Adur, West & East Worthing Party including East Arun

Worthing Liberal Democrats Weekly Newsletter – 11th to 17th March 2012

Articles for the past week:
Leader:  Democracy stolen      
News this past week:
1. Theatres Business Case Debated Behind Closed Doors
2. Look For Us In Broadwater on Thursday
3. Truth Behind Pool Planning Application Revealed
4. Date Fixed For Tory Leaders To Explain Themselves
5. Worthing Lib Dems Call For Scrutiny Of Theatres Business Case
6. Tories Have No Head For Figures

11TH TO 17TH MARCH 2012
  •    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:  Democracy stolen
The business plan to make 25% savings on the theatres was presented to Worthing Borough Council’s Theatres Working Group on Monday.  Leader of the Council, Paul Yallop, has stated the loss on Worthing’s theatres is £3,000 per day which equates to £1.1 million a year.  Worthing’s council tax payers are being asked to contribute £8.55 million to the council’s budget in 2012-13 – so from every £1paid in council tax 13p is going on Worthing’s theatres. Unlucky for some – in fact unlucky for all of Worthing’s residents.
The decision on what to do about the theatres is one of the most important decisions Worthing Borough Council has had to make – a decision which affects all residents. Yet the content of the report is not in the public domain as the Theatres Working Group meets behind closed doors.  They met on Monday to discuss the report and made some amendments – what those amendments were we have no idea as they haven’t even been released to elected councillors. The next stage is for the amended report to be placed in front of the Adur & Worthing Joint Strategic Committee (JSC) on March 27th for approval or not.
In democratic councils, a decision of this magnitude would be debated by an Overview & Scrutiny Committee in public to make considered recommendations to the Joint Strategic Committee.  Not in Worthing – there is no scheduled debate in public before the actual decision is taken by the JSC on March 27th.  Worthing Lib Dems have formally requested a special meeting of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee before JSC to have that public debate which is so important to Worthing’s residents.  Past experience would tell us this is not going to happen. We will be left with just one alternative and that is to “call-in” the decision to ensure it is debated in public. We have little desire to do so but we have no choice.
There is a school of thought among our Tory colleagues that democracy ends when they win at the ballot box – that they are then free to make decisions without seeking public opinion.  Democracy in effect has been stolen by the Cabinet.  This is not a doctrine held by Worthing’s Lib Dems – we believe Worthing’s residents have every right to contribute to a discussion which in effect is on their assets and the future financial health of their town.
We referred above to past experience – let’s remind ourselves of previous stolen democracy by this Tory administration.  Project Worthing wanted a lease of the Aquarena site to build an arena with a 50 metre Olympic pool in this Olympic year and an ice rink.  Profits generated would have been directed to revitalising the theatres.  There was no public scrutiny of the idea – just a blank refusal by the six unjust men and women sitting on the Cabinet.  An important decision for the town not taken by the town – democracy stolen.
More recently we had next year’s budget for the first time in Worthing’s history not being debated in public by the Overview & Scrutiny Committee – in fact the item being summarily removed from the Overview & Scrutinty work programme.  Once again democracy stolen.
And just this week the lack of facilities at the new pool with those with a physical disabilty has made the front page of the Herald. The Tories are asking why this has not been raised before. Our friends in disability groups tell us they have been raising this for two years without success but have decided now enough is enough.  The decisions on the interior pool design were made behind closed doors and were not part of the consideration by the planning committee – again democracy stolen.
Claim back your rights, take part in the important decisions of the town, don’t let your democracy be stolen.  Vote these undemocratic Tories out on May 3rd.  Vote in the Lib Dems who are the only viable alternative in Worthing and the only party who will give you back your rights.
Worthing Liberal Democrats 
Monday 12th March – The business case to achieve 25% savings on Worthing’s theatres was brought today to Worthing Borough Council’s Theatres Working Group. The case has not been placed in the public domain and will not be available until presented to the Adur & Worthing Joint Strategic Committee on March 27th.  There is to be no consideration by Overview & Scrutiny in advance of the Joint Stategic Committee.  The Theatres Working Group amended the business plan but again the amendments have not been made public
Alan Rice, Worthing Liberal Democrat Leader, said: “Once again, a most important decision for the town’s residents is being made behind closed doors.  There is no longer any  commercial sensitivity as all 17 bids by outside parties were rejected.  It is high time Worthing’s residents were allowed to take part in decisions on their own assets.”
