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Better Roads delivers dramatic improvement for West Sussex roads
Friday, 01 July 2016 09:14
  • Statistics show two-year programme restored the quality of the county’s road network to its highest level in years.
  • £30m project focused on improving rural and residential roads in the county.
  • More than eight out of ten residents say scheme improved their road.
  • Forecasted to save the County Council millions in future maintenance costs over coming years.

West Sussex County Council’s Better Roads Programme has delivered better than expected results.

Dramatic improvements have been made to the surfaces of rural and residential roads across the county.

Statistics this month show only 13% of rural and residential roads are now in need of repair, compared to 23% back in 2013.

The success had a knock-on effect on busier roads in the county as well.

Today, only 3% of A roads and 3% of B and C roads need maintenance, compared to 7% and 10% respectively in 2014.

These results will be published by the Department of Transport in March 2017.

County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, John O’Brien, said: “It is fantastic to announce the Better Roads Programme has delivered on its promises.

“The figures reflected in our recent surveys are a significant achievement and testament to the hard work of our staff and our contractors.

“It has brought the need for repairs on our roads back to a manageable level.

“Many more residents now encounter a smoother and safer road surface when out in the country or near where they live.”

He added: “The extra resource brought in for Better Roads had the added benefit of allowing us to concentrate on improving the main road network at the same time.

We cannot become complacent, but over the next couple of years we expect a much more resilient road network.”

The Better Roads programme, which ran from 2014 to 2016, was the largest investment made to the road network for years.

£30m was taken from council reserves to be spent on improving rural and residential roads around the county.

Over half of roads in West Sussex are rural and residential.

Extreme cold and wet weather in previous years had accelerated the deterioration of the road surfaces. 

Under the Better Roads Programme, roads that suffered the greatest deterioration were prioritised first.

It is anticipated the County Council will save £1.2 million in maintenance costs every year because of the improvements.

John said: “What this has done is brought our roads to a level where they can be sustainably maintained on an annual basis.

“These figures are a snapshot and the battle from now on will be to keep them down to this sort of level.

“It’s important to point out there is constant wear and tear from the traffic on the road network and we cannot maintain everything at 100%.

“Every year we survey the road network so we know the areas we need to plan maintenance for.

“But we have been very proactive in seeking out areas in need of immediate attention.”

Residents living on streets resurfaced during the Better Roads Programme were given postcards to fill in.

They were asked to assess the quality of work.

Eight out of 10 responded to say the scheme had improved their road.

john obrien

 
Business AS Usual for West Sussex After Referendum Vote
Monday, 27 June 2016 00:00

Like 72.2% of the population I went out and voted in the Referendum on Thursday. Like many, I really was not sure which way it would go and early on Friday morning the results came through for an exit from the EU.

It was – and will be -  a momentous decision for the UK and one which has to be respected whether the final decision was one you personally supported or not.

 

Over the next few weeks and months national and, to a lesser degree, local politicians will be involved in what happens next in one way or another. All politicians will have a duty to focus on making sure this decision works for everyone and the UK. But for all of us this is a first – there are no previous examples to follow. Much is uncertain but we have to move forward and, in doing so, create a new chapter in Britain’s history.

 

What we do know is that there will be a new Prime Minister and David Cameron has pledged to do all he can to ensure a period of stability, until his replacement is selected.

 

But it’s only natural that people from all walks of life, businesses, families and communities will be wondering what Thursday’s vote means for them. People are wondering what impact it have on their way of life, their home, their work, their futures and the futures of their children and grandchildren.

 

In this period of natural uncertainty, please be assured that West Sussex County Council will continue to run its services as normal -  our Fire and Rescue Service is still there for you in an emergency and we will still continue to keep our children, elderly and vulnerable residents safe from harm. Our focus remains on working with all our businesses to build a stronger economy, supporting and creating jobs for today, tomorrow and in the future.

 

Our crews will still be working around the clock to maintain our roads, our libraries will open as usual and our registration service will continue to help you when you need to register the birth of your baby or the death of someone you loved.

 

We will continue to spend every penny of the council tax we collect from you as if we’d earned it ourselves, investing in what you have told us is most important to you to support you to lead the long, healthy and happy lives you have told us you want.

 

All of the services we provide to our communities, day in day out, continue today in just the same way as they did last Wednesday, before people went to the polls.

 

It’s true that some of our longer term plans may have to change in the weeks and months ahead. If and when this happens of course I will keep you posted with what has had to change and, most importantly why.


