westsussexBanner

Thousands of new jobs for West Sussex after £35.8 ‘Growth Deal’ agreed with Government
Thursday, 29 January 2015 17:38

industry-jobsThousands of new jobs, a redeveloped train station for Gatwick Airport and a new technology park are coming to West Sussex.

West Sussex County Council has welcomed today’s announcement that an extra £35.8m will be invested by the Government in parts of West Sussex and Surrey between 2016 and 2021.

The grant will help:

  • Improve the A2300 Burgess Hill Link Road, relieving congestion and unlocking up to 3,000 new homes and 5,000 jobs.
  • Redevelop the railway station at Gatwick Airport; and
  • Create a new Engineering and Digital Technology Park at the University of Chichester site in Bognor, training 500 students every year.

West Sussex County Council Leader Louise Goldsmith said: “This is extremely good news for West Sussex and brings substantial investment to three key projects in the county.

“West Sussex County Council has identified the economy as one of our priority areas, and our aims are to see a growth in jobs, enterprise, skills and better infrastructure.

“These additional projects being funded under the Growth Deal tie in exactly with our key aims.”

The Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership secured the money after agreeing an expansion to its existing Growth Deal with the Government.

The boost is an extension of the £202.4m funding agreed between Coast to Capital and the Government last year.

It is estimated the deal will create up to 21,000 new jobs, 9,000 new homes, and could generate £390m in public and private investment across both counties.

 
West Sussex parents urged to make sure children are ‘Share Aware’
Tuesday, 27 January 2015 00:00

Parents and carers in West Sussex are being encouraged to find out more about online safety to help protect their children.

The West Sussex Safeguarding Children Board (WSSCB) is supporting ‘Share Aware’, a national campaign launched by the NSPCC designed to help parents keep their children safe online.

The WSSCB brings together organisations and agencies across West Sussex, including the County Council, Sussex Police, NHS Sussex, West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service and Surrey and Sussex Probation, to ensure there is a united approach to looking after the wellbeing of children in the county.

Its website – www.westsussexscb.org.uk – has information and advice for parents and carers about online security, with advice on cyber bullying and online abuse.

Jimmy Doyle, Chairman of the WSSCB, said: “Keeping children and young people safe while using the internet is a challenge faced by parents every day.

“That why we are welcoming the NSPCC’s new campaign, which aims to give parents information and the tools they may need.

“We also have advice and guidance on our website on a range of issues, including cyber bullying and online abuse – as well as what to do if you are concerned about the wellbeing of a child or young person.”

‘Share Aware’ is a national campaign which has been launched by the NSPCC. It aims to encourage parents and carers to understand online safety and to ensure they are talking to their children about this issue.

Peter Evans, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children – Start of Life, added: “The NSPCC campaign highlights an important area in the subject of child safety.

“Safeguarding children is everyone’s responsibility, whether that’s looking out for their physical wellbeing or making sure they are not at risk while online.

“I’d encourage parents and carers to take advantage of the wealth of information that is available on the WSSCB website and find out more.”

The WSSCB website launched last year and covers a range of issues, including providing advice about how to cope with bullying and online abuse.

It also has information about Operation Kite – a Sussex Police initiative to improve recognition and understanding of Child Sexual Exploitation.

The latest annual report and newsletters can be found on the website, and you also have the opportunity to sign up to instant updates and latest news alerts by email.

Information about the NSPCC campaign can be found at www.nspcc.org.uk/shareaware

 
Why Monday's vote on Gatwick showed true democracy at work
Tuesday, 20 January 2015 16:54
Last April I signed the West Sussex County Times Free Speech Charter.

 

Never was it more important than on Monday morning when West Sussex County Council held a meeting to discuss and debate our authority’s response to the national public consultation into additional airport capacity in the South East.

 

I struggle to think of an issue that has been as emotive as the possible expansion of Gatwick Airport in recent years.

 

As always, members of my Conservative group had the freedom to vote with their conscience and reflect their residents' views on Monday.

