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West Sussex to Consider a 3.95% increase in Council Tax
Saturday, 09 January 2016 13:49

West Sussex County Council has unveiled plans to safeguard critical frontline services despite facing a £44.5m shortfall in funding next year.

The council’s budget for 2016/17 will be set at £529m but a worse than expected grant from Government and an ever increasing demand for services leaves West Sussex facing a £44.5m black hole in funding.

More than £11m already set aside from extra savings made in previous years will help plug the funding gap but from April a further £18.7m worth of savings will need to be made.

To bridge the remaining gap, for the first time in six years, West Sussex councillors will also be asked to support a rise in council tax of 3.95 per cent – the equivalent of an extra £45.90 on the annual bill of an average property (Band D).

If agreed at Full Council on February 19, the increase will be introduced to bills from April. The charge – which works out at an extra 88p per week – will be levied on West Sussex’s part of the council tax bill (called the precept) and will raise an extra £14.6m a year.

The £14.6m raised in council tax, combined with £18.7m worth of savings planned for next year and over £11m of savings already delivered will bridge the shortfall.

With West Sussex delivering around 80 per cent of all public services, this will make a major contribution in protecting the most important frontline services.

West Sussex County Council Leader Louise Goldsmith said: “This will be an extremely challenging year for us. Our Government grant has been cut by over 20 per cent – this is much worse than the national average and far more than we had expected.

“However our prudence in the past has paid off and we are able to use £11m of previous savings to help plug the budget shortfall while we continue to make the necessary savings next year.

“We are determined to protect the services that matter most to West Sussex residents - giving children the best start in life, boosting the West Sussex economy and helping people live independently for longer in later life.

“In order to do this we have no choice but to raise council tax for the first time in six years. Without this raise we would be facing severe cuts in critical frontline services.”

The council tax increase includes the two per cent charge announced by Chancellor George Osborne to help councils meet the demands of supporting an increasingly ageing population.

From April all workers over the age of 25 will be paid a minimum of £7.20 an hour, rising to £9 an hour by 2020. This will add an extra £9m annually to West Sussex’s budget.

It comes at the same time as the county faces growing pressure on its adult social care budget from a sharp rise in the number of vulnerable elderly people needing care.

Over the next four years an extra 1,000 elderly people will need additional support, many with complex health needs.

An extra £8.3m has been set aside next year to help meet the ever increasing demands on adult social care budget, on top of an extra £5m set aside this financial year.

West Sussex County Council is already working with partners on longer term plans to develop extra care facilities, better dementia care and improved residential services for adult social care.

An extra £0.3m is set aside for the Social Care Academy which will train the next generation of care workers for West Sussex County Council.

Alongside the increasing complexity of adult social care cases, West Sussex is also facing increasingly complex cases of children being looked after in care.

An extra £4.3m has been set aside to help the most vulnerable youngsters and a further £200,000 will be used to strengthen West Sussex’s work to protect children at risk of Child Sexual Exploitation.

The Troubled Families programme, known locally as Think Family, is also being safeguarded with £1.7m from reserves to ensure that 4,000 families get the support they need to turn their lives around by 2020.

However, to help meet savings of up to £18.7m next year the council is continuing to review ways to improve efficiencies and build on partnership working.

Louise Goldsmith said: “We will leave no stone unturned in improving the way we work, in driving out waste and getting even more value for money to ensure our critical frontline services are protected.”

CouncilTaxBill

 
County Invests in Major Site in Horsham
Thursday, 07 January 2016 16:01

A pioneering project to transform a disused site into a world renowned centre for cutting-edge health and life science companies was today (Thursday 7 January 2016) unveiled by West Sussex County Council.

In a landmark deal for the county, West Sussex has agreed to purchase the 19.6 acre Horsham site of global health care company Novartis, subject to contract. It now plans to transform the site into a new science park that will host leading firms in life-saving research work and the development of innovative technology.

The development will be a major boost for the West Sussex economy and is set to bring up to 1,000 jobs to the county. It puts West Sussex on track to become a leading European centre for the health and life sciences sector.

West Sussex is already home to more than 90 companies working in this field and the new science park will lure more leading companies to the county, bringing high quality jobs to the county.
The site will also provide a home for fledgling firms starting out in the sector who could grow to become the big employers of the future.

Louise Goldsmith, Leader of West Sussex County Council, said: “This is a really exciting prospect for the county. Our vision is to create a world renowned centre of excellence building on the site’s respected history with Novartis. It will deliver a science and business park that will help stimulate further growth in the sector, provide high quality jobs for the county and provide support for small, innovative start-up businesses.

“The site has a rich legacy dating back to the 1930s. By purchasing the site the County Council can retain and build on that legacy.”

Less than 20 minutes from London Gatwick Airport and with good road links into the capital and the South Coast, the Horsham site is a prime location for companies looking for a UK base close to major international gateways.

