by Press Officer on 11 November, 2012
Articles for the past week:
Leader: Back to the future?
News this past week:
1. Ivy Arch New Access Do-able
2. £300,000 For Job Creation Kicked Into Long Grass
3. Death Cost Up But Council Tax Frozen
4. Capital Investment Programme
5. Only Six New Affordable Homes
6. Sewage – and there’s more
WORTHING LIBERAL DEMOCRATS WEEKLY NEWSLETTER 4TH TO 10TH NOVEMBER 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: Back to the future?
Worthing Borough Council officers have a list of capital works they would like to get done but at present do not have the funds – the Capital Investment Programme Reserve List. This list was presented to Adur & Worthing’s Joint Overview & Scrutiny Committee for approval on Thursday. Added to the Reserve List this time was work on Worthing’s car parks totalling £11.42 million: Buckingham Multi Storey Car Park Major structural works – £2.1 million; Grafton Multi Storey Car Park – £5.2 million; High Street Multi Storey Car Park – £3.12 million and replacement of all pay machines: £1 million. This was very familiar, as back in 2004 because of lack of maintenance by previous Tory administrations £4million was needed to be spent on car parks. This £4 million was met as part of the contract with NCP when they took over the management of Worthing’s car parks – although the sum now is almost three times as much. So are we going back to the future?
Worthing Liberal Democrats were itching to know the answer and took the opportunity to ask Cllr Steve Waight, Cabinet Member for Resources, during his interview by the committee on his portfolio. Lib Dem Michael Donin asked: “Does the Cabinet Member support the addition of these works and if so how will the work be financed?”. Firstly Cllr Waight expressed his opinion he thought the cost of the works would not be £11 million and thought in particular the Grafton figure was too high – a discussion he has to have with the officers. But his substantive answer was he did support the addition to the Reserve List and, as to financing, it all depends whether the car parks are taken in-house or whether management is outsourced – whether it be NCP or someone else. If taken back in house the cost would have to be met by Worthing Borough Council but if outsourced would be met by the external management as part of the contract. It was back to 2004 again – again back to the future.
And how exactly would Worthing Borough Council (WBC) finance the maintenance of the car parks to stop them falling down? Cllr Waight would use prudential borrowing – an option council officers have confirmed to the Car Parks Working Party was not available at the time in 2004 – in spite of recent Tory press comment to the contrary. Prudential borrowing is what is says on the tin – Worthing Borough Council can only borrow what it can reasonably expect to pay back and maintain the interest payments. As the WBC Finance Officer pointed out in her report later in the meeting, due to central government cuts the amounts of money available to Worthing in the future are becoming less and less. Interest payments are already being added to the budget to finance the cost of the new swimming pool while awaiting receipts from the sale of the old Aquarena and other sites – including we believe the very same Grafton site which needs so much work. To square that particular circle we expect the Grafton site offer comes with a hefty discount and it is probably why Cllr Waight hopes the £5.2 million figure is too high. So are we still scrabbling around to meet the the cost of the new pool? Lib Dem Cllr Norah Fisher tried to ask about the expected receipt from the Aquarena site but was met with the usual “confidential” response – back to the future there too.
Worthing’s Tories are living in the past but Worthing Liberal Demotrats don’t want to go back there – we want a brighter future.
Worthing Liberal Democrats
NEWS FROM THE PAST WEEK
IVY ARCH NEW ACCESS DO-ABLE
Wednesday 7th November – Lib Dem Broadwater County Councillor Alan Rice met with West Sussex officers and South Broadwater Residents Association Chair Tim Nicholls today to look at whether a new access to the Ivy Arch Trading Estate was possible. Broadwater residents have long suffered heavy goods vehicles using quiet residential streets to access the trading estate and have been looking for a permanent solution. There used to be an access from Broadwater Bridge in to Ivy Arch Road but many residents throught it was too steep to re-open. Not so, said the West Sussex Highways engineer today after inspecting the site – it is do-able. The group also looked at improving the “no HGV” signs which are considered too small and often in the wrong place to stop lorries committing themselves to residential streets. The engineer is to draw up a plan for signage giving a preferred route – Dominion Road, Sompting Avenue, Broadwater Road and, until the new access is available, King Edward Avenue. Directional road markings are also being looked at at the junction of Broadwater Road with Northcourt Road and Cecilan Avenue to ease congestion at peak times.
Alan said: “The source of the problem is Ivy Arch Trading Estate is in the wrong place and I have queried in the past the possibility of businesses moving to empty commercial properties on the outskirts but as yet to no avail. A new access with a preferred route is the best option currently available to us now. It is do-able – let’s get on and do it.”
£300,000 FOR JOB CREATION KICKED INTO THE LONG GRASS
Thursday 8th November – It was the turn of Worthing’s Cabinet Member for Resources Steve Waight to be grilled on his portfolio at tonight’s Adur & Worthing Joint Overview & Scrutiny Committee. Liberal Democrats were ready with their questions including when can Worthing expect the £300,000 made available by West Sussex County Council in December 2011 for job creation to be put to good use. Cllr Waight said he did not expect the funds to be used until after the County elections – effectively not until May 2013 at least. The Cabinet Member did not offer any explanation to the delay but did say the preferred scheme of Leader of the Council Paul Yallop to refurbish the Montague Street pavement would cost at the minimum £1 million – other funds would obviously be needed. Michael Donin also queried the addition of car park works to the Capital Investment Programme Reserve List to the tune of £11 million and Cllr Waight confirmed his support.
