Launceston Town Council
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Strategic Plan 2015-2019

The Strategic Plan was Updated in December 2014

Launceston Town Council

Launceston Town Council has 16 elected members.  Elections take place every four years, the last being in May 2013.   The next elections will take place in May 2017.  The Full Council ratifies the decisions made by the committees and makes decisions on the larger issues which affect the council and the town.  The council is non-political.   The Annual Parish Meeting is held in March and the Annual General Meeting of the Council is held in May.  The Council became a Quality Town Council in October 2010.There are six full time and five part-time members of staff.  The Town Clerk is also the Responsible Financial Officer and works 4 days per week.  The Deputy Town Clerk works 3 days per week as does the Accounts Manager.  The two caretakers work for 32/18 hours per week.  The TIC Manager, TIC Assistant Manager, Town Hall Assistant, Property Manager and two groundsmen are all full-time members of staff.  In January 2013 the Council welcomed its first horticultural apprentice.

Launceston Town Council assets and services:

Launceston Town Hall and Guildhall
Lawrence House Museum
Launceston Tourist Information Centre
Launceston Cemetery
Dockacre closed cemetery
Allotments - Dutson, Grammers Park and Kensey Vale
Coach Park - Western Road
Multi-storey car park in Westgate Street
Public conveniences - Westgate Street, Race Hill, The Walk, Newport
War Memorial
Southgate Arch
The Roundhouse, Newport
The Bandroom (leased to Launceston Town Band)
The Green Room (leased to LADS)
Launceston Priory Ruins
Grammers Park and play area
King’s Field and play area
Stourscombe public open spaces
The Rest Garden, Newport
Windmill Wood
Public seats
Bus shelters
Street lights (3)

Launceston Town Council provides the following partnership services with Cornwall Council:

Grass cutting and horticultural work in the town and surrounding parishes
Grass cutting of Highways
Footpaths maintenance
Management of the Town Square
Management of the Parade Ground

Launceston Town Council manages the town square and parade ground on behalf of Cornwall Council.  Maintenance remains the responsibility of Cornwall Council.

The original Strategic Plan set out Launceston Town Council’s aims and objectives for five years from 2008.   The document outlines the policies through which the Town Council will seek to achieve the best possible outcomes for the town and the community. 

The Strategic Plan is based on the terms of reference for the Council’s committees:

Finance & General Purposes

Staffing

Planning and Economic Development

Lawrence House Management

Properties

Environment and Open Spaces

Tourism and TIC Management

Each committee has its own objectives and policies, which flow from the Town Council’s Mission Statement and strategic objectives.  Committee budgets are detailed in the Town Council’s annual budget, which is drawn up in November. 

Mission Statement

The primary role of Launceston Town Council is to provide a democratic and representative voice for the community.  It will support, and contribute towards, the sustainable economic and social well-being of the town, having regard to the needs and wishes of the local community.  Launceston Town Council recognises its obligations to deliver cost-effective quality services.  Launceston Town Council will work with other councils to ensure that the town remains at the heart of the local community.

Aims and Values:

To show clear and positive community leadership
To be open and accountable, and to conduct the Council’s business with integrity and impartiality
To consult effectively and to represent the views of the residents at all levels of local and national government
To promote continuous improvement of Council services, and of services provided by others
To use resources effectively and efficiently
To support the local economy by using local service providers whenever possible
To respond quickly and efficiently to all enquiries
To arrange civic and ceremonial duties in a dignified manner to uphold, enhance and promote the status of the town

Strategic Objectives

To promote equality of access to services
To enhance the quality of life of residents by providing services and facilities which reflect the identified needs of the community
To ensure that public services are responsive to the needs of the community
To build and maintain effective working relationships with statutory agencies and other partners
To improve and preserve the town environment
To improve communications between Launceston Town Council and the community it serves, including local parishes
To support local organisations through councillor representation and by making grants available
To make the Town Hall a hub of community life
To provide tourist and community information services to the town
To protect services provided by other agencies eg Launceston Hospital, Library Services, Registration Services
To use the General Power of Competence to develop the Council’s work

Achieving the Council’s strategic objectives

Short term objectives (1 year)

To work with Cornwall Council to ensure the best result for Launceston in all decisions taken in relation to service provision
To continue the councillor surgeries at the monthly General Market
To continue to improve the website
To continue to use the Council’s Facebook page, and to develop links on Twitter (@lansontownclerk)
To contribute council news to Launceston Link (published quarterly, delivered to 9000 homes in and around Launceston)
To continue to provide news stories to the local press
To be accredited as a Quality Council in the Local Council Award Scheme

