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Green-ribbon cutting marks official opening of new shared pedestrian and cycle path
Thursday, 02 August 2018 14:54

The official opening of the Bognor Regis to Littlehampton shared pedestrian and cycle path has been welcomed by West Sussex Cycle Forum – with a plea for even more people to use it.

Costing £2million, the 4.5km-long direct route is already proving popular with pedestrians and cyclists and was officially opened with the cutting of a green ribbon (in-keeping with the green/sustainable transport theme) by county council Leader Louise Goldsmith today (Thursday).

West Sussex Cycle Forum chairman Geoff Farrell said: “At last - a way to cycle safely between Felpham and Littlehampton!

“The main reason why people say ‘I’d like to ride a bike - but I won’t’ is because cycling is not seen as safe. Separating bikes from vehicles is the only truly safe way.

“The new path will encourage people to get riding - the benefits for the individual and society are huge. That’s why we ALL need many more miles of cycle paths separated from traffic, such as this new path, with its lovely, smooth surface. Finally, a plea to everyone - use it!”

Louise Goldsmith said: “I am delighted to see another cycle route open and for all to use. Such paths are great for visitors to the area and this is a perfect link between Bognor Regis and Littlehampton. We can all benefit from such cycle routes in so many ways and I am very grateful to our partners for their collaboration to make this scheme a reality.”

Bob Lanzer, county council Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure, added: “This new, shared path brings with it numerous benefits, including helping the environment and boosting the local economy by making it easier for commuters and visitors to get to the two towns on foot, or by cycle or mobility scooter.

“We would like to thank road users for their patience while the work was ongoing. Now, we hope both residents and visitors will enjoy the result, which has added significance as it forms part of National Cycle Route 2.”

The new path runs alongside the A259 and was funded by the county council and Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership.

Jonathan Sharrock, Chief Executive at Coast to Capital, said: “Improving transport links has been identified as a priority in our newly-published Strategic Economic Plan – Gatwick 360 – and we are delighted to see this scheme come to fruition which will benefit residents and visitors alike.”

Rupert Chitty, Regional Director of contractor Jackson Civil Engineering, said: “The shared pedestrian path and cycleway between Bognor Regis and Littlehampton has been a pleasure to deliver on behalf of West Sussex County Council.

“The patience of the stakeholders and the road users has been greatly appreciated and what we have now is a shared path that will bring huge health and wellbeing improvements to so many people. We are delighted to have worked on this scheme.”

During the construction, Jackson staff visited a local school to address an assembly about construction site safety and the company also donated a wooden bench for cyclists and walkers at the Flansham end of the route.

Guests and other VIPs at Thursday’s official launch included Arun District Council chairman Alan Gammon, and Chris Sprules and John Coote from Sustrans - the sustainable transport charity that promotes the National Cycle Network.

Staff from the county council’s Bikeability team provided free, cycle safety checks in a cordoned-off area at the Oyster Catcher pub and restaurant’s car park in Climping, adjacent to the new path.20180802-highways a259_pedestrian-and-cycle-path

 
County council pledges to boost community working
Tuesday, 31 July 2018 14:55

A new pledge has been made to boost community working in West Sussex.

The county has more than 4,000 voluntary and community sector groups and organisations, ranging from small village community interest groups to members of national charities. 

West Sussex County Council has developed a new set of ‘Partnership Principles’ that sets out and renews its commitment to working in partnership with the groups.

These include pledging that the council is community focussed in all its work and works in collaboration with groups.

The principles have been developed with representatives from the voluntary and community sector.

Debbie Kennard, Cabinet Member for Safer, Stronger Communities, said: “I’m really proud of our voluntary and community sector.

“Whether a large or a small group, they all have an important and valuable role to play in helping to create and develop community engagement and resilience and add to the vibrant diversity of our county.”

Louise Goldsmith, Leader of West Sussex County Council, added: “We work alongside many partners to help us deliver county council projects across our wonderful county. I am delighted that we can make this commitment to keep supporting our residents by working in active partnership with the voluntary and community sector.”

The new principles are in addition to a commitment made by the county council and other partners in 2012 called the West Sussex Compact to work in partnership and collaboration towards common aims and objectives. 

