£150M Gatwick Station Upgrade Announced
Wednesday, 17 July 2019 09:26

The announcement of a £150 million funding agreement to remodel Gatwick railway station has been welcomed by West Sussex County Council.

The funding agreement has been reached between central Government, Gatwick Airport Limited (GAL) and Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). The scheme will improve passenger accessibility within the station by enlarging and decluttering the concourse and installing additional lifts and escalators.

West Sussex County Council Leader Louise Goldsmith said: “This investment is brilliant news for West Sussex. Gatwick Airport is a vital gateway to international markets and for visitors to access the UK. Providing additional passenger capacity and transforming the quality of the station environment will not only make it a better customer experience, but will help to increase rail usage to the airport and reduce the use of private cars.

“The scheme will inevitably cause disruption while works take place, so we strongly encourage train operators to publish details of planned service changes as soon as possible so that rail passengers can plan ahead.”

The number of rail passengers to Gatwick has grown by around 80% since 2002 and the railway station also provides access to Manor Royal Business District. Around 39% of passengers now access the airport by rail. The scheme will help to meet that and future demands by helping to clear current overcrowding on platforms, which in turn can delay train services.

The funding announcement shows that the scheme will cost around £150 million. This is being met by GAL (up to £37 million), Coast to Capital LEP (£10 million) and the remainder from the Department for Transport. Construction is due to begin in May 2020 and complete in November 2022.

Bee-friendly garden created on Angmering station platform
Wednesday, 17 July 2019 09:21

A bee-friendly garden has been created by community groups on the platform of Angmering Railway Station.

Filled with wildflowers and art made from recycled materials, the garden is a habitat for pollinators including bees, butterflies and beetles.

It was made by the Friends of Angmering Station, a partnership of community groups which includes:

• Railway Partners
• Artworks
• Georgian Gardens Community Primary School
• Men in Sheds

The importance of protecting pollinating insects is being highlighted by West Sussex County Council in their new Pollinator Action Plan.

Residents are being encouraged to preserve their habitats in order to sustain these species across the county.

Deborah Urquhart, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “This project has transformed the platform at Angmering Station into a true oasis for important pollinators like bees and butterflies. Without them our food supply, wildlife and countryside would cease to exist.

“I would like to thank all the groups involved and to encourage others in the county to think about the small changes they can make to protect and preserve our pollinators.”

Deirdre Carolin, Eco and Community Events at Georgian Gardens Community Primary School, said: “’Friends of Angmering Station’ is a Railway Partnership whose aim is to engage the local community (of all ages) with environmentally friendly projects which, in turn, enhance the environment of the station. This year we have made the ‘Pollinator Promise’ and have seeded a new garden area with plants proven to be insect friendly. Children from Georgian Gardens Community Primary School have painted bird and bee boxes made by the local Men In Sheds Group. The area also showcases art work using recycled materials created by the children in workshops run by the local not for profit community art group ‘Artworks’.”

For more information about creating pollinator-friendly habitats, visit: www.westsussex.gov.uk/bees


Our Public Health team raise awareness in Park Runs
Wednesday, 17 July 2019 09:13

Members of the West Sussex County Council Public Health Team joined colleagues from Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust (SPFT) at the Lancing Park Run on Saturday 12 July to raise awareness of suicide prevention.

Wearing highly-visible yellow ‘Suicide Awareness For Everyone’ t-shirts, the group took part in the run and handed out info cards at the finishing line, with Karen Hoskin from SPFT giving a short talk before the start.

This is part of a wider awareness campaign at Park Runs across the county.

This coming Saturday (20 July), Public Health will be at the Horsham Park Run.

Anyone from West Sussex County Council, especially Members, please come and say hello if you’re taking part.

Ground-breaking ceremony marks the start of new Extra Care apartments
Thursday, 04 July 2019 12:01

Building work is underway on a new Extra Care Living scheme in Westergate after a ground-breaking ceremony last week.