But for now, it remains very much business as usual at WSCC.

goldsmith09-2

 
Home Secretary invited to visit West Sussex as County Council Leader voices concern about future of fire service
Tuesday, 31 May 2016 12:56

West Sussex County Council’s Leader has set out her opposition to a possible proposal from the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) to take responsibility of the county’s Fire and Rescue Service.

Louise Goldsmith told a meeting of the Full Council today (Friday 27 May) that she had received a letter this week from the Commissioner, Katy Bourne, setting out her intention to explore the proposal to take on control of the fire service.

The Home Secretary Theresa May gave a speech this week on the reform of Fire and Rescue Services, including plans to invite PCCs to prepare bids to take on responsibility for Fire and Rescue Services in their area. The enabling legislation for these proposals is currently going through Parliament in the amendments to the Policing and Crime Bill.

In West Sussex the Fire and Rescue Service is fully integrated with the County Council.

Louise said: “I am firmly of the view that we have an excellent model – one that I am extremely proud of and one that I would not want to see put at risk.”

Louise told the meeting the Home Secretary’s proposals to allow Police and Crime Commissioners to run fire services are based on a ‘perceived’ need for reform based on:

• The benefits of greater collaboration with other emergency services
• Opportunities for joint working and joint commissioning
• The need to change old ways of working
• A need for greater democratic accountability and transparency
• The need for further savings from more efficient practices

Louise added: “I believe we deliver all of those things already and that we have achieved considerably more benefits in terms of integration with our other preventative, community safety and safeguarding services."

Louise went on to invite the Home Secretary to West Sussex to see for herself the ‘alternative’ to government’s preferred model which is already working well.

Louise said: “I would be delighted to welcome the Home Secretary to West Sussex to show her how all of her requirements are already being met by our excellent Fire and Rescue Service through integration with the County Council.”

Today’s County Council meeting saw cross-party opposition to the Government’s proposal to allow PCCs to take on responsibility for fire services.

A full debate on the Government’s proposal will be held at the July full Council meeting.

goldsmith2-1

 
County Council ready to activate Pothole Action Fund
Tuesday, 31 May 2016 12:51

West Sussex County Council is set to turn a Government pothole fund into action.

The County Council was awarded £841,000 by the Department of Transport as part of its share of the Government’s Pothole Action Fund.

Officers will use the funds to make permanent pothole repairs, and resurface or treat roads to prevent potholes forming in the first place. 

It is anticipated the fund will repair the equivalent of 15,868 potholes in the next year.

The funding is being split into three areas:

Permanent pothole repairs - £350,000

  • £50,000 to be spent equally in Crawley/Mid Sussex/Worthing/ Adur/Arun/Horsham/Chichester districts;
  • Two additional maintenance gangs to start work in June/July;
  • Repairs to target roads where ‘repeat defects’ form using data from customer complaints.

Resurfacing/treating roads - £350,000

  • Focused on roads which have been inspected and is known maintenance is needed;
  • List of roads to be confirmed in June/July;
  • Work planned to start in summer/autumn.

Repairing the centre joints of A and B roads - £150,000

  • Repairs done around same time as road markings;
  • B2145 and B2201 Donnington to Selsey route (1.8kms) prioritised;
  • Work to be completed June or July (subject to weather).

The work will complement the County Council’s existing annual road maintenance programme.

County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, John O’Brien said: “Repairing and preparing our roads over the summer is a key part of our strategy to protect our roads from pothole damage caused in winter.

“This extra investment from the Government strengthens our hand.

“We care for almost 2,500 miles of road, so this funding will help us target locations we know are in need of attention that have just missed out before.”

john obrien4-1

 
Latest News from WSCC Leader Louise Goldsmith
Saturday, 16 April 2016 18:30

For the last six years West Sussex County Council have been on a journey of change.

 

We’ve needed to do things differently to adapt to the significant challenges that we as a county council, and all other local authorities, face.

 

I won’t pretend for one minute that it hasn’t been difficult but it has been the right thing to do. It has absolutely narrowed our focus to the things that matter most for our county and our residents.

 

One of the most significant of those challenges has been our contribution to reducing the country’s deficit.

 

This authority has made more than £162million savings over the last six years and, while further, substantial, savings still need to be found, we have certainly done our bit.

 

And we’ve done it at a time when pressures on our services have never been greater, and the expectations of our residents have never been higher. And we know those pressures will only continue to grow. And we know that people’s expectations will only increase. And we know that we will continue to meet both in the best way we can because that’s why we’re here, doing what we do day in and day out 24/7.

