Final budget to be agreed by County Council
Friday, 10 February 2017 17:41

West Sussex County Council will meet next week (Friday 17 February) to agree its budget and a number of investments in key projects across the county.

The budget has been planned in line with the priorities of ‘keeping you safe’, ‘providing education and schools’ and ‘roads, buses and countryside’, which were identified by residents last year in the County Council’s ‘What Matters to You’ survey.

The meeting, at County Hall in Chichester, will hear how next year’s budget has been balanced. It will also hear about significant investments being made in key priority areas such as schools, roads and the Fire and Rescue Service as part of a £587m capital programme for the next five years.

Efficiencies and savings have been put forward to bridge a challenging financial gap of £46.1m for 2017/18, resulting from demand on social care services and a continued reduction in central government funding. The County Council has identified £16.8m savings across of number of services and is proposing to use £9.4m of reserves to ensure front line services remain protected for residents.

The remaining amount is due to be found via a council tax increase of 1.95% plus an additional 2% to fund adult social care, providing a total of 3.95%, the equivalent of an extra 92 pence per week for the average Band D household.

Two thirds of residents who responded to the ‘What Matters to You’ survey in 2016 said they would be happy for their council tax to increase by 3.75 per cent or more.

County Council Leader, Louise Goldsmith, said: “As in previous years we have carefully looked at our budget and have made efficiencies and savings wherever possible. We have looked closely at what residents have told us is important to them and have made considered decisions about how to spend the funds we have available to us.

“An increase in council tax is unfortunately inevitable if we want to protect frontline services. But we have kept the increase as low as possible in order to reduce the financial impact on our residents as much as we can.”

The meeting will also hear about the proposed capital investments of £587m in our communities over the next five years including £203m for schools, £11m to improve the quality of footways and pavements, £13m on highways maintenance, £20m to work with adult social care providers to help develop the care market, 11m for equipment and fleet for the Fire and Rescue Service and £30m to support growth projects across the county.

Louise added: “Whilst we have been careful to make savings, we have also made sure to look for opportunities for investment to ensure West Sussex remains a great place to live and work.”

The meeting will start at 10.30am. Members of the public are welcome to attend. The meeting will also be webcast.

Warnham road improvements to counter rat run
Friday, 10 February 2017 17:35

West Sussex Highways is making changes in Warnham to stop narrow country lanes being used as a rat run.

Engineers will build out the junction of Strood Lane and A281 Guildford Road.

The changes will stop motorists from turning right out of Strood Lane and left into Strood Lane.

At the same time, West Sussex Highways will clear vegetation, refresh road markings, resurface the junction and complete drainage improvements.

Work starts on Monday, February 13 and lasts for three weeks, subject to weather.

It will be carried out during daylight hours from Monday to Friday.

Strood Lane will close and a signed diversion route put in place for road users.

Once completed, work then starts on Byfleets Lane in Warnham.

West Sussex Highways is installing a series of laybys and passing places along it, between Strood Lane and the Field Place Estate.

The roadside verge will be repaired and reinforced.

Work starts on Monday, February 27 and is expected to last for nine weeks.

Byfleets Lane will close during the work, with access provided to local businesses and residents.

A diversion route will be in place for road users.

West Sussex Highways will work during daylight hours between Monday and Friday.

The total cost of the two schemes is about £200,000.

West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, Bob Lanzer, said: “We are making these improvements in response to the feelings of the local community in Warnham.

“They are concerned about the high levels of traffic using the country roads here.

“The changes to Strood Lane will encourage motorists to use more appropriate routes.

“Residents and businesses who use Byfleets Lane will also feel much safer once all the laybys and passing places are made more formal.”

New pedestrian crossing for major Worthing road
Friday, 10 February 2017 17:23

Pedestrians will find crossing the road much safer on a busy Worthing street.

West Sussex Highways is building a new pedestrian crossing in Tarring Road, near the junction with Clifton Road.

The scheme costs £55,000 and includes new dropped kerbs, blistered paving and audio technology for visually impaired pedestrians.

Work starts on Tuesday, February 14 and lasts for four weeks, weather permitting.

Working hours are 7am to 5pm from Monday to Friday.

No work is scheduled at weekends.

Two-way traffic lights will be in operation while construction takes place.

West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, Bob Lanzer, said: “This is a busy part of Worthing used by motorists and pedestrians, many of whom are travelling to or from the train station.

“This crossing will make it safer and easier to cross Tarring Road.

“Disruption is likely while it is being built, so we ask people to factor in extra time on their journeys if they are using Tarring Road.”

Worthing's economy is 'connected and thriving'
Tuesday, 31 January 2017 20:53

Worthing's economy is highly connected and thriving on the global market, according to statistics in the latest Centre for Cities report.