Sue Livett, Managing Director of the Aldingbourne Trust, Rebecca Smicle, CEO of Independent Lives, Nik Demetriades, CEO of 4Sight Vision Support & Cheryl Berry, Community Partnerships Lead – Healthwatch West Sussex, part of Supporting Community Based Solutions, a group of voluntary organisations that has helped shaped the principles, said: “Voluntary & community groups are connected to thousands of West Sussex citizens. We welcome the commitment West Sussex County Council are making to work more closely with us & look forward to collaborative approaches to improve people’s lives”.kennard13

 
Work starts soon to repair a section of Bosham’s sea wall
Tuesday, 31 July 2018 14:52

Essential repairs start soon on part of Bosham’s sea wall, which has been damaged by the tide.

The works are due to start on 6 August and last for approximately five weeks, during which the lower part of Shore Road will be closed to traffic. This is for the safety of the public and the workforce, although pedestrian access past the works will be maintained at all times.

A West Sussex Highways spokesperson said: “Works are required to repair a length of the flint-wall facing, which has been damaged by high tidal conditions.

The actual core ‘retaining’ element of the wall was not damaged and remains structurally sound.

“Measures had already been taken to strengthen the remaining wall facing and these further works will minimise the possibility of other problems occurring.”

The new flintwork will match the appearance of the existing materials.20180731-highways bosham-sea-wall

 
All YES customers to get Renewable Energy
Tuesday, 31 July 2018 14:49

From now on all electricity supplied to Your Energy Sussex customers is certified as being sourced from UK-based wind and solar generators.

Your Energy Sussex made a commitment to provide a renewable energy tariff within a year when it launched in February 2018. This announcement goes a step further by helping all customers to make the switch to clean electricity and reduce their carbon emissions.

Deborah Urquhart, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “We are delighted to be able to make this announcement so soon after launch and to extend the offer of renewable electricity to all customers.

“This is a landmark moment because, for the first time, we will also be supplying some Sussex-generated energy from our own County Council-installed solar panels to Your Energy Sussex customers. This is something that we will increase in the future as we generate more energy from our solar farms or solar panels on our buildings.”

Your Energy Sussex was set up by West Sussex County Council to encourage more people in the county to compare their energy costs and switch and save money on their energy bills.

It is supported by councils across Sussex including East Sussex County Council and Brighton & Hove City Council and offers consistently competitive prices for gas and electricity, high levels of customer service and works hard to keep customers on its most competitive energy tariff available.

Your Energy Sussex is run on a not-for-profit basis and uses any surplus it generates to support residents who are struggling to pay their energy bills. Customers can get a quick, no obligation quote online or by calling Your Energy Sussex free of charge on 0800 952 0001.

In line with its commitment to support households at risk of fuel poverty, Your Energy Sussex is also pleased to announce that it will now offer the Warm Homes Discount, which is a one-off, £140 electricity bill discount to qualifying residents.urquhart213

 
New Project to Increase Recycling Launches in Crawley
Wednesday, 23 May 2018 16:01

Recycling can be hard when space is limited or you’re new to the area, and often the recycling rates for flats and shared houses can be a lot lower than other properties.

From now until March next year West Sussex County Council will be working in partnership with several district and borough councils to help make recycling easier and clearer for people living in these properties.

The information packs (which include a free reusable bag to collect your recycling in) will be delivered to residents by the partnerships team of doorsteppers and have been shown to improve recycling rates, with over 94% of resident’s waste being recycled correctly.

Deborah Urquhart, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “Following on from the award winning houses of multiple occupancy recycling project in 2016, we’ve seen a big improvement in recycling quality and rates to the flats and shared houses that were involved.

“With such an improvement it makes perfect sense for us to roll this out to more flats and shared households across the county, so that more people can boost their recycling.

“The see-through recycling bins and updated recycling information will help to improve how much waste is recycled by individuals and will ultimately help us to reach our target of 50 per cent of all waste being recycled by 2020.”

The initiative starts in Crawley on 28 May for five weeks. It will then move to Arun and Chichester before returning to Crawley later in the year. Other areas which will also benefit from the scheme are Mid Sussex, Adur and Worthing.

Crawley Borough Councillor Duncan Crow said "Crawley has the lowest recycling rate out of all seven District Councils in West Sussex, so I very much welcome this initiative starting here and I look forward to seeing an improvement."

During the five weeks, teams will be visiting certain flats and shared houses around Crawley to hand out the packs, give more information on recycling and answer any questions that residents may have about recycling and waste prevention.

So, if you see the teams out and about, feel free to go and have a chat with them about how you can improve your recycling efforts.