Medium term objectives (2/3years)

To explore other methods of improving communication
To ensure that Launceston benefits from the Unitary Authority by delivering a range of services on behalf of Cornwall Council
To support and encourage the Youth Council
To make individual councillors portfolio holders for specific tasks
To draw up an Emergency Plan for the town
To be accredited as a Quality Gold Council in the Local Council Award Scheme

Long term objectives (3 years +)

To develop and strengthen the relationship with Cornwall Council
To work with the Chamber and the commercial property sector to keep Launceston as a viable and thriving town centre

Strategic Plan - Monitoring and evaluation

The Strategic Plan will be reviewed annually
Individual committees will continually review progress
On-going dialogue with partner organisations and the community will take place

Finance & General Purposes Committee

This committee covers all matters relating to Council's finances and the efficient and effective management of its resources. 

Strategic Objectives

To manage the Council’s resources efficiently and effectively
To build and maintain a suitable reserve
To ensure that risk assessments are undertaken for all relevant areas of the Council’s work and for all assets
To respond to consultation documents on behalf of the Council
To put in place and operate systems and procedures which process transactions effectively and cost-efficiently.

Short term objectives (1 year)

To move to electronic banking following the abolition of s150(1) of the LGA 1972
To continue to support the town’s CCTV system

Medium term objectives (2/3years)

To link Sage (accounts software) with Avalon (bookings software) to assist with invoicing
To manage the devolution of assets and services from Cornwall Council

Long term objectives (3 years +)

To maximise income from all sources in order to minimise increases in the precept

Staffing Committee

The Staffing Committee is responsible for ensuring that all legal obligations are met with regard to employment and remuneration.  The committee formulates employment policies, and oversees recruitment, staff development and training.  In the event of a grievance or dispute the committee will make recommendations to Council on procedure. The Council, as a corporate body, is the employer.

Strategic Objectives

To ensure that staff are qualified, trained and motivated to provide high quality services to the town
To regularly review staffing requirements to ensure that all areas of work are properly supported
To review and update the Employee Handbook

Short term objectives (1 year)

To maintain a basic training programme for councillors and staff
To support members of staff who wish to take the Working With Your Council course
To support the employment of a horticultural apprentice
To support the Town Clerk in her role as NEC representative for Cornwall for the Society of Local Council Clerks

Medium term objectives (2/3 years)

To develop an apprenticeship scheme to help local young people into work
To develop a focused training programme for all councillors

Long term objectives (3 years +)

To retain staff and their expertise, to ensure continuity, stability and quality

Properties Committee

The committee has responsibility for the physical assets belonging to the Council (Town Hall and Guildhall, car park and public conveniences, priory ruins, Southgate Arch, Roundhouse, coach park, war memorial) and for advising the council on the best future uses of the buildings.    The committee also advises on prospective purchases or leases.

Strategic Objectives:

To develop the Town Hall to its full potential
To ensure that all properties are properly maintained, and that a rolling programme of works is introduced
To protect the historic Priory site
To review the Council’s property portfolio from time to time

Short term objectives (1 year)

To actively market the Town Hall as a venue, particularly for conferences and meetings
Develop a maintenance program to include cyclical scheduling for all Council owned properties.

Medium term objectives (2/3years)

To continue making the Town Hall a thriving centre for community activities
To improve the income generated by Town Hall lettings with an increase in marketing
To make better use of The Walk and Zigzag as community resources

Long term objectives (3 years +)

To continue looking at the feasibility of acquiring adjoining land from British Gas to extend the Priory site
To continue to seek a suitable site for a cemetery extension
Examine the options for the better storage of the Councils owned vehicles’ and equipment.

Lawrence House Management Committee

The Management Committee of the Lawrence House Museum consists of nine councillors, the Curator of the museum, the Chairman of the Friends of Lawrence House, representatives of the Stewards, the Town Archivist and the Town Clerk acting as Secretary and Treasurer.  The museum is funded through a grant from the Town Council and from donations from visitors, as well as the occasional bequest.  The Management Committee oversees the development of the museum and its collections, and is advised by the Curator.

Lawrence House is owned by the National Trust and has been leased to the Town Council on a 99 year repairing lease from April 1992. 

Strategic Objective

To conserve and document evidence of the culture, history and natural history of Launceston and district, and to present it to the public through imaginative educational displays and events.