Data from the Cities Outlook 2017 report shows that Worthing is performing well above many cities in terms of jobs and exports.

Worthing's key stats:

  • 80.5% employment rate, yearly increase of 7.1%
  • 2nd highest exports per job in the country
  • One of only 12 cities ranked above average for productivity
  • 93.3% of properties achieving ultrafast broadband speeds

In analysis of the total value of exports by city, Worthing is ranked second - ahead of London and only bettered by Sunderland - giving great confidence in the town's industries and trade.

The statistics also shows Worthing to be highly competitive within our geographical region, for example sitting in the top band in terms of productivity - highlighting both an innovative and efficient economy.

Worthing ranks highest in digital connectivity, one of the key components for a city's offer to businesses and entrepreneurs. Last year 93.3% of properties in the town achieved ultrafast broadband speeds (above 100 Mbps), the highest percentage in a category where 8 of the top 10 cities were in the South.

Elsewhere in the report, there appears to be a direct correlation between the local economy's high performance and employment figures. With a rate of 80.5%, Worthing has the 5th highest employment rate - increasing by 7.1% from the previous year.

Worthing also performs well in statistics relating to skills and education, with the town ranked 2nd in terms of the populations percentage that has formal qualifications (just 4.2% with no formal qualifications).

Cllr Daniel Humphreys, Leader of Worthing Borough Council, enthusiastically welcomed the publication of the report.

“The Council has been championing the growth of our economy, supporting our local businesses and opening our doors to innovative enterprises who want to make Worthing their home.”

“As underlined by Centre for Cities, this approach has made us one of the most productive places in the UK, creating a sound platform onto which we can invite further high value business investment.”

“We offer world-leading employers a highly-networked environment supported by wise regulation and a business-positive approach in which to grow their companies. The message is clear - Worthing works.”

The report's findings are particularly welcomed after recent efforts from Worthing Borough Council to market the Borough on the national stage. The Investment Prospectus and partnered website InvestAW (see link below) are just some of the tools aimed at attracting new businesses to Worthing, and a number of key regeneration sites are edging closer to being unlocked for development.

Cllr Bryan Turner, Worthing Borough Council's Executive Member for Regeneration, added:

“This report is a positive endorsement for the Borough as a great place to do business. Already leading the country in high speed broadband access, we will pull further away from the pack when the benefits of our strategic investment in Gigabit infrastructure start to be felt more widely, especially in relation to reliability.”

“Through years of consistent work and investment, the Borough has become a launchpad for people to do great things - whether that's grow a digital and technology company, start an innovative social enterprise or export to the other side of the world.”

Peter Webb, MBE, Managing Director of local company Electronic Temperature Instruments Ltd (ETI), also commented:

“As a specialist, UK manufacturer, we are passionate about what we do! Temperature measurement encompasses a wide variety of needs and applications, and Electronic Temperature Instruments Ltd (ETI) has developed a wide range of instruments and sensors. We manufacture approximately 75% of our product range onsite in two company owned factories here in Worthing, West Sussex. As well as serving many industries and applications in the UK, we also export to over 100 countries worldwide providing the same first class temperature measuring solutions.”

“We're very pleased to be playing our part in Worthing's vibrant economy, which is performing well in terms of productivity and innovation, as reflected in this report”

See also: Invest AW website

Follow the LEADER - funding available to help rural businesses grow
Monday, 30 January 2017 10:15

There’s still funding available for small rural businesses and community groups to apply for with the LEADER grants scheme. 

Farmers, foresters and communities based in rural areas of West Sussex, Lewes district and Hayling Island can benefit from LEADER grant funding totalling around £2.6 million until September 2018, and possibly beyond. Grants are available for capital investments for projects that will create jobs and grow the rural economy. 

West Sussex County Council Leader Louise Goldsmith said: “The LEADER fund is an important source of grants available to our many rural communities. It’s there to benefit and boost businesses and community groups. 

“We know from the previous LEADER programme that this funding has been so very helpful for people developing their businesses and has been much appreciated. 

“If you think you’d benefit from a grant, maybe you want to recruit new staff or grow your business, then I would encourage you to apply. Who knows where that extra bit of funding could take you and your business.” 

Under the current scheme, a total of £380,000 has so far been awarded to 13 projects in this region, creating 25 full time jobs over the next three years. 

One such project is local wine producer Tinwood Wine Estate, near Chichester, who invested their grant in the construction of three vineyard lodges – giving visitors the choice of an overnight stay and a five star view of the vines. 

Estate owner Art Tukker said: “We first saw the concept in Australia and New Zealand and thought it would be wonderful to bring back here.” 

“Without the funding our business plan would never have been able to get off the ground.” 

The owners of Holmbush Farm, near Crawley, were another successful applicant who used their grant to purchase a forestry harvester head with an on-board computer plus hard-standing at their wood-yard. The project has increased the volume of woodchip and green waste able to be processed and created an additional full-time job. 