 

Feelings ran very high. Councillors from all parties expressed very serious concerns about the implications that expansion at Gatwick could have on the county and their communities. I know many outright oppose expansion. I also know some support it providing any development comes with the much needed infrastructure. And I know that some councillors still feel that they do not have sufficient information to make a decision one way or another.

 

So on Monday we officially agreed our response to the public consultation. A document of 20 pages listing a raft of improvements that we believe need to be made by both Gatwick and the government before any bid to expand Gatwick is submitted.

 

And, following that, it was agreed by a majority vote, that WSCC would no longer support in principle expansion at Gatwick. That’s true democracy at work.

 

The one thing that united us all on Monday, irrespective of our personal views around support for Gatwick expansion or not, was the fact that we all agreed we need to be at the forefront of the fight to ensure that our county gets the very best deal regardless of the decision that is made by the next government about airport expansion.

 

It is crucial that we continue to engage with government, businesses, residents and Gatwick. That is our job now.

 

The decision about whether Gatwick is expanded is not and never was a decision that West Sussex County Council could make. It is a decision that will be made by a future government.

 

I believe the decision we made in 2013 to support, in principle, expansion worked well and put the County Council to the fore – raising the important issues around major infrastructure, the environment and, more recently, noise.

 

I do know and appreciate that decision has not sat comfortably with some Councillors and with some residents. That played out on Monday.

 

However, I believe this position has worked well for this Council, as it has provided a mandate to work with key business and economic partners, to raise issues around the surface infrastructure with the Department for Transport and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.

 

And we have had some very, very challenging conversations. We’ve put the voice of our residents right to the heart of Government in a constructive but challenging way. 

 

But now we must move on building on work done so far.

 

West Sussex County Council must remain at the table, talking to all key partners and authorities to ensure that whatever decision the Government of the day makes about whether Gatwick will be chosen for expansion we continue to fight to ensure that our county gets the very best deal.

 

Our job now is to ensure that the economic effects of any decision are optimised and that all of the potential adverse effects for our communities are fully addressed.

 

It is how we respond to the decision that is made about where a second runway goes that will define us as a County Council. It is the legacy for our children, their children and even their grandchildren. Yes, it will take that long.

 

Some might say that Gatwick expansion will be in everyone’s back yard – my response if it is let’s make it the best backyard possible.

 

To that end we have agreed with our District and Borough Councils who too have a vital part to play on looking at and planning for either scenario expansion or not.

 

I am aware that not all of our district and borough colleagues are in favour of Gatwick expansion, in fact many of them are adamantly opposed.  But we all recognise that we need to work together so that we are ready and equipped to deal with whatever decision the Government makes following Howard Davis’ recommendations. 


It’s an excellent example of collaborative working for the benefit of the residents of the County.LouiseGoldsmith2

 
WSCC Planning says Yes to Tangmere Sun Farm
Friday, 16 January 2015 20:28

Planners have given the go-ahead for a solar farm at Tangmere Airfield that will generate clean, low-carbon electricity and provide an income for West Sussex County Council.

The 4MW solar farm, covering 29 acres on the eastern edge of the airfield, will generate enough electricity to power more than 1,000 homes when it begins operating in the summer.

The electricity generated will be sold to the National Grid, earning more than £10 million through feed-in tariffs over 20 years. The project will cost £4.1 million to build and pay for itself in less than ten years.

The scheme, which was approved by WSCC Planning Committee on 13 January 2015, is the first of its kind to be delivered by Your Energy Sussex, the West Sussex County Council-led partnership between local councils and Carillion which is working to promote energy saving and renewable energy.

Your Energy Sussex has a range of other solar schemes underway, including plans to fit solar panels on social housing across the county and provide low-cost electricity for tenants.

Michael Brown, Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “We are delighted with the planning decision. This is good news for the economy and the environment in West Sussex and an excellent example of how West Sussex County Council is working in new and innovative ways on behalf of residents.

“By investing in solar and other renewable energy sources, we will reduce our carbon emissions and reliance on fossil fuels and support the growth of a thriving low-carbon economy with opportunities for Sussex businesses and the local workforce.”