To find out more information about what can and can’t go in your kerbside recycling bin, visit www.recycleforwestsussex.org.

crawley-borough-council-recycling-bins

 
Multi-million-pound Crawley infrastructure improvement proposals
Wednesday, 16 May 2018 14:34

Exciting proposals for the £8.3million Crawley Eastern Gateway and £5.3million Station Gateway projects go on display soon in a series of public exhibitions.

The schemes are part of the £60million Crawley Growth Programme which will ‘unlock’ jobs, business space and home building in the town through major infrastructure improvements.

The two “Gateway” projects aim to improve pedestrian, cycling and bus access and facilities and create better connectivity between the railway and bus stations.

The Eastern Gateway scheme includes improvements to public space and connectivity to support key development opportunities at the Town Hall, County Buildings, Telford Place and Crawley College and includes the public areas in the eastern half of The Boulevard, Exchange Road, the southern end of Northgate Avenue, College Road including the roundabout, and Southgate Avenue, up to and including the junction with Station Way. 

The Station Gateway Scheme extends from Friary Way, along Station Way, connecting with Southgate Avenue. Its aims include improving the connectivity between an improved and re-developed rail station, the bus station and improved town centre facilities, incorporating a dedicated left-turn for buses from Friary Way to Station Way and improvement in bus waiting facilities.

The Crawley Growth Programme is being delivered by a major partnership of public and private organisations, including the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership, West Sussex County Council, Crawley Borough Council, Metrobus, Gatwick Airport Limited, Manor Royal Business Improvement District (BID) Company. The Gateways projects are also being delivered in partnership with the Arora group and Network Rail.

Louise Goldsmith, Leader of West Sussex County Council, said: “We have identified that the county needs significant investment in new infrastructure to help stimulate economic growth and Crawley is a key growth location.

“These innovative and exciting proposals aim to have a positive impact on public areas in the town by improving connectivity. I urge people to go along to one of the exhibitions and see for themselves what’s being proposed.”

Crawley Borough Council Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Development, Councillor Peter Smith, said: “I am delighted that proposals for the regeneration of the Eastern Gateway and Station Gateway have been released.

“The Eastern Gateway is an incredibly busy area of the town and these proposals will not only improve accessibility, but enhance the overall look and feel of the area, attracting more investment into the town. In addition, the Station Gateway improvements will provide a better welcome into the town from Crawley train station. I look forward to hearing what residents have to say about the proposals.”

Jonathan Sharrock, Chief Executive at Coast to Capital, said: “This series of exhibitions is a fantastic way for the general public to gain insight of the extensive work which has gone into developing an innovative vision for the future success of Crawley. A tremendous effort has been made by partners to improve the infrastructure of the area which will unlock future prosperity.”

 
Roving ‘seek and fill’ teams added to action against West Sussex potholes
Wednesday, 16 May 2018 10:30

Even more repair teams are being dedicated to tackling potholes in West Sussex, with an additional two ‘seek and fill’ gangs starting work soon.

The number of repair teams had already been increased from 12 to 15, with approximately 250 potholes repaired per day. Now, the additional two roving gangs will start work next week and a team dedicated to patching larger areas of road surface will also begin soon.

The extra resources are being funded from the £1,594,870 the County Council received from the Department for Transport’s Pothole Action Fund for this financial year.

Bob Lanzer, County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure, said: “We would like to reassure residents that we take the issue of potholes very seriously – hence the extra resources. West Sussex Highways, and particularly our contractor, Balfour Beatty Living Places, are working hard to tackle the issue.

“In 2017, we repaired approximately 14,500 potholes. In the first four months of 2018, which have included periods of severe weather, we have already repaired more than 8,500.

“We have already started to deliver this year’s resurfacing programme which will see three-and-a-half miles of principal roads and almost six miles of local roads have their old and worn surfaces replaced. In addition, we are extending the life of 12-and-a-half miles of the principal roads and around 26 miles of local roads with a programme of surface-dressing. Surface dressing involves treating roads which are in relatively good condition with preventative maintenance treatments to maintain their good condition.”

Bob said some residents had asked why, when they see a pothole repair team in one road, they cannot simply go to another site, nearby. “This could be for a variety of reasons: they may have no spare materials on the van, having been tasked to fill other potholes, or it could be that the other road needs traffic management, such as traffic lights, so they can do the repair safely and this takes time to arrange.”