Michael said: “West Sussex made this £300,000 available a year ago for urgent job creation in Worthing and yet we still have no firm ideas on how the money will be used. Not only that, but it appears we have to wait at least another six months. I know the recession is expected to go on for a number of years but I would have hoped this money would have already been put to good use. It’s just the usual Tory dither and delay”.
DEATH COST UP BUT COUNCIL TAX FROZEN
Thursday 8th November – Adur & Worthing Joint Overview & Scrutiny Committee were presented with a grim picture of the future by the Chief Finance Officer tonight. Worthing’s outline 5-year forecast for 2013/18 budget strategy has identified the following increasing shortfalls: 2013/14 – £352k; 2014/15 – £812k; 2015/16 – £1.330m; 2016/17 – £2.183m and 2017/18 – 2.896m. Savings have been identified of £517k – over half of which, £239k, is from extra income through increased charges, increased demand and reduced costs at the crematorium. The committee was asked to appove the savings and also whether to freeze Council Tax for another year. The Finance Officer expressed her reservations about the consequences of freezing the Council Tax but the committee recommended for Council in February 2013 to freeze. The committee also recommended approval of adopting the identified savings.
Worthing Borough Lib Dem Group Leader Alan Rice said: ” Benjamin Franklin said ‘in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.’ By increasing crematorium charges the Tories have used one to combat the other.”
CAPITAL INVESTMENT PROGRAMME
Thursday 8th November – The WBC Capital Investment programme for 2013/14 to 2015/16 was presented to the Adur & Worthing Joint Overview & Scrutiny Committee tonight with a total budget of £6.229 million for approved works. Council sources for funding as at 2013/4 are £1.5m with expected spends – 2013/14 – £2.1591m; 2014/15 – £2.0739m and 2015/16 – £1.996m. Schemes included in the programme include Housing Disabled Mandatory Facilities (£2,250,000); Affordable Housing (£1,000,000); Denton Lounge kitchen improvements (168,000);Worthing Leisure jacuzzi replacement (£55,000); Homefield Park Play area (£55,000); Goring Recreation Ground high fence (£30,200); Highdown Field Pavilion (£27,500) and Pond Lane Recreation Ground Pavilion (£16,500). Added to the Reserve List was £11.42 million for maintenance of Worthing’s car parks.
Lib Dem Worthing Borough Councillor Victoria Taylor said: “Once again Kitty’s Field in Broadwater has missed out in the long overdue replacement of play equipment. We are still awaiting installation of the promised lighting in this year’s capital programme due September 2012 – now expected February 2013. Money is available for the Highdown changing rooms and Pond Lane pavilion roof – it would be nice to have a pavilion.”
ONLY SIX NEW AFFORDABLE HOMES
Thursday 8th November – At the last count there were 1,625 people on Worthing’s housing waiting list – 1 bedroom: 915, 2 bedrooms: 512, 3 bedrooms:181 and 4 bedrooms:17. Tonight Adur & Worthing’s Joint Overview & Scrutiny Committee were presented with a report on Adur & Worthing Housing Strategy 2012. It was revealed during the debate that Worthing only provided six new affordable homes in the past year but has a future target of 70 per year. As the Housing Officer admitted this will still not address the housing waiting list in any significant way.
SEWAGE – AND THERE’S MORE
Thursday 8th November – Unlike Thanet District Council which is thoroughly investigating in the sewage spill in Margate earlier this year through commissioning a task and finish group, Worthing has accepted legal advice not to until investigations by the Environment Agency have completed. In the meantime it was revealed at last night’s Joint Overview & Scrutiny Committee there has been another sewage leak or dump in East Worthing – albeit smaller than the one earlier in the year.
Wednesday 14th November – Lib Dem Northbrook/Durrington Ward Surgery – The Durrington Community Centre, New Road 7.30 to 8.30 pm
Tuesday 13th November – WSCC Planning Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am
Thursday 15th November – Police & Crime Commissioner Election
Thursday 15th November – WSCC Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am
Saturday 17th November – Lib Dem Castle Ward Surgery – The Strand Shops 10.00 to 10.30 am
Saturday 17th November – Lib Dem Gaisford/Tarring Castle Wards Surgery – West Worthing Baptist Church, South Street, Tarring 10.30 am to 12.00 noon
Wednesday 21st November – WSCC Environmental and Community Services Select Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am
Thursday 22nd November – WSCC Shadow West Sussex Health and Wellbeing Board – County Hall, Chichester at 2.15 pm
Thursday 22nd November – ADC & WBC Joint Governance & Audit Committee – Gordon Room, Town Hall at 6.30 pm
Monday 26th November – WSCC Governance Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 2.15 pm
Tuesday 27th November – WSCC Cabinet – County Hall, Chichester at 10.00 am
Wednesday 28th November – WSCC Children and Young People’s Select Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 10.00 am
Wednesday 28th November- WBC Planning Committee – Gordon Room, Town Hall at 6.00 pm
Saturday 1st December – 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 1st December – Lib Dem Broadwater Ward Surgery – The Community House, Dominion Road 3.00 pm to 4.00 pm
and every first Saturday of the month
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