Subject to planning approval, two thirds of the Wimblehurst Road site will be transformed into a science park, while one third will be set aside for high quality housing – helping West Sussex cover the costs of its investment and securing a great deal for the taxpayer.

 

The County Council is now working with architects and planners on designing the right mix of research and laboratory space, office accommodation and start up space to transform the site.

Under the agreement with Novartis, all buildings on the site will be cleared except the locally important 1930s Art Deco building. That will be converted for residential use and the avenue of cedar trees leading to its door will also be protected.

This work is expected to be complete by spring/summer 2016. A marketing agent is currently being appointed to seek partners to take the development forward.

News of the County Council’s ground breaking deal has been welcomed by business leaders across the county.

 

Horsham District Council Leader Ray Dawe said he was delighted that West Sussex had taken on the site.

“The plan to develop a health and life sciences business park in order to protect employment and improve economic growth, alongside some residential development, is important for the district and is also a fitting legacy for one of the largest healthcare groups in the world.

“There will be a number of planning and contractual procedures that West Sussex will need to follow and we will work closely with them to support their vision while protecting the Art Deco former HQ building and its setting.”

The health and life sciences sector is one of the fastest growing industries in the world as populations age and live longer and health services look to new ways to reduce spiralling medical costs.

Recent figures show across West Sussex more than 11,000 people are already employed in this sector. West Sussex is already the base for multinational companies who have their regional or global headquarters in the county – from renowned medical and diagnostic technology companies to major pharmaceutical and industry support services.

West Sussex County Council is also working with business leaders, universities, colleges and schools to ensure the right skills are being developed locally to meet the needs of this booming sector.

Any businesses interested in this redevelopment opportunity can find out more on the Invest West Sussex website.

 

goldsmith213

 
 

 

 
New Cycle Way Coming to Bersted in 2016
Monday, 04 January 2016 20:00

Cyclists can look forward to a safer journey through Bersted next year.

The existing footpath on the southern side of Rowan Way is being widened to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians. Conservative

West Sussex County Council is building the path so cyclists avoid using the North Bersted Relief Road, which will become busier when the Felpham By-Pass opens on March 4.

The new path, 0.6 miles in length, connects North Bersted Street to the A29.

Construction will take place in two stages:

Phase 1:

Rowan Way (A29 to the Rowan Way roundabout)

·         Work starts week commencing Monday, January 4 for up to eight weeks, subject to weather.

·         New pedestrian island built west of The Peel Retail Park entrance.

Phase 2:

Rowan Way (Rowan Way roundabout to North Bersted Street)

·         Work starts from Monday, March 7 for up to eight weeks, subject to weather.

·         New pedestrian islands built east of the Addison Way junction and the Sunningdale Gardens junction.

All work will take place between 7.30am and 4pm.

Two-way traffic will be maintained during construction.

No diversion route is necessary.

County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, John O’Brien, said: “We are pleased to be building this widened cycleway.

“It will make travel safer for people on bikes and mobility scooters in this part of Bersted.

“The first phase needs to be done before the new relief road opens.

“Then we can concentrate on the second phase away from traffic using the bypass.”

 

John O'Brien represents East Grinstead South and Ashurst Wood

john obrien

 
Apply for Your Child's School Place by Jan 15th
Monday, 04 January 2016 19:48

If your child is due to start school for the first time in September 2016 you must apply for a place before Friday 15 January.

West Sussex County Council is issuing the reminder as the deadline for applications for children starting primary or infant schools fast approaches.

Children born between 1 September 2011 and 31 August 2012 are eligible to start school for the first time in September 2016.

Richard Burrett, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, (Broadfield, Crawley, Conservative) said: “Parents no longer receive a letter from the County Council, so it is vital that they remember to submit their preferences for their child’s school place.”

“It is really important that parents apply for a school place before the deadline, otherwise their chances of getting their preferred school will be greatly reduced.”

Parents can now search online to find out where their catchment school is before filling in a simple online application form here.

Richard added: “Applying online is simple, convenient and saves time, plus you get an instant email acknowledgement that your application has been submitted.

“If you have no access to the internet at home, you can get internet access for two hours, free of charge at West Sussex Libraries or Children and Family Centres.”

Parents whose children are due to move to junior school (into Year 3) should also apply before Friday 15 January.

If parents would like further advice or information they can call 033 301 42903.

r burrett extra-1

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Businesses Can Apply for Grant Funding to Imrove Broadband, Cut Off Date in Jan 15th
Thursday, 31 December 2015 00:00

Businesses in West Sussex are being urged to find out more about a pilot project to improve internet connections.

A total of £225,000 is available for the new West Sussex scheme to support the installation of a superfast connection for groups of businesses not planned for inclusion in either the commercial or publicly-funded rollouts of broadband infrastructure.

Business estates or clusters of businesses in West Sussex have until 15 January 2016 to apply to the new Digital Connectivity Grant Programme which will provide up to 40 per cent of the capital costs of getting connected.

The funding comes from Coast to Capital’s Local Growth Fund under their ‘Growth is Digital’ priority project.

