them.

We are full steam ahead – co-designing ground-breaking projects, where residents in North Kensington take the lead and we follow.

Learning from what we are doing together at Lancaster West and taking that successful housing model and our green initiatives into the rest of the borough.

Finally Mr Mayor, thank you to all the people who took part and helped us bring this Council plan together.

This is the start.

We have the peoples’ priorities, they are now our priorities, and the hard work continues. We will redouble our efforts, from today.

Thank you.