Angus Council’s open approach and its ability to adapt to change is paying dividends for its staff, its taxpayers and its burghs.
That was the message delivered on Monday in Forfar at a pre-budget media briefing with council leader Iain Gaul and Councillor Alex King, finance spokesman.
As the council enters its second year of a three-year budget plan, the elected members confirmed there would be no “surprises” or “rabbits pulled out of the hat” on Thursday morning at a full council meeting in the Town and County Hall, when the provisional revenue budget will be considered.
What they did reveal was a far more open budget process with the council working as a business - and this is paying dividends.
Councillor Gaul’s message was: “Angus is open for business - we will welcome business from anywhere”.
He was referring to the up-take of business space at the Brechin Business Park, which is now full for the first time, and that a more flexible approach adopted for attracting new business to the Orchardbank Business Park in Forfar has also attracted interest from companies.
Speaking at Angus House, situated within the latter, Councillor Gaul said a “reality check” had been taken since the park opened in 2003.
He said: “We started Orchardbank as a business park in 2003, before I came on to the council.
“At that time, because of the financial world, this was seen as a prestigious business park - you had to be of a certain standard before we would let you in.
“But we have taken a reality check; it is now a business park. There is a trickle down from Aberdeen and people are now accepting this a place we will do business.”
Although the process can take time, he stressed the council is encouraging business to come and talk.
He added: “Businesses are happy to speak to Angus now. When they put in a pre-application there is a core team which will deal with the developer. You only have one hoop to jump through now.
“We can offer businesses Forfar, we can offer businesses Arbroath and there is an Agri-park at Paddy (Padanaram).
“I don’t care where the businesses comes from, they are more than welcome.”
Councillor Gaul added: “The council is getting run as a business and our product is the services we provide to the people of Angus. That’s not a new message, that has been there since day one, and eventually everybody will accept that.
“We are delivering first class services throughout the Angus area and we will continue to do the very best we can with what we have got.”