Short term objectives (1 year)

Members of the committee to visit the museum prior to each meeting of the committee
To increase community use of the building especially the Mayor’s Parlour
To recruit additional volunteers

Medium term objectives (2/3years)

To continue to computerise the town archive
To encourage primary schools involvement with the museum
To continue to catalogue acquisitions

Long term objectives (3 years +)

To give future tenants of the flat a caretaker role
To identify potential business and individual sponsors
To identify potential grant funding streams
To increase corporate and group use of the house and garden

 Planning and Economic Development Committee

The Committee considers all planning applications in the town and makes recommendations for approval or refusal to the Planning Committee of Cornwall Council.  The committee’s terms of reference include Town Centre management, the Town Square and associated events and liaison with the Chamber of Commerce, to maximise the Town Council’s role in influencing the further development of the town.

Strategic Objectives

To maintain a proactive role in the future development of the town and its surroundings
To achieve a sustainable future for the town, its inhabitants and the local community
To ensure that all planning development is appropriate and beneficial and builds on the unique character and geography of the town
To support the efforts of the Chamber of Commerce and other bodies in promoting beneficial economic development
To monitor changes in legislation

Short term objectives (1 year)

To take a proactive role in the development of the core strategy
To ensure the views of the local community are incorporated within the plans for future development
To ensure the Town Council’s views are given appropriate weighting in decision making
To promote use of the town centre, including the Parade Ground

Medium term objectives (2/3years)

To develop a system of local plans which are appropriate to the needs of the town
To encourage redevelopment of underused and outdated sites in the town centre
To move to paperless planning meetings

Long term objectives (3 years +)

To preserve the historic character of the town
Review infrastructure requirements to ensure they match development plans
Ensure that development plans reflect the aspirations of the local community
To be prepared to adapt to changes in legislation which may assist economic development and local employment

Environment and Open Spaces Committee

The committee is responsible for Launceston Cemetery, the closed cemetery at Dockacre Road, Windmill Wood, allotments at Dutson, Grammers Park and Kensey, King George's Playing Field (Priory Park) and Grammers Park.  The brief includes the grass cutting and footpaths service agreements with Cornwall Council.  The committee is also responsible for environmental issues affecting the Town Council and the town.

Strategic Objectives

To maintain all open spaces to a high standard
To minimise the Town Council’s carbon footprint through using less (energy, materials) and recycling more
To take on more service level agreements with Cornwall Council for public open space
To ensure an attractive, litter free town environment

Short term objectives (1 year)

To continue to improve the standard of the allotment gardens and services to tenants
To continue to improve play facilities in the town
To make Launceston a Fairtrade Town and to identify a person or organisation to act as ‘champion’
To organise an annual Environment Day

Medium term objectives (2/3years)

To identify areas where the council can become ‘greener’
To digitise the cemetery records and make them available online
To work with Residents Associations to help keep Launceston tidy
To make Newport and Riverside more attractive for leisure activities
To ensure that the local footpaths network is accessible to walkers

Long term objectives (3 years +)

To be in a position to offer leadership on environmental issues
To consider forming independent allotment associations to manage the sites

Tourism and TIC Management Committee

The committee was formed in March 2012.  The committee is responsible for developing tourism, promoting the town and managing and expanding the role of the Tourist Information Centre.  The management committee will support the TIC Manager, staff and volunteers.  A business plan for the TIC was approved by Full Council in July 2012.

Strategic objectives:

To promote Launceston as a tourist destination
To offer a range of visitor and community services through the TIC
To support local tourism businesses
To facilitate and promote local events, arts and cultural opportunities
To position the TIC at the heart of the community

Short term objectives (1 year)

To streamline the running of the monthly markets
To continue to develop internet marketing strategies including social media
To continue to explore ways  to increase footfall to the TIC and Town Centre
To endeavour to improve signage for TIC
To increase membership of the TIC
To produce the next town guide in-house
To promote Launceston to coach operators and other groups throughout the south west

Medium term objectives (2/3 years)

To raise the profile of TIC in Cornwall and the South West
To continue to increase the range of services through partnerships
To continue to develop new products to improve sustainability of the TIC
To continue to review and develop new marketing materials to increase awareness of the town and its attractions
To use best endeavours to increase turnover  year on year

Long term objectives (3 years +)

To endeavour to  increase turnover to cover running costs
To make the TIC the tourism marketing arm of the Council
To aim to increase the number of visitors to Launceston from 1% to 5%

Strategic Plan Webpage Updated September 2015