 

So while this reflects on the challenges of the last few years, it’s also one that looks to the future. And I believe that our future’s a bright one.

 

There will be challenges, of course, but we will face them and we will overcome them as we have always done.

 

And we will continue to be a council that spends every penny of our residents’ hard earned council tax as if it were our own because delivering quality and value for money are so very important to us.

 

At times of significant financial pressures it’s easy for organisations to solely concentrate on balancing the books, shrink services, look inwards and live in the here and now.

 

That’s never been our style. When I look back over the last six years it’s with a sense of pride that we’ve faced the challenges we have and unrelentingly pushed ahead with an ambitious agenda that will improve West Sussex for us all. Because I honestly believe this county and the people that live and work in it deserve nothing less.

 

We have worked hard to reshape and transform our organisation and will continue to do so in order to focus on delivering quality services around our three key priority areas. You’ve heard me talk about them before but our work to make sure that children have the very best start in life, that we support and grow our local economy and that we support our elderly and ageing population to live independently in their later years – these are the three core things that unite us all.

 

And sitting alongside those three vital areas are our fundamental principles of always helping people to help themselves and always being there for people in an emergency.

 

They unite us all, no matter what political colour we might be.

 

We have redesigned our Children's Services and continue our work to improve how we can better support our growing elderly population in their own communities so they can age with confidence.

 

We have delivered our £30million Better Roads Programme, resurfacing over 2.27million square metres of roads across the county, and our Operation Watershed project has been celebrated nationally as one of the very best examples of local government helping its communities to protect themselves against flooding.

 

We are currently purchasing the Novartis site in Horsham to further develop and support West Sussex’s life science sector.

 

And we are working on an exciting project in Bognor Regis to create a hub to support the growth of the creative digital sector in the town by providing a shared workspace where small businesses and start-ups could work in a creative environment, network, socialise, display work and share facilities. We’re also working with partners in Mid Sussex on exciting redevelopment plans for Burgess Hill.

 

We continue to push forward with our 3SC Devolution Bid to Government which will forge a new and exciting partnership with Surrey County Council and East Sussex County Council for the benefit of all our residents. We’re already starting to see the benefits of closer collaboration with partners - indeed we will be sharing our Legal Services across the 3SC and Brighton & Hove City Council.

 

So despite the very difficult financial landscape we are innovating and constantly looking at ways to better serve our residents.

 

 

On Friday, the 15th April our Full Council met and confirmed the appointment our new Chief Executive. Nathan Elvery will join us from Croydon Council in June and will continue to build on the substantial transformation work that has been undertaken over the last few years.

 

He started his working life at Crawley Borough Council so it is good to see him coming back to work in West Sussex, this time at the County Council.

 

I really believe this is a watershed time in West Sussex County Council’s long and proud history. We’ve got a bright, and challenging future ahead of us and I look forward to working with Nathan, all our dedicated politicians and staff, to achieve our ambitions for this great county that I am lucky enough to call home.

 

 

Louise

Louise Goldsmith.

Leader West Sussex County Council

Chichester West Division.

goldsmith073web

 
New Cabinet Member, and new Chairman of HASC Scutiny
Friday, 15 April 2016 00:00

Two changes have been announced today within the County Council’s Cabinet and the Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee.

Stephen Hillier will be taking on the role of Cabinet Member for Children – Start of Life from Peter Evans, who has been a member of the County Council’s Cabinet for a decade.

Peter Evans was originally Cabinet Member for Public Protection before spending the last five years as Cabinet Member for Children – Start of Life.

Margaret Evans will also be standing down as Chairman of the Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee (HASC) which will be taken up by Bryan Turner.

Leader of West Sussex County Council, Louise Goldsmith, said: “Last July, Peter and Margaret Evans advised me that in spring 2016 both wanted to stand down from their additional roles on the County Council. Peter has served in the Cabinet for over 10 years and his absolute commitment has been outstanding. I am delighted that Stephen Hillier has agreed to take on the portfolio.
 
“Margaret Evans has been an excellent Chairman of HASC and again I thank her for her contribution. I would also like to thank Bryan Turner for agreeing to take over as Chairman. He is not only an experienced Chairman but his professional background will bring considerable knowledge as well.”

Peter and Margaret Evans, who were married in 2014, have also announced their retirement from their respective County Councillor roles after the May 2017 elections. The couple has said they want to spend more time together.

