Skip to content

Leader’s Report – Annual Council Meeting 22 May 2024

I am standing here tonight proud that we are one year into our second term leading the Vale of White Horse District Council. In the everyday, I think it is sometimes easy to forget just how well this council is performing, and it is down to the leadership of the people sitting here supporting me tonight. We also mustn’t overlook those who hold us to account, a strong and important part of any democracy.

We have so many milestones to celebrate, and we should take time to reflect on this for a moment. It was not that long ago, for instance, that we voted for this council to become a housing provider for the first time in decades. Our council now owns houses that families are preparing to move into as we speak – this is what said we would do, and we should be proud of it, because I believe it is the start of something big.

Every day, our cabinet is setting a strategic vision for the future of our district based on our values and building on what we had already started in the previous term. We set our priorities when we were elected and we are continuing our work to deliver them.

Currently we are working on our new corporate plan that will set out a framework for the council to deliver over the next four years. To do this, we have been listening to our residents, asking them what they think is important, what they think is at the ‘heart of their Vale’;

When we have asked residents this before what we hear aligns very closely to the principles we believe in – protecting the environment, delivering affordable housing and providing thriving communities in which we all can live. And that is why we are here today – we are doing the work that the people who elected us wanted us to do.

And together with officers we are working. We are delivering a service that we can all be proud of and one that is achieved while still being in one of the lowest council tax bands in the country. The effective leadership of the cabinet is currently working with officers to deliver 57 major strategic projects that also includes those massive projects that set the tone for future generations – the Joint Local Plan is the most crucial and pivotal policy document that will come out of this council and will ensure our residents are given the planning policies that reflect our vision and champions their needs.

So as we go into this year I think we can reflect on the great things we have achieved. We have clearly set out the framework and are delivering the strategy, values, and purpose that residents are looking for in their district council. I am buoyed up by the milestones we have achieved in the last year and looking into the next twelve months, there is definitely more to come.

Cllr Bethia Thomas

Leader of Vale of White Horse District Council