The new scheme in West Sussex, which is being developed by Housing 21 in partnership with Arun District Council and West Sussex County Council, will provide 60 one and two bedroom apartments for affordable rent and shared ownership.

The development will offer people over the age of 55 a range of services and facilities including a 24 hour on-site care team for those who need it, a café/bistro, hair salon and communal lounge which is also available to the local community.

The scheme will be named Monaveen in memory of the royal racehorse, which was the first horse to run in The Queen’s colours and made its first winning appearance at local racecourse, Fontwell Park in October 1949.

Housing 21’s Monaveen is being constructed alongside Taylor Wimpey’s ‘The Hedgerows’ development, which will provide 208 family homes on Fontwell Avenue. The Extra Care Living development is set for completion in December 2020 with the first residents moving into their homes in early 2021.

Representatives of Housing 21, Arun District Council and West Sussex County Council were also joined by students from Ormiston Six Villages School who will take on the challenge of producing a piece of artwork with their peers. The finished piece celebrating Monaveen is to be unveiled at the scheme’s grand opening event in 2021.

Amanda Jupp, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Adults and Health said: “Enabling people to retain their independence in later life is a significant priority for the county council, so I’m excited to see the start of this new scheme. We are delighted to be working in partnership with Housing 21 which will own and manage the scheme, and with Arun District Council which has also helped to make this scheme possible.”

Tracy Jones, Head of Extra Care at Housing 21 said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with West Sussex County Council and Arun District Council to provide the latest Extra Care scheme in West Sussex, which will be named after the royal winning racehorse Monaveen. 

“Housing 21 is the leading provider of Extra Care across England, providing at least 10 percent of the country’s provision. We will be working closely with the local schools, older peoples groups and the social work teams in Westergate to ensure a fully integrated and community feel to the scheme upon opening. This ceremony marks the beginning of a very exciting build journey in West Sussex!”


"Our Town" Launches in Worthing
Saturday, 29 June 2019 07:39

A new scheme launched on Friday 28th June will help people feel safe in Worthing town centre.

Those taking part in the ‘Our Town’ scheme will be given a card to write the contact details of two people, for example a relative, friend or carer.

If they need help when out and about, they can take the card into a participating shop where staff will be trained to offer basic help and can call one of the numbers on the card if the person requires more assistance.

Shops and venues taking part in the scheme will display a window sticker to make it obvious that they are involved.

The ‘Our Town’ scheme was launched by West Sussex County Council, with Conservative Cllrs Debbie Kennard, Amanda Jupp and Bryan Turner in attendance. The Pines Community Choir entertained the crowd.

It is based on similar initiatives in Horsham and Chichester and will be rolled out to more shops and organisations on a weekly basis.

Debbie Kennard, the Cabinet Member for Safer, Stronger Communities, said: “This is a brilliant scheme which I know is already having a really positive impact in other parts of the county. I am so pleased it is now being launched in Worthing.

“We would really encourage as many shops and businesses in the town as possible to start taking part.”

Participating venues include Worthing Library, Coast Café, Harlequin Hair and the Lido.

The ‘Our Town’ cards will be available from participating venues.


New retained firefighters welcomed to West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service
Friday, 28 June 2019 13:41

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service has welcomed nine new retained (on-call) firefighters to its ranks following an intensive two week training programme.


Having been put through their paces in the yard at Worthing Fire Station they welcomed family and friends to a Pass Out Parade on Friday, June 21.


They will now join the crews at a number of fire stations across the county to provide on-call support. Many of the new recruits have full-time jobs elsewhere in their communities. Living or working in close proximity the station, they can be paged at any time of the day to respond to an emergency situation.


Among the new recruits was Kerrie Sutton who works for Sanctuary Housing Association. She will be joining the crew at Lancing Fire Station.


She said: “It is always something I wanted to do when I was younger, but life took a different direction for me so it wasn't something I was able to do. 


“I saw an advert in a local parish newspaper and I thought, well why not? I am just going to go for it and here I am.


