Adur, West & East Worthing Party including East Arun

Worthing Liberal Democrats Weekly Newsletter – 2nd to 8th October 2011

Leader:  Risk assessment   

News this past week:
 
1. It’s Official – New Pool Contract Not Signed
2. Mayor’s Swimathon Charity To Be Charged For Use Of Aquarena
3. NCP Car Parking Contract Contributes £7,500,000   
4. New Durrington Community Centre Still Not Open
5. Worthing Borough Rejects Big Society Partnership Working
6. Nothing Happening On Kitty’s Field Lighting
7. Concessionary Fare Scheme Gone But Not Forgotten
8. It’s Black History Month
 

WORTHING LIBERAL DEMOCRATS WEEKLY NEWSLETTER

2ND TO 8TH OCTOBER 2011

 
  •    Lib Dems will keep Worthing’s services local      
     
  •     Lib Dems will get on with bringing our town into the 21st century – no more dither and delay
  •     Lib Dems will ensure ‘We are all in it together’ – no more waste and high pay                                                                  
  •     Lib Dems are the only opposition in Worthing – Labour can’t win here                                                                                                                               
  •     Lib Dems support 20 mph in Worthing’s residential roads
  •  
  • Leader:  Risk assessment
We took the opportunity at Tuesday’s Council meeting to make our own risk assessment on Worthing’s Tory administration through a few well aimed questions.
 
It was only the previous week the District Auditor had commented in the Annual Governance Report Key Messages: “I am also required to report by exception on any other significant matters that come to my attention. I recommended last year that risks should be regularly reported to members. Although your officers agreed to do this, it has not been implemented this year.”
 
Alan Rice, Lib Dem Group Leader congratulated Leader of the Council Paul Yallop on the recent “official start” of the works on the new swimming pool and for his picture in the media in a hard hat and wielding a shovel. Did this mean the contract with Morgan Sindall had not been signed and that Mr Yallop was going to do the work himself?  We got the “official answer” we suspected – the contract has not been signed.
 
So item one for our risk assessment – what is the risk of starting the pool works without a signed contract? 
  • How is the initial preparatory work being undertaken and paid for?
  • Is the Leader guilty of deliberately misleading the town and the media by his statements?
  • Do we have any idea when the contract will be signed?
  • Do we have a definitive construction figure plus contingency and inflation estimates?
Item two for our risk assessment – we asked the Cabinet Member for Improved Services whether there was still any pending Judicial Hearing or High Court case being brought against Worthing Borough Council by Stagecoach Buses on the Concessionary Fare Scheme?
 
The Cabinet Member confirmed a claim was still being made against West Sussex district/borough authorities for a total of £38 million and Worthing Borough’s consultants had advised they thought the total risk would only be a maximum of £13 million should an award be given. Worthing Borough is therefore holding a reserve of around £800,000 to cover Worthings proportion.  But we calculate if Stagecoach are awarded the amount they are claiming Worthing Borough would suffer a charge of over £2,250,000.
 
Item three for our risk assessment – we asked the Cabinet Member for Resources whether there had been any claim of overpayment to Worthing Borough Council on the NCP car parking contract?   The Cabinet Member gave a categorical “no” to this question.  We are glad to hear it as we had heard a rumour to the contrary.
 
We did ask the Cabinet Member for Resources whether he could assure us that all members would be apprised of risks by the officers as the District Auditor had recommended. The Cabinet Member advised us to talk directly to the officers ourselves.  Rest assured – we will.
 
Risk Assessment is no good unless it is kept up to date – we shall do so on behalf of Worthing’s residents. 
 
Worthing Liberal Democrats 
 

NEWS FROM THE PAST WEEK

 
IT’S OFFICIAL – NEW POOL CONTRACT NOT SIGNED

Tuesday 4th October – Last Tuesday (27th September) saw the press invited to a photo opportunity from Worthing Borough Council launching the “official” start on Worthing’s new pool. Worthing Liberal Democrats were bemused as they had had no official confirmation the Chief Executive had signed the contract with constructors Morgan Sindall.  Tonight’s council meeting gave the opportunity to get clarification from Leader of the Council Paul Yallop – pictured the week before wearing a hard hat and wielding a shovel.  But tonight the Leader confirmed the contract had still not been signed.