The solar farm, located next to the nurseries and warehouses on the eastern side of the airfield, will be sensitively screened and developers will carry out work to improve habitats for native species. Sheep will also graze between the solar panels and help to maintain the site.

Planning permission has been granted for 25 years, which will allow the site to return to its natural state if it is no longer needed as a solar farm.

Your Energy Sussex is a West-Sussex-led partnership that works with residents, businesses and other partners to promote energy saving and renewable energy. With Carillion, the partnership has embarked on a 20-year programme of work to:

• Create warmer, healthier homes and reduce carbon emissions;
• Boost the local economy by creating work for local businesses;
• Create opportunities for the local workforce, including work placements, apprenticeships and skills development; and
• Help vulnerable residents and those at risk of failing to pay their fuel bills.

Your Energy Sussex is committed to using local, accredited companies to carry out work, creating local jobs, apprenticeships and other training opportunities.

SolarFarm

 
Reigate MP Crispin Blunt lobbies on Gatwick 2nd Runway
Friday, 16 January 2015 20:19

In advance of the Full Council meeting to discuss the Council's resonse to the Davies Commission's consultation, we publish the speech by Crispin Blunt MP (Reigate) to a meeting attended by Sir Howard Davies in Crawley on Dec  16th.

 

“I chair the Gatwick Coordination Group formed with my parliamentary colleagues, Sir Paul Beresford, Sir Nicolas Soames, Sir John Stanley, Charles Hendry, and Nick Herbert. Local Frontbench colleagues are closely associated with our work even if they formally cannot endorse our position The group includes representatives of local authorities, parish councils and civil society sharing the common objective a critical examination of the case for a second runway at Gatwick Airport, and ensuring its consequences are understood.

"Gatwick Obviously" claim that expansion at Gatwick is easier to deliver and will have less impact on its communities than the alternatives. We wish to set the record straight before local people and the wider UK economy pay the price. The consequences outside the immediate perimeter of the airport belie the case made by "Gatwick Obviously".

Current and planned infrastructure would be pushed way beyond its limits as there is already an infrastructure deficit. To make it work the nature of surrounding towns and countryside would be changed beyond recognition as they are forced to accommodate tens thousands more people. And the impact of 'an airport bigger than Heathrow' at Gatwick would leave London with a principal airport with no resilience in its surface access. It is highly questionable whether the finance will be forthcoming.

Transport

Heathrow Airport has more than 45 million surface access movements each year. It is already accessible via the M25 and M4, the Piccadilly Line, the Heathrow Express, Heathrow Connect, and plans exist from an additional rail entry from Waterloo via Clapham Junction and Staines into Terminal 5, and Crossrail will be completed by 2018. If one of these routes is taken offline, all the other routes provide solid resilience. New rail access from the west and intersection with HS2 will further improve overall access to a larger Heathrow.

No such situation exists, or is even planned, for Gatwick. Yet GAL predicts 25.7 million train journeys per year by 2030 – double the number using rail at Heathrow today. That's without even taking account of the 'million tonnes' of freight Gatwick expects the rail and road infrastructure to accommodate.

Gatwick is served only by a single rail and motorway connection. The airport, its passengers and its airlines is already dangerously vulnerable to disruption.

Gatwick relies and would rely on the Brighton main line (BML) for rail connections to and from London. Their substantive surface access submission is based on work which is already going ahead, which only addresses existing capacity problems. The commuters I represent will regard it as a sick joke that this line can carry significantly more passengers in peak hours when they are already standing and extra staff are being recruited to keep platforms safe at East Croydon so passengers don't spill onto the tracks.

This line runs through the deepest cutting in Europe and is particularly vulnerable to extreme weather. Suicides happen about once a month bringing the line to a standstill for over an hour each time. Rail resilience to "events" is weak to non-existent as there is no realistic alternative route.

On the roads, you are familiar with the pace of the A23 into and out of London. The A23/M23 and M25/M23 are already beyond capacity and tinkering with several junctions on the M25 is not going to address this.

