Adur, West & East Worthing Party including East Arun

Worthing Liberal Democrats Weekly Newsletter – 15th to 21st July 2012

Articles for the past week:

Leader:  Decoy employed

News this past week: 

1. Theatre Losses Are Available After All

2. Kitties Field Money Is Safe
3  Put It On Record
4. Regeneration Cabinet Member Unaware Of Heritage Lamp Capital Bid
5. WBC Pays On Time Or Does It?
6. Worthing High In Unusual Situation
7. West Sussex £15 million Infrastructure Funding Unspent
8. Tories Reserve Their Position … On Reserves

                                      15TH TO 21ST JULY 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:  Decoy employed
Last week Worthing Borough Council’s Planning Committee considered the draft West Sussex Waste Local Plan and the identified use of Decoy Farm as a potential site. The Planning Committee resolved “to recommend to the Cabinet Member for Regeneration that no objection be raised to the allocation of the Decoy Farm site within the draft Waste Local Plan.”  The recommendation was subject to additional criteria being included in the plan to adhere to the development plans for Decoy Farm in the Core Strategy; and the use of Decoy Farm as a waste facility should not predjudice the use of the remainder of the land for mixed-use employment opportunities.  So in the opinion of the Planning Committee Decoy can be employed.
Worthing Borough Council also happens to be the owner of the Decoy Farm site and its Tory Cabinet has been a little coy about the waste plans for Decoy Farm.  Hopefully now the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Bryan Turner, being given such a clear steer, will be less coy on Decoy.  On Thursday there is a meeting of the Adur & Worthing Joint Strategic Committee (JSC) but there is no item on the agenda to discuss the draft Waste Local Plan nor the use of Decoy Farm. The West Sussex consultation was due to end on July 27th but has now been extended to August 13th, but there is no JSC meeting in August. So any input from Worthing Borough Council appears solely to be in the hands of the Cabinet Member without any discussion in public. This is anathema to Worthing Liberal Democrats – how possibly can a discussion of this magnitude once again be held behind closed doors?
Worthing Liberal Democrats have been talking with green groups throughout the consultation period and will continue to do so before making our contribution. Our feeling so far is we would support an anaerobic digester at Decoy Farm to produce energy from waste with a requirement to provide cheap electricity for local residents. We are concerned about the potential number of heavy lorry movements and we are considering ways to mitigate the situation. One suggestion has been the possibility of a rail spur into the back of the site which looks good to us, and may well actually reduce heavy lorry movements in the East Worthing residential area. The Core Strategy suggests the remainder of the site is used for a new Stagecoach Bus Depot, freeing the seafront site, but we understand Stagecoach is less than keen on the idea.  Would not more bus movements all day long not also be a problem?  Worthing Liberal Democrats feel there must be a better use of Decoy Farm for the community.
There are a lots of hoops to jump through yet and the draft Waste Local Plan is from now until the year 2031 but Worthing Lib Dems would like to see something happening soon to ensure that Decoy is well and truly employed.
Worthing Liberal Democrats 
Tuesday 17th July – At a recent Joint Strategic Committee, Cabinet Member for Customer Services Mary Lermitte was unable to answer a question from Lib Dem Michael Donin on the financial state of the theatres.  Michael asked how much had been lost on the theatres so far this year in view of the Leader of the Council’s statement to the press last year Worthing theatres were then losing £3,000 a day. Mrs Lermitte demurred – only indicating better catering figures at the Denton Lounge.  Lib Dem Leader Alan Rice sitting at the time in the public gallery was astonished at this apparent lack of financial monitoring and control. So Alan took the opportunity tonight to ascertain from Cabinet Member for Resources Steve Waight whether the theatres finamcial performance was being regularly monitored against the budget. Mr Waight had a simple one word answer “Yes”.  Thus being reassured Worthing Lib Dems will continue to press for some actual “banked” figures to ensure theatres are not continuing to be an albatross for Worthing’s council tax payers.
