Serving the people in the parish of Eckington

NEDDC Leaders Briefing - December 2022

NEDDC Leaders Briefing - December 2022

For the video please use the link -

Welcome to my latest, and last, Leader's Briefing of the year!

It's December now, so we are all very much on the countdown to Christmas.

I hope you are all looking forward to spending a bit of time with your family and opening a few presents.

Christmas, we know, is a really hard time for some of our families – and even more so at the moment as we're going through the cost of living crisis.

Hopefully you've seen from my last Leader's Briefing, the NEWS and our website that we are doing a lot of work at the moment to try and support our residents, businesses and communities to deal with the impact of the cost of living crisis.

Whether that's in terms of energy saving advice, helping people manage their bills, signposting them to other forms of community support or explaining some of the government support out there and helping people access that.

Another thing we have recently done, is commit to employing two new community outreach workers, whose job it will be to go out into the community and support residents, particularly those who are struggling at the moment into accessing some of that additional support and to help them to manage their finances.

Our key message to all our communities and residents is if you, or anyone you know, needs our support or needs any help whatsoever, please don't hesitate to get in touch. And don't leave it too long before doing so.

We stand ready to support anyone who needs it though this difficult period we are going through.

Our NEWS magazine and website also includes lots of other handy tips over the festive period, things like our opening times for both the district council building at Mill Lane and our leisure centres, as well as advice in terms of the bin collections. You'll be aware that green bin collections have now been suspended over the winter period.

We obviously know that Christmas time is a time with lots of wrapping paper, presents and recycling, so there's also some information about how to do your recycling and also who to contact in the event of an emergency, particularly during those periods when we are closed down.

We also know that Christmas is a time when unfortunately some people choose to take advantage. So there's lots of useful information on our website about how to protect yourself from burglaries.

Moving on to a bit of different news, the government has recently launched a UK-wide veterans' survey.

The online survey launched on 10 November and will be live for 12 weeks. The survey gives ex-UK Armed Forces personnel and their families the opportunity to provide direct feedback to the government on their experiences, access to and use of services for veterans. It's running for about 12 weeks and started in November, so people have still got a bit of time to complete it, if they haven't already.

Sticking with the theme of veterans, we were recently awarded the Armed Forces Gold Award, as part of the Armed Forces Covenant (you might be aware of this from previous Leader's Briefings).

We are one of only about 630 employers in the whole of the country, out of about seven million, to be awarded this really prestigious award by the Ministry of Defence.

Our Armed Forces Champion, Cllr Martin Thacker, was recently presented with the award by Bruce Spencer, the regional co-ordinator for the scheme working for the MOD.

It's a great achievement for the council and testament to our real commitment to supporting those in the Armed Forces, reservists and veterans as well. I want to thank Martin, as well as our officers, who have worked so hard together to achieve this and make our Council such a great place of work for those in the Armed Forces community.

Moving on, we are offering some free digital training to over 50s.

So if you, or anyone you know, might be interested in finding out more, please go on our website.

From some of my recent Leader's Briefings, you'll be aware of some of the moves afoot at the moment towards the devolution deal for the East Midlands.

This is about Nottinghamshire, Nottingham City and Derbyshire and Derby City working together to get a devolution deal from the government, which could mean substantial investment in the region and having an elected mayor to cover that whole area.

There's a consultation that's currently out at the moment. It runs for several weeks and into the New Year, so please go on the East Midlands Devolution Deal consultation website to give your views.

A bit of breaking news now.

We've just found out from the government that we've had our £2.58m allocation confirmed from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund!

This is funding from the government, following our departure from the European Union, and is all about investing in our communities.

We are using our allocation to support things like investing in parks and play areas, improving shop frontage, improving village hall facilities, helping people with their skills and trying to support people getting into work, among several other things.

We are really pleased to have that funding now confirmed from the government and hopefully you'll start to see some of those improvements happening over the next few months and years. It's a three year deal, so it will take time to deliver.

Another really key project for us is the rebuild of Sharley Park Leisure Centre.

You'll know from my previous briefings that this is a really big project for us.

We've already approved the budget. It's a £23m project, involving quite a significant council investment. But we've also got funding from the Clay Cross Town Deal and from other partners, like Sports England.

The project's all lined up, it's gone through the planning process and we're in the process of signing the contract.

And that means that work will hopefully start quite early on in the New Year. So, by January/February time, we should start to see a bit more activity on site.

It's not going to be a quick process, with the estimated build taking almost two years to deliver the new leisure centre, but I'm sure it will all be worth the wait I'm really excited to seeing it when it's done. Looking at the visuals it looks absolutely fantastic and it's going to make such a difference to residents in Clay Cross and the wider area.

I know one of the key issues for a lot of residents in North East Derbyshire is the issue of fracking.

In 2019 the Government introduced a moratorium on fracking, which essentially stopped it from happening. However, following some of the changes in government recently, fracking was, for a short period of time, put back on the table.

Now that Rishi Sunak is in post, the moratorium has been put back in place and that means very clearly that there will be no fracking in applications coming forward in North East Derbyshire. But I'm also really pleased as a council we've unanimously, on a cross-party basis, agreed we will oppose any fracking in NE Derbyshire should it ever come forward again.

I've recently been spending a bit more time going back to the floor with some of our staff in different areas of the council.

You'll be aware that earlier in the year, myself and Cllr Cupit spent a shift each with some of our refuse teams where we learnt a lot about the work they do day in, day out to keep the district moving and how lost we would be without them.

As well as spending some time on the bins, I also went to Dronfield Sports Centre and spent the morning with leisure staff, helping to carry out tasks like doing a backwash on one of the pools, spending time on reception, doing some health and safety checks and doing a lifeguard mock theory exam, which, I'm afraid to say, I didn't pass unfortunately!

I know how much our residents really appreciate our leisure centres and particularly our really friendly staff who work in them. So it was great to spend a bit of time with them learning a bit more about the work they do and also having the chance to say a big thank you directly.

We'll be doing more of these back to the floor sessions with different teams in the Council over the next few months, so look out for more news on this in the next few months.

Please continue checking our website and social media channels and also our NEWS magazine for all our latest news and information.

Finally, I wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year and look forward to working with you for a prosperous and successful 2023!

Best wishes


Posted: Fri, 16 Dec 2022 13:32 by Emma Smith

Tags: News