My question to the promoters is when anything goes wrong, air traffic control, shortage of baggage handlers, and most frequently suspension of the rail line – Gatwick collapses today. All of this gets worse as Gatwick gets bigger. How can you address this?

Towns, communities and countryside

Locally, we enjoy a strong economy and low unemployment. As of October 2014 there were 25,369 JSA claimants in the entire region stretching from north to south from Croydon to Brighton, and east to west from Lewes to Bognor Regis. The median percentage figure is just 1.7% of the entire population seeking work [1]. I recall that at our meeting in July this year, I illustrated these figures and the area to which I refer on a roughly sketched map; allow me to do the same again, this time with much improved graphics.

The labour market in the region is absolutely saturated. GAL cannot answer where the 122,000-person [2] workforce is going to materialise from to deliver the supposed £90 billion of economic benefit.

GAL's own analysis shows that Gatwick already employs 31% of the total workforce in Crawley, 9% in my own constituency in Reigate. The assertion that the additional workforce will merrily make their way from Croydon – a town where at its worst, unemployment is at 4.4% in Croydon North - is fanciful even if attractive to the London Borough of Croydon.

A similar picture presents itself on the south coast where the worst unemployment is in Brighton Kempton at 3%.

These figures – and the recent example of Gatwick actually running out of baggage handlers with air-side security clearance in July this year – shows that there is no workforce, immediate or approximate, capable of staffing an expanded Gatwick.

If the number of jobs turned out to be the Commission's most pessimistic assumptions there would be no economic benefit to the UK of this scheme. However we believe this is highly unlikely and GAL's employment projections for an airport bigger than Heathrow understate the on-site jobs. To staff this vast new enterprise will require the migration of thousands of workers into the local area, flooding, probably literally, the existing infrastructure of schools, transport, health services and housing.

Blithely adding to housing forecasts which are already undeliverable without loss of Greenbelt and countryside does not answer how local communities are expected to cope with such an influx. Existing housing demand is already requiring options for development on the Green Belt in my constituency.

Noise

30,000 more local people will find themselves underneath flight paths and this year I have seen first-hand the despair and anger that a change from rural tranquillity to unanticipated overflight. This is a much more dramatic relative change than that proposed at Heathrow.

My question to the promoters is that PR-Nav has given you a small taste of the consequences of the destruction of the quality of life of your neighbours. Do you really believe your mitigation measures can repair your relationship with your host community?

Finance

The Commission has rather dryly said that the level of finance needed for the project, is "significantly larger than the company's financing to date."

With airport charges expected to rise beyond a sustainable level for its current airline customers, we question whether GAL has a viable case to raise the funds needed for expansion from its owners. Its principle shareholder, by its own policy, typically holds assets for only up to 10 years, which is before this project will be financed.

Last week, ratings agency Moody's raised concern over the negative credit implications for Gatwick stating that the "financial risks.....are high given the size."

The financing of this raises questions about whether there would be a satisfactory rate of return, figures of the Commission have access to. We believe conceding the claimed need for commercial confidence is in error as there is no alternative making a proposition on the same competitive basis. The Commission has permitted redactions on tax, financing, profit and loss, cash flow etcetera and it is the assumptions that underlie these figures that are critical to enable us and the public to evaluate this proposal.

The National Interest

As representatives in Westminster we should also look beyond our own constituencies. The central 'exam question' is how to maintain global connectivity for the UK, about this country's competitiveness and future national growth and jobs.

The Commission's own analysis shows that even in Gatwick's imagined future – where 'Low Cost is King' – expansion here would be worth dramatically less to the UK in terms of GDP and jobs than the alternatives. The Commission's analysis is that on most of all its economic scenarios £100 billion would be foregone by the UK if we went for Gatwick. That's a lot of money.

My question to the promoters is how can you credibly challenge the Commission's numbers if you won't even give us your own?

It is a rare thing to have an airport so well connected as Heathrow – one of only six in its class around the world serving more than 50 long haul destinations – if we can't afford to replicate and indeed improve that option east of London it would be bizarre to abandon Heathrow's expensively won position..