For more information and for details on how to apply, visit the Business West Sussex website at www.businesswestsussex.co.uk or call the LEADER team on 0330 22 28001.


Bus operator discounts help lessen the loss of 3in1 cards
Saturday, 24 December 2016 14:26

West Sussex County Council has worked with bus operators to lessen the loss of the 3in1 travel card in 2017.

The 3in1 Card scheme, which offers savings on bus travel for young people aged five to 19, ends on 31 December 2016.

The card is discontinuing due to changes in national legislation, local policy, and to help fill a funding shortfall this year.

The County Council held discussions with bus operators, schools and colleges about future travel concessions once the scheme stops.

This means most pupils and students (aged 16-19) will not have to pay a full adult fare because each bus operator is offering its own individual discount.

The discounts on offer from January 2017 are:

Metrobus is introducing a new Student discount of 25% off adult Metrovoyagers, Crawley Metroriders and Horsham Metroriders when using a special key smartcard, which is free to obtain when presenting proof of student status at Crawley Travel Shop. It has a child discount on area tickets and 50% off adult fares on singles and returns. For more information visit the Metrobus website or call 01293 449191.

Stagecoach has introduced new discounted Termrider and Unirider tickets for school and college students. It also has a child discount of 33% off adult fares and offers a weekly student rate Megarider Gold.  For more information visit the Stagecoach website or call 0345 121 0190.

Compass Travel has introduced a new student discount of 25% off adult fares. It has a child discount of 50% off adult fares.  For more information visit the Compass website or call 01903 690025.

Sussex Coaches has student discounts available on most services. The discount is not available on N8 or 68 services. For more information visit the Sussex Coaches website or call 01403 741976.

Brighton & Hove offers 50% off adult fares to children and students up to 18 with a free BusID card. For more information visit www.buses.co.uk or call 01273 886200.

Emsworth & District offers a child discount of 50% off adult fares.  For more information see Emsworth & District website or call 01243 378337.

County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, Bob Lanzer, said: “We would like to thank all the bus operators for their co-operation in putting together this series of offers.

“This goes some way to help mitigate the impact of the withdrawal of the 3in1 card on New Year’s Eve.

“Extra help is also available for low income students aged 16-19, who can apply for assistance with travel costs through the 16-19 Bursary Fund.

“You can ask your school or college for further information.”

The County Council is also providing financial help for a specific group of low income card holders up to 16 (Year 11 or below), who will be contacted directly.

All 3in1 card holders with a card that expires in January 2017 or later will be part-refunded.

The County Council will send a letter to all affected card holders.

Anyone who has not received a letter by the end of January, and thinks they are entitled to a refund, should contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 01243 777330.BobLanzer

Louise Goldsmith calls for Transparency in A27 Consultation
Saturday, 24 December 2016 14:18

Louise Goldsmith has written to Highways England to urge it to publish the findings of its 10-week public consultation, and has said to do otherwise would ‘raise suspicions of a process that lacks transparency and openness’.

Highways England, which manages the A27, put forward five different options for improvements around Chichester over the summer. It invited residents and businesses to comment on each proposal and choose a favoured option.

Louise now wants Highways England to publish the consultation data relating to all five proposals in advance of any announcement of a preferred option.

Louise said: “"It is absolutely imperative to all residents in the area that there is total confidence in the integrity of the consultation process. Regrettably the Highways England Chichester A27 process has been marred from the beginning.

"The whole consultation process has generated very strong feelings and emotions, the majority of residents are deeply sceptical about the whole process, communities are divided and people are feeling aggrieved.

 “It could be that the consultation needs to be re-run and of course that could mean that the whole timescale could slip. But that may be what has to happen to ensure all residents have faith in the process.

"It is so important that we have the right solution based on all available information and I will do all I can to ensure this happens.LouiseGoldsmith2

We call on Government to set up a Task Force to Investigate the Challenges of Adult Social Care
Monday, 19 December 2016 12:04

West Sussex county councillors have called on the government to set up a task force to tackle the adult social care crisis.

Councillors from all political parties unanimously urged the government to take “bold thinking and decisive action” to help struggling social care services at a meeting of Full Council at County Hall, Chichester, today (Friday 16 December).

The council will spend £296 million – 36 per cent of its entire budget – next year on adult social care services, to meet the increasing demand for care.

Overall the budget for adult social care has risen from 33 per cent of the total council budget in 2013/14 to 36 per cent in 2017/18.

The County Council Leader, Louise Goldsmith, will now write to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to raise the council’s serious concerns and call for national leadership to address the long term issues.

The County Council is considering this week’s offer from government to increase council tax further than originally expected to cover the growing costs of adult social care. However, today, calls were made by the Full Council for government to develop a longer term and strategic view of how to support an increasingly ageing population.