Peter said: “Both Margaret and I now wish to pursue other interests. I have gained much satisfaction from my Cabinet roles at the County Council particularly in Children’s Services where I hope that a difference has been made to lives of some of our most vulnerable and underprivileged children.”

Peter, who is the ward member for East Preston and Ferring, was elected to West Sussex County Council in 2005 and served on the Strategic Planning and Public Protection Select Committee, as well as being appointed the Older People’s Champion for West Sussex. Peter has also just become Deputy Mayor at Chichester City Council.

As a father-of-two, Peter has lived in Ferring since 1979 and will continue to take an active role in the community including his current roles as Trustee of the Cobnor Activities Centre and Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme, Councillor at Ferring Parish Council and Director of Chichester Business Improvement.
Past roles include Chairman of the Ferring Conservative Association, Chairman of the East Preston and the Ferring Youth Clubs, Governor at Ferring CE Primary School and the Littlehampton Academy.

Stephen Hillier, who is the ward member for Haywards Heath and has served as Deputy Mayor for the area, said: “As a father of three, I am honoured to be taking up this role and I am mindful of the enormous responsibility that it bears because it involves the welfare of a huge range of West Sussex children.
 
“However, I am very fortunate to be stepping into the role after Peter Evans as he’s done a tremendous job and leaves Children’s Services in extremely good shape. He has been outstanding, much-respected by people working at all levels throughout the county, and we all owe him our thanks and very best wishes.”

 

stephenhillier

 
Montague Place Worthing Regeneration is Underway
Sunday, 24 January 2016 12:03

West Sussex County Council is revamping Montague Place in Worthing.

Work has begun this week to regenerate the area and make it a more attractive space for performances and public events.

The changes are designed to increase footfall and boost the local economy.

Improvements include:

  • A modern new bandstand with a shell design;
  • Removal of the dated rotunda seating;
  • A bigger open space for public events;
  • New steps on the north side of Montague Place under ‘skylar’ shelter for people to gather;
  • Lighter and longer lasting coloured paving;
  • Attractive wayfinder feature embedded in pavement with road names written in text;
  • LED lighting in paving; and
  • Stone cubes installed to stop vehicles turning into Montague Street.

Construction work will take place Monday to Friday during daytime hours.

The work is expected to take place until June.

Some disruption to Montague Place is anticipated.

However, access to shops is being maintained throughout the work, and noise and dust kept to a minimum.

Vehicles will be able to access Montague Street for loading and unloading before 10am and after 4pm, as normal.

Worthing Town Centre manager Sharon Clarke said: “Montague Street at its junction with Montague Place is the busiest pedestrian junction in Worthing and is a key area for public performance and events in the town centre. 

“This space helps charities and other organisations promote their work, as it is one of the main areas where people congregate while in town. 

“It’s really exciting to see this area regenerated and improved so it becomes a more usable performance space which will encourage additional activity. 

“This investment to Montague Place will not only enhance the area but will improve the vitality and ambiance of the whole town centre.”  

County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, John O’Brien, said: “Improvements to the outdoor environment like these helps bring energy and vibrancy to an area.

“The contemporary designs for the ‘bandshell’ and the ‘skylar’ shelter will complement each other and add to this part of Worthing.”

Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Bryan Turner (also a West Sussex County Councillor for Broadwater) added: “Montague Place is a busy meeting space in the heart of Worthing’s continually improving shopping scene, so I’m delighted to see these works beginning.

“Once completed, I have no doubt that they will be pivotal in improving the connection between the town centre and the seafront. 

“The town is experiencing a very positive upturn in interest - from businesses and families relocating to people wanting to get out on the water for an active holiday.

 

“This investment comes at exactly the right time to build on our firm foundations towards an even more prosperous, and vibrant, future - making the most of all that we have to offer as a retail, business and leisure destination.”

Information can be found at www.westsussex.gov.uk/montagueplace

 

 

 

The project will cost £1.2m.

Funding is being split as follows:

  • £800,000 - a regional growth fund allocation from the Government’s Local Economic Partnership;
  • £280,000  - West Sussex County Council; and
  • £120,000 - contributions arising from new developments in the local area.
  • MontagueGraphic1
 
3SC Devolution Proposed to Minister
Sunday, 17 January 2016 16:03

Leaders behind the devolution bid for three of England’s strongest performing counties have outlined to Government how their plan would boost growth for the region’s residents.

Communities Minister Baroness Williams heard the proposals for how East Sussex, Surrey and West Sussex would work together to help tackle the congested road and rail network, pioneer new digital technology, close the skills gap that is holding businesses back and build new affordable homes.