Alan said: “When I chaired the Budget Advisory Group there really was only one firm decision – a decision supported by the Leader of the Council Paul Yallop, the Deputy Leader Bryan Turner and the Cabinet Member for Resources Steve Waight.  The decision was in the light of continual heavy losses a theatre would be closed in January 2012 unless a third party took over – didn’t happen.  Now there is even no light from the Cabinet Member responsible to be in light of.”
Tuesday 17th July – Worthing Borough documents suggest there is or was a further shortfall to be met from S.106 monies on the hailed new football facilties at Palantine Park. This raised alarm bells for both Lib Dem Broadwater ward councillor Victoria Taylor and Lib Dem West Sussex County Broadwater division councillor Alan Rice.  Long suffering Broadwater residents have seen before S.106 monies raised on developments in Broadwater diverted to the Palantine Park project with no improvements to local Kitties Field.  Following complaints and pressure from Broadwater Lib Dems £33,000 was secured in the capital programme to provide much needed low level lighting.  Originally a need for 15 lights was identified at a WBC estimate of £2,000 each but the recent design plan has only 5 lights – an apparent cost of £6,600 each unless all the money is not being utilised.  Alan asked Cabinet Member for Resources Steve Waight in tonight’s council meeting for clarification and Mr Waight assured the chamber the Kitties Field £33,000 was safe and none was being spent elsewhere.
Victoria said: “I would have kicked up such a stink if more Broadwater money was used on Palantine Park but I am reasonably reassured by Mr Waight’s statement.  Nevertheless I will be watching like a hawk.  Broadwater residents are entitled to their fair share.”
Tuesday 12th July – Lib Dem Central Ward Councillor David Chapman tonight raised with Leader of the Council Paul Yallop the sparsity of recorded minutes at council meetings.  David pointed out the content in questions asked and the answers given is not fully minuted – leaving residents in ignorance. Mr Yallop rejected the comment saying there were not enough officer resources for verbatim minutes.  In comparison,  at West Sussex County Council meetings papers are issued prior to the meeting with full written questions and full written answers.  In addition the whole meeting is webcast with the video recording archived and available on the County Council website.
David said:  “Questions are often derived from concerns expressed by members of the public and are put on their behalf.  Worthing residents should be able to see that the questions have been asked and also see the response given by the Cabinet Members and the Executive.  It would enable Councillors to give full feedback to their residents on the issues raised.”
Tuesday 12th July – Leader of Worthing Lib Dem Group Alan Rice recently trawled through the bids put by Worthing officers for the 2012-13 capital programme and was surprised to discover a bid of around £90,000 by the Borough Engineer to preserve heritage lamps in conservation areas. Worthing Borough’s willingness to fund in this area was noticeable by its absence the previous week when heritage lamps in Browning Road were threatened.  Naturally Alan raised the existence of the capital bid with the Cabinet Member concerned at tonight’s council meeting – the Cabinet Member for Regeneration Bryan Turner. Cllr Turner was obviously unaware as he denied the existence of such a bid.
Alan said: “Tory Cabinet Members continue to show a poor grasp of their own portfolios and their portofolios’ influence on hot topics with Worthing’s residents.  They have just voted through a significant increase in their allowances.  Hopefully this will enable them to devote more time listening to residents, reading the press and indeed documents related to their own portfolios.  But don’t worry if they don’t – because we will. “
