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

Statement on Government's decision on new runway at Heathrow
Thursday, 27 October 2016 12:58

"We welcome the fact that a decision on the Government’s preferred location has finally been made.

"We know that today’s announcement will be welcomed by many of our communities who were concerned about the noise and environmental consequences of a second runway at Gatwick.
"However, our role as a County Council now is to ensure that we work with the Government, Gatwick Airport Limited and our local businesses to mitigate any negative impact of this decision on our county, especially in terms of our economy and any impact on jobs and skills.
"We will also continue to focus our efforts on making the case at a national level for significant investment into our West Sussex infrastructure, which remains very much needed regardless of this decision."

NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plans
Tuesday, 25 October 2016 16:27

The Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) is the NHS-England led programme that is seeking to make the local health and social care economy more sustainable in the light of the significant financial challenges facing the sector. It is estimated that within this financial year there is anround £120M of pressure within the Sussex and East Surrey health and social care system that needs to be managed. On 21st October a plan to rebalance the system will be submitted to NHS England. This will set out how the system will mitigate the financial risks but also how the system needs to adapt to keep pace with demographic challenges. Two "locality" plans are also being developed, the first focuses on the area covered by Coastal WEst Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CWSCCG) and the second footprint covers the Brighton Surrey and Sussex Hospital Trusts. The second footprint is not co-terminus with the County Council boundary and covers four upper tier local authorities and five CCGs. The County Council has a duty to plan and deliver services based on West Sussex boundaries.


West Sussex Cycle Forum Summit
Tuesday, 25 October 2016 15:39

The Cabinet Member attended the Cycle Forum Cycle Summit. The aims of the summit were to give key decision makers and designers the opportunity to learn about and discuss the latest thinking and developments around cycling. Presentations detailed matters such as the latest evidence on the economic benefits of cycling, overcoming barriers and examples of where the growth in cycling has been successfully promoted. The GOvernment's new appraoch to cycling and Local Cycling and Walking Plans was highlighted. This included how authorities can plan for cycling and new developments, as well as giving examples of the new best designs. Presenters demonstrated tools, applications and methods used to assess and plan where cycling infrastructure might best be provided. The event, alongside the new West Sussex Cycling and Walking Strategy, will prove beneficial in helping the country develop its approach to cycling in coming years.

Watershed to help allotment flooding puzzle affecting homes
Sunday, 23 October 2016 19:44

Operation Watershed is getting to the root of a 100-year old flooding problem at a Worthing allotment affecting nearby homes.

Chesswood Farm allotments, in Pages Lane, have suffered for decades with flooding during winter.

A combination of river flooding (from the nearby Teville Stream), high tides, poor sub-soil, groundwater, and surface water flooding has prevented large areas of the site from being used.

The derelict plots then become a magnet for fly-tipping.

The issue affects about 50 neighbouring residential properties at risk from flooding.

Now, with help from West Sussex County Council’s Operation Watershed fund, allotment holders are fighting back.

A £7,682 grant has paid for willow coppices and orchards to be planted in the wasteland by allotment volunteers.

By planting these sorts of trees, the aim is to soak up the water and dry the land out.

It will help manage the flow of the River Teville , as it runs underground downstream from the nearby industrial estate, and protect the residential houses close-by.

Worthing Allotment Management’s Secretary, Paul Eustice, said: “We are creating a long run of coppice using willow, hazel, alder and chesnut, and three orchard areas.

“Willow is like blotting paper and it can thrive in boggy areas.

“We can use the coppiced trees to grow our stock and make hurdles for fencing. Other local groups can use the products for weaving classes and we can offer free cuttings to houses around the allotment as well.”

Paul explained flooding issues affecting the allotment were first recorded back in 1919.

He said: “The main problem is the sub soil is really weird. Water gets to a certain point and then it stops draining away.

“You cannot drain it off, there is nowhere for it to go. It just gathers.

“It has made a lot of the plots unusable.

“Two areas the size of football pitches got so wet that people end up giving up on them. They are full of thistles and weeds.

“You cannot allow that to happen because if people see an area turning into a wasteland it quickly becomes a dumping ground.

“That is why we will put bulbs on there, so it looks managed and changes people’s attitudes to the area.”