Gatwick is a very good airport for what it is. But its failure to attract major airlines to fly from here to the destinations served by our competitors in France and Germany is striking. While Heathrow has been full for 10 years, there are virtually no long haul connections to the next generation of economic powerhouses – Brazil, India, and not a single route to China.

Gatwick is big enough and its supporting labour market, rail and road infrastructure are already beyond economic saturation.

Whilst local businesses will, of course, welcome a massive injection of extra demand, the reality is that demand can't be served, certainly not on current plans.

There is no guarantee this proposal would be financed although a recommendation for Gatwick would still suit its Shareholders by holding back its main competitor: the principle hub in the UK.

Conclusion

Gatwick would be the wrong decision for the UK economy. The infrastructure reality is that the consequences for the local communities we represent would be to demand too much of local people, schools, housing and transport infrastructure. To make this plan work will need more, much more, of all of them than identified in GAL's plans or I believe in the Commission's analysis to date. The consequences will be an irrevocable disaster for those communities and these proposals are also not in the national interest. That is why the Group I chair oppose them.”CrispinBlunt

 
Health Committee to Scrutinise Winter A&E Performance
Friday, 16 January 2015 10:25

The impact of winter pressures on local A&Es will be discussed at the next meeting of West Sussex Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee (HASC) on Wednesday 21 January.

However, there will be no discussion at the meeting about new NHS musculoskeletal services (MSK).

The meeting will be told that negotiations are continuing between Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group, Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Bupa CSH Ltd following the results of an independent impact assessment into proposed changes.

The committee has been scrutinising the plans which have been causing concern within the community.

Chairman of the Committee Margaret Evans said: “We are keen to see a conclusion to these negotiations as soon as possible. However, we fully understand that it is important to get it right. We all want a positive outcome and to make sure residents get the best service so we need to allow time for these negotiations to be concluded.”

The committee will look at the impact of winter pressures on local A&Es and other health services. It will ask for an update on how the NHS and social care services have been working together to address recent pressures and what the causes have been. They will also ask about how they are planning for future similar situations.

The meeting will also hear about how the County Council is preparing for the Care Act, the most significant social care reform in 60 years.

The changes are designed to help people plan for the future and put people more in control of the help they receive, have more control over their care and support and remain independent for as long as possible. The County Council is consulting on some aspects of the changes which can be decided locally.

The meeting on Wednesday 21 January will start at 10.30am, at County Hall in Chichester.

whitehead

 
More on the Gatwick Debate
Thursday, 15 January 2015 11:56

On Friday 16th Jan, our Group will meet to debate the gatwick Second Runway issue prior to the Full Council debate to be held at County Hall North in Horsham on Monday 19th Jan.

Members have recieved many contacts from residents and businesses either in favour or against the proposal. Today we publish the letter to Members from Nick Herbert MP;

 

The full text of Mr Herbert's letter is as follows:

I am writing to West Sussex county councillors in the Arundel & South Downs constituency about proposals for a second runway at Gatwick Airport.  This is ahead of consideration of the County Councils response to the Airport Commissions consultation document on a second runway by the Environmental and Community Select Services Committee this week, on Wednesday 14 January, and Full Council next week, on Monday 19 January.

I am concerned that the environmental impact of a second runway on rural West Sussex has not been fully understood.  First, an increase of 60.8 million passengers - more than two and a half, and nearly three times, the current number - would mean more than 250,000 additional flights every year.  The flight path trials last summer which affected our constituency in the Wisborough Green area caused enormous upset and highlighted the sensitivity of tranquil rural communities where residents found aircraft noise especially intrusive.  The Airports Commission recognises that the number of people affected by noise would increase significantly and that "there are areas around Gatwick that are rural and have high levels of tranquillity that would be adversely impacted by new development at the airport".

