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Peter Catchpole - Working Hard for Holbrook
Monday, 27 March 2017 09:12

 

It has been my honour to be Holbrook County Councillor since 2005. I have lived in Holbrook with my family for over 30 years. My first priority is to represent all the residents, respond to their concerns and get things done. It is often getting the small things fixed in a timely way that counts and I am committed to continue to make our neighbourhood a place we can be proud of and enjoy living in. Below are some of the issues I have been campaigning on and achievements made in Holbrook.

 

  • With local residents strongly opposing the siting of an industrial/commercial incinerator in our area.
  • Challenging the siting of mobile phone masts in inappropriate residential areas.
  • Successful campaign to ensure Horsham Football Club was not relocated to Holbrook Club.
  • Added safety measures at the pedestrian crossing point on A264 which links Northlands Road to Old Holbrook.
  • Parking improvements near the Littlehaven Station area to prevent excessive commuter parking, in Fay Road and Ashleigh Road to improve amenity for residents.
  • Ongoing work with police to monitor speeding and HGVs using our roads.
  • Successful transfer of Holbrook Community Centre and Youth Club from County Council to Community management and I am a member of the Management Committee.
  • Gatwick Airport Campaigns:

Opposed the 2nd Runway and new flight path trials. With our local MP lobbied government to ensure no increase in night flights.

  • Fighting for fairer and additional funding for our local schools. Both of my children attended Millais School, where I was a school governor for many years.
  • Worked to oppose the North Horsham Housing development and help present alternative plans to HDC.
  • Supported the County to purchase the Novartis site as a Science Park, bringing new high level jobs to Holbook.

 

At County as Cabinet Member for Adults' Services I want the most vulnerable people to be supported and enabled to stay healthy and independent. I ensured the continuation of Meals on Wheels and support for carers countywide. Our aim is to keep Council Tax as low as possible - delivering vital services even when government funds are reducing.

 

Finally I always remember my responsibility of being accountable to you all and representing your interests. I hope that you will feel able to support me when you cast your ballot

PeterCatchpole

 
West Sussex MPs call for fair schools funding
Wednesday, 22 March 2017 10:23

West Sussex MPs have called on the Education Secretary, Justine Greening, to amend the proposed new National Funding Formula to ensure a minimum level of funding for the County’s schools. 

In a formal response to the Stage 2 Consultation on the National Funding Formula, the MPs say that the proposed overall uplift of funding in West Sussex of 2.9 per cent – an increase of £14.3 million, or £122 per pupil – will be insufficient to meet rising costs faced by schools.

The letter has been signed by six of the County’s eight MPs: Sir Peter Bottomley (Worthing West), Nick Herbert (Arundel & South Downs), Tim Loughton (East Worthing & Shoreham), Jeremy Quin (Horsham), Sir Nicholas Soames (Mid Sussex) and Andrew Tyrie MP (Chichester).  As Schools Minister and Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Education Secretary respectively, neither Nick Gibb MP nor Henry Smith are able to sign the letter.

The letter is the latest initiative from West Sussex MPs who have made the case for fair funding over an extended period, including calling parliamentary debates, asking parliamentary questions, meeting ministers, meeting head teachers and governors, and taking delegations of West Sussex head teachers to meet ministers and officials.  Last week Nick Herbert, representing his West Sussex colleagues, was a member of a delegation of MPs which met the Prime Minister to express their view that the proposed schools funding formula needs to be changed.

In their letter, the West Sussex MPs raise concerns that, under the new Formula, a third of the schools in West Sussex will actually lose funding, despite the County’s starting point as the worst funded in the country.  While 167 schools in West Sussex will gain funding, two will receive no change, and 94 will lose funding, many of them rural primary schools.

The MPs argue that schools in other areas which have historically had significantly better resourcing are far better placed to deal with these funding pressures.  They point out that, while all schools in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets – the best funded in the country – will lose funding, with an average loss of 2.7 per cent, their funding per pupil will still be £6,718, compared to £4,257 in West Sussex. 

The MPs say that West Sussex schools are facing the cumulative effect of underfunding over many years, so savings have already been made and school budgets are tight. 

They state:

“Most schools in West Sussex would approach any further cost increases from a position of having already absorbed significant efficiencies.  The regrettable delay of the introduction of the National Funding Formula by a year has exacerbated the pressures.  Despite our request for some form of interim funding for West Sussex, as an authority with amongst the lowest levels of funding, this was not made available.”

