Leader of Rutland County Council, Oliver Hemsley, discusses the Future Rutland Conversation
This is a really important and exciting week for Rutland and all of us who live here, as we embark on the next stage of the Future Rutland Conversation, writes leader of Rutland County Council, Oliver Hemsley. For those of you who were involved in stage one, you’ll know that the aim of this county-wide initiative is to develop a new shared vision for Rutland – a set of common goals and aspirations based on the things that matter to local people.
Following two months of intensive discussion and engagement with more than 2,000 Rutlanders of all ages, and from right across the county, everything you’ve told us and all of the feedback we’ve received has been independently analysed and published alongside a series of reports that attempt to summarise what we’ve heard. If the first part of Future Rutland was about listening to residents and what’s important to you – both now and in the years to come – this next stage is about ensuring we’ve heard you correctly. If we’re going to take your feedback and ideas and turn these into a vision that’s truly representative of what matters in your lives, we need to check and make sure there’s nothing we’ve missed or that you’d like to add.
We’re now inviting everyone across the county to read what’s been published and tell us if you think it’s a fair representation of what matters to you, your family and our local communities. You can do this even if you didn’t take part in the initial eight-week conversation.
To give you some sense of what we’ve heard, you told us that Rutland offers a high quality of life and is a safe place to live. You feel really strongly – as I do – that Rutland is special and unique, and that we have a good community spirit that connects people and places. Many of you said that rural life and the environment are key to your sense of happiness and wellbeing. There were also mixed views and concerns about how Rutland should meet its obligations in terms of housing and development while also retaining its sense of rurality and character. Equally, there is a recognition that some change is needed in Rutland, particularly to meet the needs of our young people.
This is just a small sample and we’re asking you what, if anything, may be missing from the summaries that have been produced. We need this additional feedback from you so that we can take the next step and start shaping a new shared vision. We hope to publish a draft of this vision in August, to invite even more feedback and discussion – keeping you involved throughout.
Once we have a vision for the future of our county, it’s important to recognise that this won’t be a Rutland County Council document. It will belong to the people who live in Rutland but will need the support of local organisations to deliver change in within their specific areas of influence. It’s also important to acknowledge that the vision will not be the answer to all the issues we face as a county.
It is not intended as a silver bullet but rather a declaration of the kind of place we want Rutland to be, based on what you’ve told us. The conversation must then continue as we discuss and debate how best to achieve the goals we set ourselves.
Please do continue to be involved, look at everything that’s been published following stage one of Future Rutland and come back to use with any further comments or feedback. You can do all this by going to: www.rutland.gov.uk/futurerutland or calling 01572 722 577 if you don’t have internet access.