The second major concern relates to development.  You will be aware that the Planning Inspector recently ruled that the increased level of housing involved in the proposed Mayfield new town between Henfield and Sayers Common was not required in current circumstances.  However, he made clear that a second runway at Gatwick would have major implicationsfor planning and would require development plans to be revisited:

As was acknowledged by virtually all participants at the hearings, any decision to expand Gatwick Airport by building a second runway would have major implications for the planning of the whole sub-region and would almost certainly necessitate an urgent review of the HDPF (and quite probably the plans of all authorities in the Gatwick Diamond area).  If that were to occur, the way in which future development needs should be met would undoubtedly be raised again.  It would be for the Council to determine, in constructive cooperation with other relevant bodies, including particularly Mid Sussex DC, how those needs would be met.

Gatwick Airport claims that employment growth associated with a second runway would lead to demand for an additional 9,300 new homes across the study area between 2025 and 2050, representing 5 per cent of additional demand forecast for the same period.  These homes would be built over 25 years between 2025 and 2050 in the 14 local authority areas around the expanded airport that cover an area from south London to the South Coast.  The Airports Commission gives an upper end housing estimate of 18,400 homes by 2030.

However, consultants commissioned by West Sussex County Council and the Gatwick Diamond Initiative concluded that new jobs created by a new runway would require 30,000 to 45,000 new houses, equivalent to a new town the size of Crawley or 1,000 houses added to 40 villages.  The Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign point out that since most of Surrey is designated as Green Belt it has been assumed that almost all these new houses would need to be built in West Sussex.

I hardly need to tell you about the existing development pressures on our villages and towns in West Sussex.  We already have a significant infrastructure deficit, with congestion on our roads, local health services under strain and oversubscribed schools.  Our district councils have had to take very difficult decisions to meet housing demand and villages are expanding to the limit.  I do not believe that significantly more housing than already planned could be allocated in West Sussex over the next two decades without fundamentally risking the rural character of much of our county and causing enormous public concern.

I believe that the public should be made fully aware that local plans which are already requiring controversial housing developments would have to be revised if a second runway were agreed; that villages would be required to take even more housing with more loss of countryside and green spaces; and that deeply unpopular proposed major developments such as the Mayfield new town would be more likely to win approval.

The draft County Council response to the Airport Commissions consultation document ignores these issues.  It repeats the Council's policy of support for a second runway in principle while being "cognisant" of the environmental and infrastructure issues.  It downplays the need for new housing, merely repeating Gatwick Airport's lower estimate of housing demand, and makes vacuous statements such as "local authorities will have to consider how the impacts might be planned for and accommodated through future iterations of local plans".

The draft response fails to address the main issue, which is that a second runway at Gatwick would add to development pressures which are already acute in rural West Sussex.  These impacts are known and cannot be mitigated.  The County Council cannot simultaneously hold the positions of support for a second runway while being concerned about the impact on the local environment.  I hope that councillors will therefore agree to amend the Council's response to the consultation to make clear that a second runway at Gatwick is an unsustainable proposal that will damage our villages, towns and countryside, and that the Council opposes it.Gatwick1

 
Swap your child’s sugary treats for healthier ones, West Sussex parents urge
Tuesday, 13 January 2015 00:00

Parents across West Sussex are being encouraged to back a new campaign and swap their children’s sugary treats for healthier ones.

West Sussex County Council is backing Change4Life's ‘Sugar Swaps’ campaign which aims to reduce the intake of sugar by highlighting substitutions, or swaps, to food and drink, for key meals throughout the day.

Families are being encouraged to sign up and make one easy change – such as substituting sugary and fizzy drinks for water or a sugar-free alternative.

The national campaign launched following a recent survey among Netmums users who were polled on their views on sugar.

The results showed that many families are concerned about the amount of sugar their children consume.

Eating and drinking too much sugar means extra calories, which causes fat to build up inside the body. This can lead to heart disease, some cancers or type 2 diabetes later in life.

While guidelines state that no more than 10% of a person’s daily energy or calorie intake should be made up of sugar, at present, children aged four to ten-years-old are consuming up to 50% more than this.

Christine Field, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing, said: “Change4Life Sugar Swaps is a fun challenge the whole family can take part in.