Tuesday 12th July – Worthing Lib Dem Shadow Cabinet Member for Resources Hazel Thorpe moved a motion at tonight’s council meeting in support of local business . The motion among other points said “Worthing Borough Council agree that in order to assist local businesses during the current difficult economic times, this Council resolves that any business in the Worthing area that provides goods or services to the Council be paid within 20 days of receipt of the invoice instead of the usual 30 day period in order to help the cash flow of the buisiness.”   In response Cabinet Member for Resources Steve Waight said Worthing Borough Council officers are already instructed to pay suppliers as quickly as possible and was hence unable to support the motion which fell.  Worthing Liberal Democrats would be interested to hear from any business supplier to Worthing Borough Council of their experiences and whether this statement was in fact true and accurate.
Friday 20th July – West Sussex Lib Dem County Councillor Alan Rice asked Cabinet Member for Education and Schools Peter Griffiths for clarification over the conversion to academy process. Alan reminded the Cabinet Member there was a distinct difference between a failing mainstream school being forced to becoming academy with a sponsor, and a mainstream school electing to convert to an academy.  In the latter case of a converter Alan asked the Cabinet Member whether it was usually the case for the school to be “outstanding” and indeed a rare case for a “satisfactory” school – Worthing High being “satisfactory”.  Peter Griffiths said it was usual to be an “oustanding” or “good” school and unusual for a “satisfactory” school to become an academy – unusual but not forbidden.
Friday 20th July – West Sussex Cabinet Member for Finance Michael Brown, as he said in his own words, was is in the rare position in pleading for money to be spent. Michael Brown was referring to the £15 million released from capital reserves to districts and boroughs to be spent on infrastucture and creation of jobs. At the time Worthing Borough Council controversially only received £300,000 against £1.5 million given to Chichester.  Yet even that £300,000 has not been spent by Worthing Borough Council. The message from the Cabinet Member was clear: “Just get on with it!”.
Friday 20th July – The next West Sussex Tory budget is not due to be put to the Council until Februay 2013 but its stall was laid out today by backbencher Richard Burrett.  Mr Burrett, aided and abetted by leading Tories including Worthing’s very own Steven Waight, warned off the Lib Dems for daring to suggest monies were more useful spent on the vulnerable and reducing cuts than put into ever growing reserves.  Leading Lib Dems Morwen Millson, James Walsh and Derek Deedman swiftly saw the ploy for what it really was – a cynical political move to gain the high ground in front of next year’s County elections.  The Lib Dems lined up to admonish Mr Burrett for pre-determining the budget which is over six months away and for further heaping more disappointment on to the most vulnerable in West Sussex.  Unsurprisingly Mr Burret’s motion passed with every Tory in support.
Sunday 22nd July – Jackie Cranefield’s Famous Strawberry Tea – 45 Salvington Road at 4.00 pm
Monday 23rd July – WSCC Worthing County Local Committee –  Chatsworth Hotel, 17-23 The Steyne at 7.00 pm
Tuesday 24th July – WSCC Planning Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am
Wednesday 25th July – WSCC Pensions Panel – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am
Wednesday 25th July – WSCC Pensions Panel – County Hall, Chichester at 2.15 pm
Wednesday 25th July – Lib Dem Northbrook/Durrington Ward Surgery – The Durrington Community Centre, New Road 7.30 to 8.30 pm
Thursday 26th July – WSCC West Sussex Joint Commissioning Board – County Hall, Chichester at 2.15 pm
Thursday 26th July – ADC & WBC Joint Strategic Commitee – Town Hall at 6.30 pm
Saturday 28th July – Lib Dem Castle Ward Surgery – The Strand Shops 10.00 to 10.30 am
Saturday 28th July – Lib Dem Gaisford/Tarring Castle Wards Surgery – West Worthing Baptist Church, South Street, Tarring 10.30 to 12.00 noon

Saturday 4th August – 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 4th August – Lib Dem Broadwater Ward Surgery – The Community House, Dominion Road 3.00 pm to 4.00 pm
and every first Saturday of the month
Wednesday 8th August – WBC Planning Commitee – Gordon Room, Town Hall at 6.00 pm
Tuesday 21st August – Lib Dem Durrington Surgery – New Life Church, Durrington 7.00 to 8.00 pm
and every third Tuesday of the month
Printed (dispatched) by Virgin Media, Communications House, Bartley Wood Business Park, Bartley Way, Hook, Hampshire, RG27 9UP
Published and promoted by Worthing Liberal Democrats, 18 Woodlea Road, Worthing, West Sussex BN13 1BN