Lib Dem Group Leader Alan Rice said: “Now we know why the new pool is not featured on Morgan Sindall’s website.  It’s the same reason that the web cam on Worthing Borough’s website shows so little activity – it’s not signed, sealed and delivered.  We trust the Tories have a grasp on the risk involved in starting the works without a contract.”   
 
MAYOR’S SWIMATHON CHARITY TO BE CHARGED FOR USE OF AQUARENA
Tuesday 4th October – Worthing Leader of the Council Paul Yallop confirmed at tonight’s council his decision to charge the Mayor’s Rowland Gibson Charity Swim £600 for the use of the Aquarena. The admission came in answer to a question posed by former Lib Mayor Christine Brown who was astounded that after an underspend of a million pounds last year Worthing Borough Council would resort to this penny pinching charge. Worthing’s current mayor Ann Barlow who chaired the council expressed disappointment she had not been informed officially and had only gathered by hearsay.  A total of 133 children had taken part in the charity swim held at the beginning of the year raising £5,000. The charity swim was renamed the Roland Gibson Charity Swim last year after the creator Roland Gibson sadly passed away.  Roland had dedicated his life to the event and had raised a total of £63,000 – Roland’s ambition was to reach £100,000.     
 
NCP CAR PARKING CONTRACT CONTRIBUTES £7,500,000

Tuesday 4th October – Steve Waight Cabinet Member for Resources was unusually coy at tonight’s council when asked by Lib Dem Norah Fisher for figures on the NCP Car Parking contract’s contribution to Worthing Borough’s accounts over the years. Rather than give the figures out loud the Cabinet Member walked them round the chamber to Norah. The total that has gone into Worthing’s coffers since the start of the contract is £7,637,069 in spite of lower figures during 2009-10 when car parking charges were reduced. The average amount a year is around a million pounds against a total council tax take of around £8 million – representing over a 10% saving to Worthings council tax payers.     
Norah Fisher said: “No wonder Mr Waight didn’t announce the figures for the public and press to hear. Without the NCP contract council tax would be at least 10% higher or alternatively we would have suffered a 10% cut to services.  Let’s hope result of the current review at least maintains that contribution.”   
 
NEW DURRINGTON CENTRE STILL NOT OPEN

Tuesday 4th October – The new Durrington Community Centre provided by a Section 106 Agreement from Tesco’s Durrington Superstore has still not opened and the Cabinet Member for Resources Steve Waight was still unable to give a firm date at tonight’s council meeting.  Cllr Waight was responding to a public question and request for a timetable on why Durrington’s residents have now been waiting over three years for the opening of the centre. The picture is still far from clear excepting a move in the goal posts was hinted. 
Lib Dem Durrington Councillor Michael Donin said: “This is becoming ridiculous – it’s always ‘manana’.  I call on both Worthing Borough and West Sussex County Council to do all in their power to get the community centre opened.  Durrington residents have waited far too long.”
 
WORTHING BOROUGH REJECTS BIG SOCIETY PARTNERSHIP WORKING
Tuesday 4th October – Worthing Lib Dem Leader Alan Rice asked Leader of the Council Paul Yallop today whether Worthing Borough Council was working in liaison with new “Big Society” department at West Sussex on localism. Cllr Yallop rejected the idea saying that West Sussex can do what they like and Worthing will do what it likes on the issue. This does not bode well for partnership working between the two authorities which cannot be good for Worthing’s residents. Alan seemed to touch a particularly raw nerve.
Alan Rice said: “There have been a number of instances lately when an apparent lack of co-operation between Worthing Borough and it’s big brother West Sussex has been detrimental to Worthing’s residents interest.  The delay on opening the new Durrington Community Centre is just one example.
I hope they can ‘kiss and make-up’ for Worthing’ sake.”
 
NOTHING HAPPENING ON KITTY’S FIELD LIGHTING

Tuesday 4th October – Victoria Taylor Lib Dem Councillor for Broadwater Ward used her maiden speech to get an answer for Broadwater residents on the long-awaited provision of low level lighting in Kitty’s Field, Dominion Road.  Victoria asked Clive Roberts Cabinet Member for Environment for a list of green space projects and achievements including the provision of low level lighting. The Cabinet Member duly gave a list of achievements and specifically mentioned low level lighting for the skate park in Homefield Park. What was more interesting to Victoria and her Broadwater residents was what was missing.  Kitty’s Field lighting was nowhere to be seen in spite of requests for over two years from the Broadwater Neighbourhood Police Panel.
Victoria Taylor said: “For over two years Broadwater residents have been told by their Tory ward councillors low level lighting in Kitty’s Field was getting their active support and lobbying of the cabinet.  In fact one of those councillors was the previous Cabinet Member for Environment and would have had the strongest hand to lobby. But the current Cabinet member didn’t appear even aware – he’s aware now!”
 