“I love being part of something, and I feel like I am part of a family and a community. You only live once so you may as well give it a go!”


The course marked a return to West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service for Chris Relf, who will be joining the ranks of East Wittering Fire Station in addition to his day job at West Sussex Alternative Provisions College in North Mundham having previously served at Bosham Fire Station.


He said: “The best thing is the camaraderie, we are all in it together. Having done it before I would definitely advise anyone to give it a go. Everyone looks out for each other and you get to do some really, really interesting things.”


For professional detail car valeter Lucy Stout, joining the fire service was also something she had dreamed of doing, but didn’t feel she had enough self-confidence to see through. After putting in the hard work, she is now joining the crew at Haywards Heath. 


She said: “I knew if I didn’t believe in myself I wouldn’t get there, so I believed in myself and here I am!


“It is literally the best thing I have ever done, everyone is really friendly and they all want to help you out - they want you to pass. The hose running was hard, but it was fun and there was a lot of encouragement from the team.”


Galo David Choez Loor is the newest recruit to join Chichester Fire Station. Living and working in the city at a coffee shop, he was keen to explore something new.


He said: “I love helping people, that was one of my main incentives for doing this.


“I would encourage anyone who wants to become an on call firefighter to do so, it is a hard course but it is really rewarding, and it gives you real skills for life, you study and work with people from different backgrounds so you get to meet a lot of different people.”


Presenting the new recruits with their certificates at Worthing Fire Station was West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service’s Area Manager for Response, Jon Simpson. He said: “It was a real privilege to welcome nine new on-call firefighters to West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service. 


“Feedback from the lead instructors was really excellent following their two week intensive course. 


“We wish them all the very best of luck and know that they are going to make a real difference to the communities they will serve. I would like to thank all of the instructors who have worked extremely hard to train and support our new firefighters.”

A video of the new recruits can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=id738bL5axc 

The nine new retained firefighters with their training instructors




Solar schools gear up for a bumper summer
Sunday, 09 June 2019 10:54

Solar panels on West Sussex schools are now generating as much green electricity as one of the county’s solar farms.

The Conservative County Council is completing the final installations on 80 schools to generate zero-carbon electricity and help them to reduce their energy bills and impact on the environment.

Once complete, the 5 megawatt combined generation capacity will be roughly the same as the council’s 25 acre solar farm at Tangmere, which opened in 2015.

The roof-mounted systems, which range in size from 15 to 250 kilowatts, have been installed at no cost to the schools and the ongoing operation and maintenance costs are met by the council.

The schools simply purchase the green electricity from the council at a reduced rate compared to the electricity they would usually buy from the National Grid.

This will lower school energy bills by £2,000 per year on average and save the County Council’s overall school energy budget £158,000 in the first year. These savings will increase over time as the cost of grid electricity rises.

Deborah Urquhart (Conservative), WSCC Cabinet Member for the Environment, said: “Our Solar Power for Schools Programme has really made it easy for schools to enjoy the benefits of renewable energy and lower bills without having to worry about the cost or logistics.

“These systems will pay back the cost of installation within a few years and deliver an ongoing financial benefit while providing teachers with a real life case study to bring science and technology to life in the classroom.”

The system installed at Lancastrian Infants School in Chichester will provide the school with 100% of its electricity demand on sunny days and supply surplus renewable electricity for sale to the grid.

Head Teacher Zoe Gordon said: “Our solar panels were fitted in January of this year. We were delighted to be chosen to be part of this scheme as it fits with our eco ethos as well as giving us the opportunity to save money in these pressing financial times for schools.

“The team that fitted the panels worked efficiently and respectfully within our school environment and the project ran smoothly. We are looking forward to lots of sunny weather and seeing the results of the panels!”

The West Sussex Conservative run County Council has delivered the  Solar Schools Programme in partnership with Portsmouth City Council.children-from-lancastrian-infants-school-in-chichester-with-the-solar-panels

Step forward for exciting new Worthing Community Hub
Sunday, 09 June 2019 10:50

Exciting plans for Worthing Community Hub have taken a step forward today.