In recent months, the frequent changes between freezing/cold temperatures, to mild/wet weather, and back again, have increased the number of potholes on our roads.

Unfortunately, roads are not permanent structures and deteriorate over time from constant use, the weight of vehicles using them and the effects of the weather. With the expansion and contraction caused by temperature change, deterioration will occur, resulting in new potholes.

 
2018/19 Budget Speech by the Leader, Louise Goldsmith
Monday, 19 February 2018 20:28

The annual budget as tabled in the papers today, is a set of figures prepared and balanced, but for our residents it is the output from the budget which will have the greatest impact on their lives. The libraries remaining open welcoming young and old, the visit from the Meals on Wheel person delivering lunch, the Fire and Rescue team dealing with a road traffic accident, the child rescued from abuse, the support for people with learning disabilities helping them to lead their lives, the patient in hospital ready to go home. The rubbish that is sorted or recycled, the roads and pavements repaired.

Day in day out 24 hours a day, seven days a week we are helping residents one way or another in our community, working, caring, helping, supporting – that is what we do.

In all we do we are guided by our ambitions in the West Sussex Plan which was adopted by this Council last October.

I make this point Mr Chairman – as it easy to forget that we are a service organisation, politically led, supported by brilliant staff who are delivering those services under the guidance of our CEO, Nathan, and his team to whom I would like to record my deepest and sincerest thanks.

For the last seven years this County Council, like all others, has played its part in the Government austerity drive. We have made some difficult and painful decisions, we accelerated our savings programme which has put us in a stronger financial position. We have reshaped, reconfigured the organisation. We are undoubtedly leaner, but let me be clear there is no let up as we live in a time of transformation, maximising technology to ensure that our residents £ goes that much farther – that’s this conservative administration’s policy.

Our plans for the future whether Communities, Children’s early intervention and help or adult Social Care are exciting. That is because we continue to adapt not only due to our ever tightening finances but more importantly we are responding to the needs of those we serve those in this County, those we put first - our residents.

We do all this alongside investment and the capital projects debated and agreed at last Council because it is right for West Sussex and Residents. For me it is important that we must always focus too on ensuring that we place this organisation in the best place to face the slings and arrows of outrageous financial fortune.

So let’s be clear about the financial landscape we live in– a constant rise in demand for children’s services: children who are abused, children who are neglected, children who are sexually exploited, children who enter this county as unaccompanied asylum seekers, children with learning disabilities, children with mental health problems. These children need us most – for them there is simply nowhere else to go. Without our support these children will likely face some of the worst outcomes and all that this implies. It is incumbent on us to help them like all other young ones here in West Sussex to have the best start in life and not enter in the vicious spiral of generational decline that serves them and everyone else so poorly.

We are in the vanguard of preventative work – with our early intervention and help service for children and many other initiatives – but they are in their infancy and it will take time before full benefits are realised.

 

We are all getting older – West Sussex is above the national average for our elderly population, we have one of the highest number of over 85s in the Country. As our population grows older, so their needs get more complicated which places more demands on our service.

The gross investment of 5 million pounds in our Children’s Service and 14.8 million pounds in Adults Service demonstrates our determination to give children the best start in life and for greater Independence in later life and our commitment to the preventative agenda.

We are committed to building stronger, vibrant, communities to make sure our County is made up of places that are strong and resilient with people young and old supporting each other and we will be there with them lending a helping hand when needed.

 

Bill Clinton famously said it is the economy stupid – and in these Brexit times we need to do all we can to ensure that the vibrant diverse economy here in West Susses continues, we can help and we are promoting West Sussex.

Just this week we have the news that the number of businesses here in West Sussex is on the rise with around 42,000 companies choosing to call our County Home – That is to be celebrated.

Our District deals where we work together with our District and Boroughs to improve our towns and communities are another fine example of partnership working to attract businesses and inward investment to the County.

Our investment in Green Energy is innovative and ground breaking but there is more to be done – and we will.

This speech is about how we are adapting and changing to meet the needs of residents today and tomorrow we do that as society is changing, demographics changing, family life is changing but one thing that is not keeping pace with this change is funding for local government – but it needs to, the current funding is fit for the past and certainly not fit for the present and future.

By 2019-20 there will be well over 5 billion pound local government funding gap and a 1.8 billion pound gap in Social Care, this is simply unsustainable and cannot continue.