CONCESSIONARY FARE SCHEME GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

Tuesday 4th October – Worthing Borough Council was relieved last year when funding for the Concessionary Bus Fare Scheme was taken over by West Sussex County Council – an albatross had been removed from its neck. But local bus operator Stagecoach has never been satisfied they got a fair deal from the scheme and asked for a Judicial Review. Although Stagecoach lost the Judicial Review Worthing Liberal Democrats were uncertain whether the risk of a further charge to Worthing Borough Council was still a possibility. Lib Dem Leader Alan Rice asked the Cabinet Member for Improved Services Mary Lermitte  at tonight’s council meeting whether that was indeed the case. The Cabinet Member confirmed there was an ongoing claim by Stagecoach of £38 million on the West Sussex districts and boroughs. Worthing Borough’s bus scheme consultants feel should an award be made the maximum would be £13 million. Worthing Borough is holding around £800,000 in reserves against that possibility for their proportion. 
 
IT’S BLACK HISTORY MONTH
Tuesday 4th October – Did you know that October is Black History Month? Worthing Liberal Democrats fully support the increasing diversity of the town and all of its Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) residents. Worthing is celebrating black culture and heritage this month with the following events:
The Brighton and Hove Black History Project

An exhibition of local Black History.

WORTHING LIBRARY

Tuesday 4th – Friday 14th October

Dorothy Koomson

Bestselling author Dorothy Koomson, author of “The Chocolate Run and The Ice Cream Girls”, will be talking about her writing and her new book “The Woman He Loved Before.”

WORTHING LIBRARY

Friday 14th October 7.00 pm

Big Draw and Black History Art Workshop 

WORTHING LIBRARY Saturday 22nd October, 2.00 pm – 4.00 pm

Further along the coast in Hastings the Afrikaba Festival is taking place throughout the month with storytelling, workshops, debate and much, much more.  For information go to:  http://www.afrikaba.co.uk/For more information on Black History Month visit: http://www.black-history-month.co.uk/

DIARY

Wednesday 12th October – Lib Dem Northbrook/Durrington Ward Surgery – “The North Star”, Littlehampton Road 7.30 to 8.30 pm
Friday 14th October – WSCC County Council – County Hall at 10.30 am
Saturday 15th October – Lib Dem Castle Ward Surgery – St Richards, Collingwood Road, Goring 10.00 to 10.30 am

 

Saturday 15th October – Lib Dem Gaisford/Tarring Castle Wards Surgery – West Worthing Baptist Church, South Street, Tarring 10.30 to 11.30 am
 
 
FURTHER AHEAD
Monday 17th October – WSCC Community Services Select Committee at 10.30 am
Tuesday 18th October – WSCC Cabinet – County Hall at 10.30 am
Tuesday 18th October – WSCC Rights of Way Committee – County Hall at 2.15 pm  
Tuesday 18th October – Lib Dem Durrington Surgery – New Life Church, Durrington 7.00 to 8.00 pm
                                       and every third Tuesday of the month 
Wednesday 19th October – WSCC Children and Young People’s Services Select Committee at 10.30 am
Wednesday 19th October – WBC Licensing and Control Committee – Gordon Room, Town Hall at 6.00 pm
Thursday 20th October – WSCC Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee – County Hall at 10.30 am
Wednesday 26th October – WBC Development Control Committee – Gordon Room, Town Hall at 6.00 pm
Thursday 27th October – WBC Joint Strategic Committee – Gordon Room, Town Hall at 6.30 pm 
Saturday 5th November – Lib Dem Central Ward Surgery – St Pauls Centre, Chapel Road 10.30 am to 12.00 noon
                              and every first Saturday of the month
Saturday 5th November – Lib Dem Broadwater Surgery – The Community House, Dominion Road 2.00 to 4.00 pm  
                              and every first Saturday of the month

           

             

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