THREE new priorities have been set for Trafford Council, but opposition leaders have called for more clarity.

At Monday's executive meeting, Cllr Mike Freeman reported back on the council’s refreshed corporate plan, which sets out the authority’s priorities for the next three years until 2024.

He said: “We now focus on three key priorities to ensure that our strategies and resources are directed where they are most needed.”

These are reducing health inequalities in Trafford, supporting people out of poverty and addressing the climate crisis.

Cllr Freeman added: “I want to stress that in terms of measuring our performance this is a live document, a working document, and we continue to explore different ways of measuring performance and refining our data.”

But Conservative Group leader, Cllr Nathan Evans, raised his concerns about how the council’s progress will be measured going forward.

He said: “I wouldn’t mind some targets really, just the clear reporting of what’s going on and to know where we are going. More specifics about where we’re going over time. I would really like to see some solid indicators in there, so we can say, you know what, we are doing well there.

“I agree, if they are the priorities we will promote them as much as we can, but it would be good to know what good looks like and what bad looks like.”

Cllr Freeman responded: “I think I made it clear that it’s a live document and that we’re continually looking at this and what you’ve got in front of you isn’t set in stone. So, I understand where you’re coming from, but we need to move forward with what we’ve got.

“It will continue as a live document. If you’ve got any suggestions specifically, bring them forward.”

Cllr Andrew Western, council leader, added: “We will make sure that that is picked up. You’re knocking at an open door with this, because in tightening up the priorities we recognise that there will be things that we want to report on that don’t necessarily easily fall into any of those three priorities.

“We will make sure that there’s not only a range of indicators but an idea of what we think success looks like and failure looks like, if appropriate.”

Cllr Geraldine Coggins, of the Green Party, while welcoming the three priorities themselves and the document that now outlines them, also raised her concerns – particularly concerning the climate crisis element.

She said: “I notice active transport isn’t in there at all. It strikes me that as well as reducing care use that increasing walking and cycling is something we ought to be track and something that is largely in the council’s scope to improve.

“The other points were about that we shouldn’t be doing things like increasing recycling, we should be decreasing waste. We can end up measuring the wrong things and looking like we’re doing something good, when recycling is not a good thing, it’s the least bad thing we can do.

“I was also curious that reducing the amount of meat and dairy in our diets isn’t in there [but encouraging consumption of locally sourced, seasonable foods is].”

Cllr Freeman replied: “I think it’s important in a plan like this that we measure things that we have absolute control over. We certainly don’t have absolute control over how much meat and dairy that individuals consume or schools consume.

“I understand where you’re coming from but I do think it’s important that we have measurements in place that we have an element of control over.”

Cllr Western concluded: “Comments point to a feeling that we are on a better track with these more specific priorities than the seven very broad ones we had in 2017.

“As something that defines how well we do as a council, it feels better for us than that document did. On that basis, I think we’ve gotten to a much better place and can look forward to a strong three years ahead.”

The corporate plan was approved by Trafford Council’s executive members unanimously.

The plan will now progress to the full council meeting on the evening of Thursday, November 24, where it will be debated and its formal adoption voted on.