Top Derbyshire Dales councillors set out new policy priorities

Derbyshire Dales District council leader Garry Purdy and deputy leader Susan Hobson pictured at Matlock Town Hall.
Derbyshire Dales District council leader Garry Purdy and deputy leader Susan Hobson pictured at Matlock Town Hall.

The new leadership team at Derbyshire Dales District Council has set out its priorities for the next four years.

Council leader Garry Purdy and deputy leader Susan Hobson say their key objectives are climate change, the economy, affordable housing, tourism, jobs and the development of new business.

Coun Purdy said: “We have an excellent councillor in our ranks who has expertise in climate change so we have set up a working group.

“I want to build on the good work that has been done to create better opportunities for larger businesses to come into the Dales - that’s an area I think we really need to tap into.”

He added: “We also want to tackle the fact that the Derbyshire Dales has one of the lowest wage economies in the country yet some of the highest priced properties. There’s a real dichotomy there.

“People in our villages can’t afford to stay in their villages so I want to develop what we call ‘real’ affordable homes.”

The council will pursue the new policy agenda amid continuing financial restrictions, with the Government’s local authority spending review having been put on hold for the change of Prime Minister.

Coun Purdy said: “If this was a business we would have gone bankrupt a long time ago. We take our hat off to the staff who have done a fantastic job keeping this council liquid.

“Brexit worries me. We are given to believe a no-deal Brexit is going to cost £39-billion, so can we see an end to austerity? I don’t think so.”

Coun Hobson added “We are hoping there will be more leeway for district councils, but we simply don’t know.

“I think most residents are realistic. They know what’s going on. They just want to be sure we are giving them the best deal and that’s what we intend to do.”