 

I know the Government has plenty on its plate nationally, Brexit being just one example to deal with. But to really transform society it must take hold of the thorny issue of local government funding. The last couple of years we have seen a piecemeal approach of throwing a few financial scraps to us at the end of our budget process this serves no one well, least of all our residents.

As a traditional Conservative my belief is small administration and low tax: for the money we spend is not ours but our residents – we treat it with care and respect knowing that an increase in Council tax could put a real strain some of our residents finances.

This 4.95% is made up of 2 Government initiatives 2% increase for Social Care and the 1% the government offered us just before Christmas.

In my heart I do not want to take the Government’s latest offer to increase the Council Tax by an additional 1% but I know a 1% increase is wise, when there is so much financial uncertainty, to ensure that this Council is in the best position to provide the services for our residents.

The Government has promised a Green Paper on Social Care, and we have the Fairer Funding Review of local government finance all to be welcomed.

However I believe the time is right to call a halt to tinkering around edges, no piecemeal approach. We all know of some Councils are struggling financially and I take no pleasure seeing the recent reports.

But they demonstrate that there is a desperate need for fundamental and radical reform of Local Government finances based on the knowledge that all Councils, and in particular Counties who are the providers of substantial vital services for residents.

 

To that end we have joined the Local Government Association and County Council Network in a call for proper funding for Local Authorities. I want Government to hear West Sussex’s voice in the debate about fair funding for local government.

Despite the challenging national context, today’s budget is only possible because of the prudent financial management of my administration and my thanks to two dedicated and capable Cabinet Members for Finance Michael Brown and Jeremy Hunt – for between them 7 years hard decisions, and tight financial management a relentless focus on reshaping and redesigning our services to continue to drive out costs and create innovation to ensure we will continue to deliver the services resident need and deserve.

Through this budget we continue to deliver services to our residents.

We will do all that through our commitment embracing new ways working, new technologies, partnership working and earlier support.

This is our budget, our investment in our county and I am proud that in these times of austerity West Sussex people can rely on us.

LG3

 

 
MPs Continue to Press the Case for Fairer School Funding
Tuesday, 13 February 2018 16:41

West Sussex MPs met this week to review funding for local schools following the introduction of the National Funding Formula and following a useful meeting in Parliament with local Headteachers.

The level of funding has overall improved for West Sussex schools with an additional £28m being allocated to the county. The new formula is a fairer means of allocating funds than in the past and has been broadly welcomed as a step in the right direction.

MPs recognise that there are particular issues of concern:

  • “High Needs” funding: High Needs funding was not included in the formula and concerns cover both the scale of resources and how these have been historically applied in West Sussex.

  • Increased funding is coming at a time of rising costs

  • The implementation of the full benefit of the national funding formula being delayed for certain West Sussex schools

  • The impact of the formula on the smallest rural primaries

While the formula has improved the funding position West Sussex MPs will be meeting the new Secretary of State for Education to go through all the issues facing West Sussex schools and to ensure he is familiarised with these issues.

WSTeachers

 
Steady progress in project to build combined footway and cycleway
Tuesday, 06 February 2018 16:46

A project to build a safer, more direct route for cyclists and pedestrians between Bognor Regis and Littlehampton has been making steady progress.

The work on the A259 aims to reduce overall traffic congestion and encourage sustainable forms of transport. The combined footway and cycleway will also include new and improved lighting and crossing facilities at Yapton Road, north of the junction with the A259 (Comet Corner), and Church Lane roundabout at the junction with the A259.

The project is still on course for completion in the Spring, despite some unexpected challenges. Although extensive surveys were carried out before the project started, fibre-optic cables have been found a lot nearer ground-level than anticipated.

However, everything possible is being done to minimise the knock-on effect and for the project to be completed as soon as possible. This includes extending working hours from 12th February, starting at 8am and finishing at 4.30pm (currently 9.30am to 3.30pm), Monday to Friday, with temporary traffic lights on sections of the road for  the safety of the public and workforce.

Bob Lanzer, county council Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure, said: “We would like to thank the public for their patience during the work.

“We realise the revised working times will have an impact for people going to and from work, school and so on. We apologise for this but the longer working hours will help us complete the project as soon as possible.”

 
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Wednesday 31 July 2019

£26 million funding confirmed for A259 improvement scheme

A £26 million funding package has been secured for a major improvement scheme for the A259 between Littlehampton and Angmering.…
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Tuesday 23 July 2019

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Friday 19 July 2019

Debbie Urquhart Calls for Water Saving

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