Paul said Worthing Allotments Management turned to Operation Watershed for help because it was quick and easy.

In return for the grant allotment volunteers will manage the project, supply labour and continue to maintain the site.

Paul said: “This needed doing and it needed doing now.

“We considered applying for National Lottery funding, but that is more complex process and we are looking at other schemes for this.

“Operation Watershed fitted the bill.”


Local County Council Member, Roger Oakley (Conservative, East Worthing) said "This is a terrific example of how the County Council can work with the local community to solve a problem. I have been very happy to help."


County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, John O’Brien, said: “This is another example of how Operation Watershed can help a volunteer group who are motivated to deal with a flooding problem.

“We agree this scheme will protect nearby properties, improve the drainage here and prevent land being wasted.

“This will encourage the allotment community to work closer together on flooding issues and help protect homes and businesses close by.”


Apprenticeship Jobs Fair Returns to Worthing
Wednesday, 12 October 2016 15:25

The fair will be an opportunity for job seekers, businesses and residents to find out about apprenticeships and the opportunities they provide.


With more than 250 vacancies for apprentices in West Sussex, is it hoped people will be inspired at an Apprenticeship Jobs Fair coming to Worthing.

Now in its second year, the Apprenticeship Jobs Fair will be held at Worthing Town Hall, entry via Stoke Abbott Road, on Thursday 20 October from 2pm to 4pm.

An apprenticeship provides an opportunity to earn while you learn gaining job specific skills, experience and qualifications.

Subjects range from social care to hair and beauty, estate agency to web development, dog grooming to marketing and everything in between.

Stephen Hillier, County Council Cabinet Member for Children – Start of Life, said: “Back in March, we held the county’s first ever graduation ceremony for apprentices and it was such a momentous occasion. Nearly everyone who attended had an inspirational story to tell as they had used their apprenticeships to develop and move forward with their career.

“More than 400 people have recently completed Advanced and Higher Apprenticeships in West Sussex and I hope this number will continue to grow. There are lots of businesses, here in West Sussex, who are committed to employing apprentices and I thank them for all that they do.

“The young people in our county have an incredibly diverse range of talents and I hope that many look to apprenticeships as the start of a bright and exciting future.”


Bryan Turner (County Councillor, Broadwater, Worthing and Executive Member for Regeneration at Worthing Borough Council) said "Apprenticeships offer a great way to take your first steps into the workforce and to launch your career. We have highly rated training organisations in Worthing and throughout West Sussex that will ensure your time in an apprenticeship is time well spent"


Photograph: Bryan Turner CC


New Cycle Route from Littlehampton to Bognor on its way
Wednesday, 12 October 2016 15:15


The shortest route to cycle between Bognor Regis and Littlehampton is coming soon.

West Sussex County Council is creating a shared cycle path along the A259 to entice people out of their cars, away from congestion, and onto their bikes.

The cycle path, shared between cyclists and pedestrians, will be about three metres wide.

It will start at the Hoe Lane roundabout in Flansham and end at the Clymping roundabout (near Clymping Cricket Club).

It links up with Felpham Relief Road in the west and the existing shared cycle path from Clymping to Littlehampton in the east.

The County Council will add new pedestrian crossings to the A259 at Bilsham Road (B2132), Yapton Road (B2233), and Church Lane.

The project costs about £1.4m and is joint-funded by the County Council and the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership.

Construction is expected to start in early 2017 and last for between four and six months.

County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, John O’Brien, said: “This new cycle path will be the fastest and most direct way to cycle from A to B.

“The route will be safe, spacious and easy to ride.

“Littlehampton and Bognor Regis are growing and we want this new infrastructure to encourage people to get out of their cars and onto their bikes.”

Ecological works will start this week along the route.

It follows a survey which concluded the proposed cycle route would not harm wildlife habitats or species.

A licensed contractor will be clearing overgrown vegetation with a mower.

A qualified ecologist will migrate reptiles and Great Crested Newts away from the site.

Temporary traffic lights on the A259 will be outside the Oystercatcher Pub in Yapton, on Monday, October 10, for two days.

Some disruption is expected at this location during this time.

The ecological work is set to take three weeks to complete, weather permitting.

See the video of the route


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