Funding has been agreed to create a vibrant public space for residents to access a range of services in the town.

£3 million will be used to redesign Worthing Library into a hub where children and family services, registration services and library services will be based.

The council’s community hubs project aims to future proof services while creating dynamic engaging spaces for the local community.
Louise Goldsmith, Leader of West Sussex County Council, said: “I’m delighted that this incredibly exciting and ambitious project has got the go ahead.

“This is very good news for Worthing and its residents. It will create a public space to bring a range of services under one roof, giving easier access in one place. Everyone loves their local library. Reconfiguring to a Community Hub will offer so much more to many users, young and old alike, so I am really looking forward to seeing the new hub take shape.”

Hundreds of Worthing residents had their say in the early concept design for the hub last summer. The next step is to appoint a contractor and draw up final designs.

The plan is for the new community hub to be ready to open in the summer of 2020.  In order to complete the work, the Library in Richmond Road will close for approximately six months. During the work, there will be alternative library service provision which will be announced shortly.

Take action now to reduce the impact of climate change
Saturday, 08 June 2019 11:37

A major online campaign to encourage us all to play a part in reducing the impact of climate change is being launched by the County Council.

On World Environment Day (5 June 2019), the West Sussex Climate Pledge asks everyone in the county to commit to make small changes in key areas:

• Make low carbon journeys – reducing carbon emissions and improving air quality.
• Save water and energy – conserving the resources around us and opting for renewable energy sources where possible.
• Pass on plastic – avoiding single-use plastics and recycle wherever possible.
• Shop local – buying local produce, from local stores, to support the economy and cut down on the distance goods are transported.
• Fight against food waste – avoiding the time and energy it takes to produce food that is then wasted and the cost and environmental impact of its disposal.

Deborah Urquhart, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for the Environment, said: “All around us our planet is changing, and we simply must act now to make changes to the way we live if we want our habitat to survive for generations to come.

“There is a growing urgency to take action and all over the county we already have some amazing groups of people doing their bit. But many people may not know where to start or whether their actions will even make a difference. We hope by providing some simple first steps and sharing ideas it will encourage people to think about the effect they are having on the environment and how they can make changes for the better.”

People are being asked to pledge their support online and commit to making a series of simple changes to their everyday lives.

People will also be asked to sign up to a regular e-newsletter which will contain tips and advice around the five key areas and how they can fulfil their pledge.

Louise Goldsmith, Leader of the County Council, said: “We all need to act carefully and responsibly to ensure there are enough resources for today and tomorrow. Without a doubt it is imperative for us all to take action now and I can’t stress enough the importance of this and the unthinkable consequences of doing nothing.

“With the world’s population now around 7.7 billion people, all reliant on our one planet earth, we can all make a difference by acting together and doing everything possible to reduce the damage we are causing to our planet.

“As a County Council we are working hard to try to become carbon neutral and we’ve already significantly cut our carbon emissions by making our buildings more energy efficient. We’ve reduced our reliance on fossil fuels by investing in capturing renewable solar energy on schools, offices, fire stations and other buildings as well as at our solar farms.

“But there is more to do. Over the next four years we are planning a further £35m investment in low carbon energy projects alone and through this campaign we hope to encourage a movement in West Sussex towards more sustainable living.

“It may be hard for some but we all have to change the way we live by taking action. The consequences of not taking action are really scary and that is why I am making a plea for everyone to take action now.

“Please help us to achieve this by making your West Sussex Climate Pledge online and encouraging friends and family to join in and do the same. There are over 850,000 people living in West Sussex. If we all work together now we can collectively make a huge difference.”

Deborah added: “For many people the pledge will contain things they are already doing, and if that’s the case then we thank you. What we would ask is that you help us to spread the word to others to stress the importance of everyone acting together.