At the meeting in Westminster, representatives for the 3SC (Three Southern Counties) bid told Baroness Williams how devolving additional powers to the region would help unlock new growth and spearhead a transformation in how public services are delivered. It follows the submission of the 3SC devolution prospectus to Local Government Secretary Greg Clark last September.

With a population of more than 2.5million people, the 3SC region is an economic powerhouse but creaking infrastructure and growing demands on public services risk future strong growth, not just for the region but London and the wider British economy.

Key proposals include a long-term infrastructure strategy so the counties, district and borough councils and Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) can work with Government to tackle congestion and invest in key sites for housing and employment.

In the first five years alone this would help to:

• Unlock more brownfield sites to build affordable homes
• Deliver 34,000 planned homes - supporting 58,000 new jobs
• Roll out world class digital infrastructure - bringing superfast broadband to every urban and rural community and the prospect of ultrafast connectivity to all key business
• Ensure the 3SC has an agreed programme of investment to tackle notorious road congestion across the counties, with the 3SC applying for development funding to implement the work
• Co-ordinate work to improve rail capacity between London and the south coast to enable access to high speed rail
• Establish an integrated bus network across the 3SC and Greater Brighton areas with smart ticketing to help residents access jobs, education, training, leisure and tourism
• Reduce hard to fill vacancies across the 3SC area and begin to close the skills gap

The Government is being asked to back the devolution deal and provide the greater financial freedoms needed to make the plans a reality and encourage more investment across the Three Southern Counties.

West Sussex County Council leader Louise Goldsmith, who is leading the 3SC bid, said: “The meeting with Baroness Williams was an extremely positive one and is a big step forward in our bid to regain the freedoms we need to build a vibrant and strong economy and transform our public services.

“The quality of life for all our residents and the economic strengths of the 3SC is at risk because of creaking infrastructure and growing pressures on public services at a time of severe spending constraint.
“Today we put forward a powerful case for how we can work together to tackle the barriers to growth and ensure the 3SC remains an economic powerhouse and a great place to live.”

Speaking after the meeting, Baroness Williams said: “This was a good opportunity to examine in greater detail the 3SC case. I commend the hard work that has gone into producing a case for devolution and look forward to continuing to work closely with all those involved.”

The bid has been developed in partnership with 44 organisations. These include 23 district and borough councils, three local enterprise partnerships, 12 clinical commissioning groups and two police forces, as well as the South Downs National Park and East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service.

The 3SC is also working closely with the Greater Brighton Economic Board bid on creating a joint strategy to improve road, rail and digital infrastructure and close the skills gap.

Louise Goldsmith said: “A meeting will now be held with all our district and borough council partners in the hopes of securing the devolution deal as soon as possible.”

goldsmith073web

 
West Sussex Leader asks for Longer Consultation on A27 Chichester Changes
Thursday, 14 January 2016 21:42

Louise Goldsmith (Leader, West Sussex County Council) has called for an extended public consultation regarding the A27 Chichester Improvement scheme.

Highways England announced it plans to run its public consultation on options for A27 improvements in Chichester over six weeks in the spring.

Mrs Goldsmith has since written to Highways England to ask this length of time is increased to 12 weeks.

In a letter to Highways England, Mrs Goldsmith said: “We feel, along with a number of concerned local residents, this is an insufficient period of time to enable the completion of an effective consultation, necessary to substantiate any future decision on the A27 Chichester Improvement scheme.

“We recognise that consideration must be given to the impact on the overall programme of extending the consultation.

“However, to enable the options contained in the consultation to be presented with coherence and clarity, we consider it will be necessary to extend the consultation period beyond the six weeks that are currently planned, particularly as the consultation is likely to take place over the Easter period.”

She added: “This will help to ensure that the options in the consultation are fully understood and that all local stakeholders have sufficient time to provide a comprehensive response to the consultation.”

goldsmith073web

 
Worthing Drop-In Business Information Event
Thursday, 14 January 2016 21:34

If you are thinking of starting a business in West Sussex or want to grow your existing company then drop in to Worthing Library on Monday 1 February.

Staff from West Sussex Libraries’ Business Information Service will be at the Library in Richmond Road, BN11 1HD between 10am and 4pm to offer advice and useful tips.

They will be demonstrating some of the services that West Sussex County Council are able to offer to the business community.

For more information on the Business Information Service visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/bis

Business

 
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