The County Council will also set up a local leadership group to work in partnership with NHS organisations, district and borough councils, voluntary and community sector and care providers.

Council services support around 13,000 older people of whom 8,000 are eligible for financial support. The number of people over 75 will increase by an additional 2,200 people each year until 2021 and then a further rise of 4,400 will be seen every year.

Peter Catchpole, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, said: “The older population is growing and with age comes frailty and long term conditions.

“The 2 per cent social care precept raised around £7 million last year, which did little more than to cover the costs of the national living wage and other inflationary pressures.

“We, along with many other councils, are facing a desperate situation and we are having to make difficult decisions about other services in our attempts to protect Adults' Services.

“As well as funding pressures we hope the recruitment and retention of care workers can also be addressed at a national level.”

County Council Leader, Louise Goldsmith, said: “We need the Government to grasp the nettle, look at properly funding social care and make long-term plans and I was delighted that our calls received cross party support today.

“By increasing council tax we are simply adding the burden onto local council taxpayers and this does not address the wider systematic and widespread issues of an ageing population nationally with more people requiring support or care.

“I welcome the statement from the Prime Minister that she is committed to finding a sustainable funding solution for the future but we need to see action now. Drip feeding money into the system is simply not sufficient.

“What is needed is national leadership that will focus on helping people to help themselves. We are reaching a tipping point and we now need bold thinking and decisive action to come from government.”

The County Council has invested in more efficient ways of delivering services and is working closer than ever with partners in the health service to deal with the dual pressures of increasing demand and reducing resources.

County Councillors will make decisions on council tax rises for 2017/18 in February.

Conservative Leadership takes bold step to secure hi-tech future for County
Thursday, 15 December 2016 11:07

A pioneering project from West Sussex County Council to develop a disused site in Horsham has taken a significant step forward.

The purchase of an 18.6 acre site, formally owned by global health care company Novartis, has been finalised, meaning plans to transform the site can now be taken forward.

Louise Goldsmith, Leader of West Sussex County Council, said: “This is a huge boost for the West Sussex economy which we hope will create many new jobs.

“We have major ambitions to attract businesses from the health and life science sector as we know this is a growing industry with huge potential.

“We are also interested in attracting leading companies and new businesses to West Sussex to create new jobs and opportunities.”

Subject to planning approval, the Wimblehurst Road site will be transformed into quality employment and residential space – helping West Sussex cover the cost of its investment and securing a good deal for the taxpayer.

The County Council announced in January 2016 that it intended to buy the site. Since then detailed work has been carried out including site evaluations, the demolition of several buildings and work to ensure the purchase offered good value for money overall.

Louise added: “It was important for us to ensure that thorough checks had been made before we committed to the completion of this purchase. We are confident this will bring about huge benefits to the county, but at the same time we needed to ensure we were investing wisely and that our plans could be realised.”

The County Council will work with commercial advisors to develop the right mix of business, office accommodation and start up space to transform the site.

Ray Dawe, Leader of Horsham District Council said: “It is very good news that West Sussex County Council has completed the purchase of the Novartis site.

“We need to create employment opportunities and stimulate economic growth and it is excellent to see that as the key part of the plan. In particular this project should provide a boost for small and innovative start-up businesses.

“There will be a number of planning and contractual procedures that West Sussex County Council will need to follow to develop the site, and we will work closely with them to support their ideas.”

Any businesses interested in this redevelopment opportunity can find out more at www.investwestsussex.co.uk/novartissite

Even Better Pavements for West Sussex over next two years
Thursday, 27 October 2016 13:01

West Sussex County Council’s Even Better Pavements programme is reaping dividends.

The scheme, which will see £5m invested in the county’s pavements over two years, will help protect the most vulnerable from slips, trips and falls on uneven surfaces.

Priority has been given to pathways used for approaches to schools, clinics and hospitals, and areas with high footfall.

The County Council is spending £2m this year and £3m in 2017/18.

Improvements are being made in 2016/17 to pavements in Lancing, Sompting, Bognor Regis, Selsey, Crawley, Horsham, Haywards Heath and Burgess Hill.

Pavements are being reconstructed or given a new asphalt surface.

Work is carried out in one geographical area at a time to minimise disruption and cost.

County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, Bob Lanzer, said: “We look after nearly four thousand kilometres of pavements in West Sussex and walk and inspect every single one at least once a year.

“The Even Better Pavements programme is taking this one stage further.

“The extra investment will enhance the look of pavements in our towns and make it even safer for pedestrians, particularly residents with reduced mobility, to use confidently.

“Work is progressing well and residents will start noticing the difference.”

The work is above and beyond the County Council annual road improvements and maintenance programme.

bob lanzer v2-1


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