Wednesday 13th March – Worthing Lib Dems will be at Broadwater shops on Thursday March 22nd to meet and greet Broadwater residents. If you live in Broadwater don’t miss this opportunity to talk to us about what you would like to see and to raise any problems you currently have.  Broadwater Lib Dem County Councillor and Leader of Worthing Borough Lib Dem Group Alan Rice and Broadwater candidate James Nelson will be joined by Lib Dem colleagues from all over Worthing to answer your questions and seek your views.
Alan said: “It is your chance to have your say on the future of Broadwater and indeed the future of the town.  If you are unhappy with the way things are don’t be shy – tell us what you think. If you like what we say join us in bringing about the change Broadwater and Worthing sorely need
Thursday 15th March – Worthing Scope today criticised in the Herald the new pool because of the lack of facilities for those with a disabilty. Adviser on the new pool, Tory Cllr Paul High, dismissed the comment saying that the public had their chance to say when the planning application was heard in October 2010.  Lib Dem Councillor Christine Brown was on the planning committee at the the time and that is not her recollection. Both Christine and Norah Fisher abstained when the vote was taken.
Christine said: “We were told in no uncertain terms we were only there to discuss the building, not the interior, when we tried to raise worries about lack of disabled facilities. I did say that it would be a wonderful pool for Littlehampton but was far too small for the 100,000 plus we hope to service in Worthing.”
Friday 16th March – Adur and Worthing Tory Leaders of the Council are to appear before a special Joint Overview & Scrutiny Committee (JOSC) to explain why the budget for 2012-13 was removed from the JOSC work programme. The decision to summon the two leaders was taken in a unanimous decision by the last JOSC meeting.  The meeting will be held at 5.30 pm immediately before the Joint Strategic Committee on Tuesday March 27th in the Council Chamber, the Civic Centre, Shoreham.
Friday 16th March – Worthing Lib Dem Leader Alan Rice today formally requested the Worthing Chair of Overview & Scrutiny Committee to review the Theatres Business Case before it is considered by the Adur & Worthing Joint Strategic Committee (JSC) on March 27th. There is a golden opportunity at the special Joint Overview & Scrutiny Committee meeting to be held immediately prior to JSC. Alternatively a special Worthing Overview & Scrutiny meeting could be held at an earlier date.
Alan said: “Worthing’s residents deserve the right for this most important decision to be given a rigorous airing in public before the decision is made by the Cabinet.  Worthing’s residents have been denied that right so many times before – most recently on the 2012-13 Budget.  Who knows?  With the budget scrutinised by JOSC we may have got a reduction on council tax and the restoration of Worthing’s evening and Sunday bus services.”
Friday 16th March – Worthing’s Tories pride themselves on their understanding of figures and recently have stressed their competence on council tax figuresin particular.  So how did the error made on page 30 of the colour brochure accompanying the recent Councli Tax Demand escape their notice.  Surely the Leader and the Cabinet Member for Resources reviewed the document?  The bottom table on page 30 has a budget amount for 2012-13 of £14.328 billion!  And, among the other wrong figures, a cost of financing the capital programme of £298 million!  Perhaps they have taken out a pay day loan on the new pool?  Have they no head for figures or could it be the column heading should be thousands and not millions?
Monday 19th March – WSCC Regulation, Audit & Accounts Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 2.15 pm
Monday 19th March – WBC Standards Committee – Gordon Room, Town Hall at 6.00 pm
Tuesday 20th March – WSCC Children’s Trust Board – Chichester High School for Boys at 1.00 pm
Tuesday 20th March – Lib Dem Durrington Surgery – New Life Church, Durrington 7.00 to 8.00 pm
                                and every third Tuesday of the month
Wednesday 21st March – WSCC Community Services Select Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am
Wednesday 21st March – WBC Licensing & Control Committee – Gordon Room, Town Hall at 6.00 pm
Wednesday 21st March – Lib Dem Northbrook/Durrington Ward Surgery – “The North Star”, Littlehampton Road 7.30 to 8.30 pm
Thursday 22nd March – Broadwater Lib Dem Street Surgery – Broadwater Shops  10.00 am to 3.00 pm
Thursday 22nd March – WSCC Policy & Resources Select Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am
Saturday 24th March – Lib Dem Castle Ward Surgery – St Richards, Collingwood Road, Goring,  10.00 to 10.30 am
Saturday 24th March – Lib Dem Gaisford/Tarring Castle Wards Surgery – West Worthing Baptist Church, South Street, Tarring 10.30 to noon
Tuesday 27th March – Special ADC & WBC Joint Overview & Scrutiny Committee – Council Chamber, Shoreham at 5.30 pm
Tuesday 27th March – ADC & WBC Joint Strategic Committee – Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Shoreham at 6.30pm
Wednesday 28th March – WBC Planning Committee – Gordon Room, Town Hall at 6.00 pm
Thursday 29th March – WBC Licensing & Control Committee B Best One – Gordon Room, Town Hall at 6.00 pm
Saturday 7th April – Lib Dem Castle Ward Surgery – The Strand Shops 10.00 to 10.30 am
                                and every first Saturday of the month
Saturday 7th April – Lib Dem Central Ward Surgery – Sidney Walter Centre, Sussex Road 10.30 am to 12.00 noon
                               and every first Saturday of the month
Saturday 7th April – 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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