“After making your online pledge, I would encourage you to sign-up for our newsletter to receive regular updates, or join our online forum group on Facebook where you can ask questions and share your own ideas. You can also follow us on our new pledge Twitter account.

“Everyone has a part to play and we need your help if we are to make a difference. If we all work together to make small changes then together we can have an enormous impact.”

People can find out more and make their pledge by visiting www.westsussex.gov.uk/maketheclimatepledge, searching for the Facebook group ‘WS Climate Pledge’, searching for #WSClimatePledge or following @WSClimatePledge on Twitter.


Leader Louise Goldsmith blogs on Climate Change
Wednesday, 29 May 2019 12:19

It is often said that some of the best meetings are those impromptu ones, spur of the moment, maybe a chat round the coffee machine which can be informative and helpful, no agenda but just sharing ideas and thoughts.

That was very much the case last Friday when I met a group of youngsters who had come to County Hall to raise awareness about Climate Change.


As I arrived at County Hall I saw the group sitting in the sunshine outside the building, peacefully protesting and voicing their concerns.


This provided a real opportunity for me to spend some time listening to their very genuine concerns about their future if action is not taken, and also gave them a chance to ask me some great questions – which I was very happy to answer.


I was asked to write to the Education Minister to ask that Climate Change is put on the national curriculum. It was interesting to hear the comment from one of the protestors that they thought that the way the subject is covered at the moment doesn’t convey the seriousness of the issue. So I will be writing this week as promised.


I listened to the concerns about the chemicals used in Fracking and the impacts in West Sussex and was able to reassure the group that there is no fracking in West Sussex.


We talked about cycle lanes in Chichester and how to make public transport more accessible. We also all agreed that plastic food wrapping and the use of plastic shopping bags are completely unnecessary.


We mentioned the Refill scheme as one way to help reduce using plastic bottles and whether WSCC could help make available more recycling bins in towns and buildings.


There was a concern about councillors not listening to the voice of the youngsters on this issue so we agreed to meet again in a couple of months’ time so we can continue to share thoughts, ideas and concerns.


One question I was asked was ‘what worries me’ and of course Climate Change really concerns me. As we sat outside enjoying the warm sunshine it was an ironic reminder of the impact Climate Change is having on our weather patterns. Although many of us like the warmer weather, in the long term the effects of global warming and the lack of rain will have devastating consequences.


In the South East we live in a very water stressed area so it is a very important issue and something that has concerned me for many years now. On a personal level we need water to live our lives - to drink, shower, clean our teeth, and wash our clothes - but on another level without water our food crops fail, the grass becomes dried, and animals do not have enough to eat or drink. In cases of severe drought water is extracted from our rivers but that in turn has a big impact on our environment and wildlife. Everything suffers and that really worries me.


So one of the big things all of us can do is to make a real effort to reduce our water usage, such as cutting down on the time it takes to shower, making sure we don’t leave taps running when cleaning our teeth and washing our hands and dishes – all simple actions that can make a real difference.


When we raise the issue of climate change we must all accept there is a need for every one of us to take urgent action and we will be talking about this more next month when we will be launching a new campaign and asking you to take the ‘West Sussex Climate Pledge’.


As part of the campaign we will be suggesting what you can do to help and also asking you for your top tips as well.

If we all make changes now we should make that difference – the difference that those youngsters want to secure their future.



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Wednesday 17 July 2019

£150M Gatwick Station Upgrade Announced

The announcement of a £150 million funding agreement to remodel Gatwick railway station has been welcomed by West Sussex County…
Read More ...
Wednesday 17 July 2019

Bee-friendly garden created on Angmering station platform

A bee-friendly garden has been created by community groups on the platform of Angmering Railway Station. Filled with wildflowers and…
Read More ...
Wednesday 17 July 2019

Our Public Health team raise awareness in Park Runs

Members of the West Sussex County Council Public Health Team joined colleagues from Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust (SPFT) at the…
Read More ...

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