Agenda item

Leader's Report


The Council noted a report from the Leader of the Council as follows:


The County Council had been successful in being named on the long list for UK City of Culture 2025.  A lot of hard work had already gone into preparing and promoting the bid, and there was a lot more to be done to secure the title for County Durham.  However, the Leader was confident that Durham was deserving of the accolade and, with so much at stake in terms of benefits to the county and wider region, all in the Council were very much committed to the next phase of the competition.


The Leader again encouraged Members to visit the Durham 2025 website and share the social media messages with as many people as possible in order to show support.


The Council had been highly commended in two categories at the Municipal Journal Local Government Achievement Awards 2021, the Digital Transformation Award for the accelerated delivery of the digital strategy, and the Senior Leadership Category, which recognised corporate management team’s expertise and dedication in leading the authority through the pandemic.


Following Cabinet’s approval of nearly £50 million of investment in the third phase of NETPark, the Council welcomed George Freeman, Minister for Science, Research and Innovation at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to see the site for himself.


The Council’s winter maintenance programme was fully up and running. During the winter season 1,700 kilometres of County Durham’s priority one roads will be treated, covering almost half of the county’s road network and the Council had 42,000 tonnes of salt stocked.


County Durham residents were being given the chance to nominate the important local buildings and heritage items which they valued the most through the Local List project.  Part of a national pilot initiative, the project would see much loved gems, which may not qualify for national Listed Status, added to the council’s local list to help protect them through the planning system.


Next month would see the return of Lumiere, the UK’s leading light festival, spreading across four nights from Thursday, 18 to Sunday, 21 November.  With 37 installations across the city and wider county, this year’s event promised to be bigger, better and brighter than ever.  The Leader hoped everyone would take the opportunity to visit and enjoy it. The event would show the world what the County had to offer and demonstrate why County Durham should be named City of Culture 2025.


Councillor C Marshall informed Council that the Labour Group was supportive of the Council’s bid for City of Culture 2025 and asked when Members of the Council would expect to see the benefits to all communities set out clearly if the bid was successful.  Councillor Marshall also referred to the Municipal Journal Awards and asked the Leader whether she acknowledged the work of the Labour Group who ran the Council over the past two years and the work they did with the Senior Leadership Team throughout the pandemic


The Leader of the Council thanked Councillor Marshall for his questions.  The bid for City of Culture was still at an early stage but as soon as a report was available about the City of Culture bid she would ensure all Members were fully briefed.  Referring to Councillor Marshall’s second question the Leader thanked all Members of the Council for the work they had done in their communities throughout the pandemic.