“Making a simple swap to your diet can actually have a big impact on your family’s health and wellbeing, both short-term and for the future.

“It’s no secret that we tend to have too much sugar in our diets - reducing this is crucial for the health of our children.

“Why not give Sugar Swaps a go and see what difference it makes for your family?”

Change4Life recommends four simple Sugar Swaps to choose from, tackling different ‘sugar occasions’ in the day:

  • The Breakfast Swap: sugary cereal for plain cereal e.g. wholewheat biscuit cereal
  • The Drink Swap: e.g. from sugary drinks to sugar-free or no-added-sugar drinks
  • The After School Swap: for example from muffins to fruited teacake
  • The Pudding Swap: for example from ice cream to low-fat lower-sugar yoghurt

Visit West Sussex Wellbeing to get further hints and tips or search Change4Life online to register for a free Sugar Swaps pack, designed to help parents cut down the sugary foods and drinks consumed by their children.

field213

 
Police Budget and Precept Under the Spotlight
Sunday, 11 January 2015 17:23

The cost of policing Sussex in 2015/16 will be on the agenda when Sussex Police and Crime Panel holds its next meeting on Friday 23 January.

Katy Bourne, Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, will give the Panel details of Sussex Police’s budget for the next financial year, and the proposed policing precept that residents will pay.

The Panel is meeting at County Hall, Lewes, and the meeting is open to the public and will also be webcast from 10.30am.

West Sussex County Councillor Brad Watson OBE, who chairs the Panel, said: “The Panel is responsible for reviewing the Commissioner’s proposed precept and making reports and recommendations. If the Panel does not accept the proposed precept it has a power of veto.

“In the event the veto is exercised, a provisional meeting date of Friday 20 February has been arranged for the Panel to consider the Commissioner’s revised proposed precept. However, the Panel does not have the power of veto over the revised precept.”

“It promises to be a busy and interesting meeting,” said Brad.

Katy Bourne, Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, added: “Over the two months I have had a county-wide consultation about the Police Precept and we have had a very good response from the public. I look forward to presenting the results of the survey at the Police and Crime Panel meeting."

The webcast of the meeting can be found from 10.30am on 23 January from the East Sussex County Council webcast web pages.

You can find out more about the work of the Panel, its membership and download agenda papers on the Sussex Police and Crime Panel page.

BradWatson

 
Why we must start planning now for the Gatwick second runway decision
Tuesday, 16 December 2014 21:51

Over the weekend I was preparing my verbal submission to the Airports’ Commission Public Session which I gave today.

In 1979 an agreement was made between West Sussex County Council as the Planning Authority and BAA, the then owners of the airport, that there would be no second runway at Gatwick until 2019.

It was an agreement that was binding on BAA’s successors, although they could at any time have sought to terminate it. But it has relied on goodwill – a principle which has worked well over the years.

A similar forty year agreement probably would not happen today. Between then and now there has been considerable social and economic movement, which is to be welcomed.

The whole world has opened up to business and the movement of people and resources. So a decision on airport expansion, because of its considerable significance nationally, is no longer in the hands of local people and politicians but very much with the Government of the day and will only be made after extensive public consultation.

Sometime in 2015 the Airports Commission will make a recommendation about whether expansion will be at Heathrow or Gatwick for increasing airport capacity in the future. 

If the recommendation is for expansion at Gatwick and the Government chooses to accept the recommendations, the ramifications for West Sussex and the other communities close to the airport would be huge.


My position is that I am firmly of the view that we have to start planning now for whatever decision is made. 

If there is to be a second runway at Gatwick Airport then we need to consider how best to mitigate the effects of these on local communities and the environment whilst considering how best to provide the infrastructure and services that are needed for more jobs, new business opportunities, homes, as well as the increase in traffic and transport.

If the Government opts for expansion at Heathrow Airport this would also be considerable news for the county.  We would have to consider how we optimise the benefits of Gatwick Airport in its current configuration. There will still be growth but it will be very different and the impact and supporting infrastructure will need to be planned differently but no less carefully.