The MPs’ letter points to a number of problems with the proposed National Funding Formula, including a limit on the extent to which very well-funded schools can lose funding, which therefore “entrenches the same regional inequities that the formula was intended to remove”

They say that data factored into the new Formula gives an inaccurate account of local operating costs, with a crude use of regional averages which masks the local economic realities of securing staffing and service provision beyond the London fringe.

The MPs also claim that ‘additional needs’ is given a disproportionate weight relative to core funding, a view shared by MPs in other low-funded authorities. 

They say:

“The basic funding percentage under the existing proposed formula – approximately 72.5 per cent – is simply too low.  It creates distortions which risk replacing one unfairness with another.”

They go on to say:

“We make it clear that we do not object to the principle that extra resources should be deployed to assist pupils with additional needs, since these negatively impact upon likely attainment.  However it is important that every school, including those with very limited additional need funding, should secure the necessary appropriate level of resources to deliver the curriculum in an effective way to all pupils.”

The MPs propose that the

“Formula is redesigned to provide a minimum level of funding for schools in each specified category, ensuring that all schools secure the necessary minimum operating costs required to deliver the curriculum regardless of the level of additional needs.”

They conclude:

“Despite our concerns about the proposed new Formula, we strongly reaffirm our support for fair schools funding and a national formula to redress the historic inequity in schools funding.  From the many representations we have received, we know that we have the full support of parents, teachers and governors in West Sussex for fair funding.

“With the new pressure on school budgets there is a strong and justified feeling that the unfair treatment of our schools must now be properly remedied.  We commend the Government for introducing a fair funding policy, but urge that the Formula is reconfigured to address the issues which we have set out.”

 
Coming together to find big bold solutions for the A27
Monday, 20 March 2017 22:26

As I am writing this the plans for the next A27 Community Workshop in Chichester are being finalised.

There has been a huge amount of support for this approach from all quarters and it is really heartening to have so many offers of help and interest.

 

We, the community in and around Chichester, have the opportunity to put our thoughts and ideas on a blank sheet of paper and speak with one collective voice to secure improvements which are so desperately needed.

 

The A27 affects all our lives in one way or another, but it is not just about this single road and its traffic – it’s about transport in the local area in general as well as issues such as air quality.

 

From experience I know that community based solutions are the best ones and that is what we will be looking for in the forthcoming workshops.

 

It is a community led approach and not for the County Council alone. But we know that we will need some expert help and advice at some stage. At the last workshop it was agreed that it was important that this advice is independent and can offer a different approach and fresh thinking. The County Council will help make this happen and ensure those requirements are met and that is why £100,000 has been put aside for this purpose so we can help our communities to help themselves.

 

Some may ask why didn’t you do this last year? The reason is quite simple – the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, commissioned Highways England to develop schemes for the A27 – the County Council’s role was a statutory consultee, Highways England prepare plans and then consult. It is a format that they adhere to and we had no power to change this.

 

We know the results of the consultation showed 47% said ‘no option’ and that is where we are. Some people take a negative view saying it will take 10 years plus before a further allocation of funding and it is all too difficult.

 

Having listened and read the many comments I know how much people wanted to be involved to have their voice heard to make sure we had the best solution.

 

Now we need as a community to come together to find those solutions - short, medium, and long term – so the Secretary of State and Highways England know we can work together, and that we, as a community, can find the right answer for our residents and our beautiful city.

 

It is a bold vision but it is the right thing to do and I look forward to our first proper workshop event and more to come, judging by the considerable positive comments many others feel the same.


So a big bold step for all of us but we need to take it to find big bold solutions.

goldsmith213

 
Burgess Hill set for Growth Deal
Sunday, 12 February 2017 13:58

The County Council is set to agree a Growth Deal for MId Sussex town Burgess Hill. This follows the Crawley Growth Deal in December and is further confirmation that Conservative West Sussex County Council can and will deliver policies for econimic growth across the County. The Deal will identifies key growth areas for housing and jobs and will unlock regeneration in Burgess Hill town centre. Through the Deal, WSCC will work with Mid Sussex District Council, the HOmes and Communities Agency and the Local Enterprise Partnership to make sure that the needed infrastructure is delivered in the right place at the right time.

burgesshillhstreet1

 
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.

LouiseGoldsmith2

 
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

 
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