Whichever way the decision goes we do need as much time as possible, to plan, work with a range of key partners, to lobby, inform and prepare which is why I think it is vital for the good of the residents of West Sussex and the county’ s economic and environmental needs that we start now and do not wait for a decision.

To that end we are in discussions with our District and Borough Councils who too have a vital part to play.

Whether there is a new runway at Gatwick or not we all need to work on the economic implications for our area.


I have had lots of letters from people questioning the decision to ask the Council to support in principle the idea of an expanded Gatwick Airport including a second runway.  I fully understand and accept people’s anxiety about what a second runway in the county might mean in terms of increased flights, housing, jobs, services and the environment. The action we took was to trigger that very debate – to recognise that a big decision was going to be made – not one in our control but one we were able to influence.


“Support in principle” means showing a keen interest in the future of the county, its economy and employment.  It does not mean blanket support regardless of the wider effects.  Taking the decision to support Gatwick Airport Limited in principle in its attempts to bring a second runway to the Airport has allowed us to really hold Gatwick to account as a critical friend on the issues that matter to our residents and people care about. It has opened doors and shown that we are not wedded to any particular cause – other than the interests or our communities


We’ve had some really challenging conversations about residents’ concerns over the noise, particularly this summer and the need for significant investment in business, transport and community infrastructure should the runway be given the green light.  . Those are the very issues we raised as conditions needing to be addressed when we gave support in principle.

But as I have said earlier now we need to move on and plan for either scenario.  Second runway or not, we have to plan for the future of the whole county.  We have to do what we can now to ensure there are sufficient jobs across the county for children being born now and their children thereafter.

What we are doing is trying to plan not only the future economy of West Sussex but also for our residents. The County Council has 3 key priorities, The Start of Life, The Economy and Later Life – all are inextricably linked, we are looking as we have never done before from when a child starts in life right through the very late life and all between and the economy plays an enormously important role in giving employement and providing the funds that enable us to support those in need.


The County Council is the strategic authority so whatever happens it has a very large and important role of the long term -  for future generations in West Sussex.


For me, that is the County Council’s main role and that is what differentiates our role from that of the local MP or local district or borough councillor.  In looking at Gatwick Airport and planning for a second runway or not, we have to consider the implications for not only the immediate Gatwick area and the areas affected by the flight paths, but the repercussions for the whole county, from Crawley to the coast.


It is a unique role and one that I’m proud to have but it brings with it many, many challenges and responsibilities of which I am very aware.  Not least, how we balance our stunning and beautiful environment with the need for a strong economy for future jobseekers and investors.  Unfortunately the job does not bring with it a crystal ball.


West Sussex is in a unique situation to other Authorities as Gatwick is in the County ultimately, the decision as to whether there is a second runway at Gatwick Airport is not the County Council’s to make.  We have to take control of our own destiny as much as we can and plan constructively for the future, second runway or not.  That is going to be one of the Council’s main areas of focus in the coming years.


In the meantime, the County Council is carefully considering the consultation material published by the Commission.  This will inform the drafting of a response to the Commission to be reported to our Environmental and Community Services Select Committee at its January meeting and then debated at Full county Council on the 19th January.


Finally could I encourage everyone to engage in the Commission’s consultation and make their views known."

Gatwick1

 
«StartPrev12345678910NextEnd»

Page 8 of 12
Facebook MySpace Twitter Google Bookmarks RSS Feed 
Thursday 20 July 2017

We’re so glad you’re here

It’s Friday afternoon, not my usual time to write a blog but I wanted to let you know about my…
Read More ...
Thursday 20 July 2017

Unemployed young people secure jobs with leading infrastructure company

A course offered to young people who are not in education, employment or training has helped four locals to secure…
Read More ...
Thursday 20 July 2017

Stronger mental health support for young people

More than 2,250 young people aged 11 to under 18 receive emotional support via the Youth Emotional Support Service. Extra…
Read More ...

Produced and hosted by Far Design Ltd - chat@fardesign.com