Ron Crank, Chief Executive, Coast to Capital, said: “I am pleased to see the launch of these grant pilots through our Growth Deal funding. It is essential that all our businesses have the best connectivity and access to the fastest and latest digital technologies.”

To be eligible, groups of businesses must not have current access to superfast broadband services nor be included in the planned delivery of the publicly funded roll out by Better Connected, a partnership of West Sussex County Council, BT and BDUK (the government department responsible for broadband delivery).

Rural West Sussex Partnership, South Downs National Park Authority, Gatwick Diamond Initiative and Coastal West Sussex Partnership have developed the programme supported by West Sussex County Council.

Find out more at www.coast2capital.org.uk, or http://bit.ly/1Tuh3op  or email 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 fibreOpticBoradband

 
Billingshurst - Free Drop In Sessions for Business
Wednesday, 23 December 2015 00:00

From budding entrepreneurs to established owners, the West Sussex business community are being invited to a drop-in Business Information Session in Billingshurst.

Staff from West Sussex Libraries’ Business Information Service will be at Billingshurst Library, Mill Lane, RH14 9JZ, between 10am and 4pm on Wednesday 20 January, demonstrating some of the services that West Sussex County Council offers local businesses.

Whether you are thinking of starting a business or looking to expand, they will supply the information you need to help you along your way.  

You’ll be able to find out how the council’s use of specialist databases (some of which are updated daily), printed resources and research systems provides a comprehensive and confidential service covering:
• Business start-up guidance
• Mailing lists
• Company information and reports
• News reports
• Guidance to sources of information
(Some of these services may require a small charge).

The drop-in session is free to attend and for more information, visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/bis or call 0330 222 4744

 
County Councillor meets with Worthing FC to Discuss Crowd Management Issues
Tuesday, 22 December 2015 00:00

Worthing WSCC Member Bryan Turner (Broadwater, Conservative) is helping Worthing Football Club handle growing attendances watching games.

The ‘Rebels’ are flying high in the Isthmian League Division One South, attracting bigger crowds to their Woodside Road ground.

The U-18s 0-3 home defeat to Middlesbrough FC in the FA Youth Cup saw 1,154 fans attend earlier this month.

These numbers are having a knock-on effect with congestion and parking near the ground.

Another high attendance is expected at 12pm on Sunday, December 27 for a charity match.

The County Council is advising the club on a travel plan to cope with home and away fans, directing visitors to more appropriate local parking.

Local residents living near the club are advised to consider kick-off times when going out in their cars.

Bryan said: “We are pleased with the recent success at the football club and welcome the constructive attitude the club has shown towards the needs of local residents.

“It is an unfortunate side effect of success that some issues can arise.

“I would like to reassure members of the public we will do our best to continue to work with the club to minimise any inconvenience.”

BTWSCC

 
A259 Improvements Move Closer
Friday, 11 December 2015 00:00

A major scheme to ease congestion, shorten journey times and boost the local economy along the A259 between Littlehampton and Goring is under starters orders.

West Sussex County Council will shortly submit a business case for dual carriageway along key sections of the A259.

It is being sent to the Coast2Capital Local Enterprise Partnership, which subject to approval will jointly fund the scheme.

The proposed improvements will support new employment space, new jobs and new housing for the Arun district in coming years.

Once built, residents will experience fewer queues and shorter journey times.

Motorists will know with greater certainty how long it will take to get them to get through the A259 each day.

 County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, John O’Brien, said: “This scheme will ease the strain on the A259 today and take the pressure of extra housing and a growing economy tomorrow.

“There will be less congestion, less fumes and less queuing.

“It will shave significant time off people’s journeys, make the road safer and encourage people to travel safely by bike.”

The proposed construction will be split into phases, subject to funding.

 Phase 1:

Fitzalan Link Road roundabout* to Body Shop roundabout:

  • Dual carriageway in both directions.
  • Speed limits stays at 40mph.
  • Alterations to the Body Shop roundabout, including wider approaches and improved road markings.
  • New pedestrian/cycle path built south of the A259, separated from the road.
  • Toucan crossing for cyclists and pedestrians moved from (west of) Body Shop roundabout to (east of) Fitzalan Link Road roundabout.
  • Right turn into Oliver Acre closed.

*Will be built as part of the Lyminster bypass project in 2017.

Station Road roundabout to A280 roundabout:

  • Dual carriageway in both directions.
  • Speed limit stays at 50mph.
  • Alterations to both roundabouts, including wider approaches and improved road markings.
  • New pedestrian/cycle path built south of the A259, separated from the road.
  • Widened toucan crossing, between Station Road roundabout and Roundstone Road, for cyclists and pedestrians.
  • Removal of pedestrian crossing west of Roundstone roundabout.

Estimated cost: £14.8m

Timeframe: Construction predicted to start in late 2017 for 18 months.

Phases 2 & 3:

Bridge Road (Tesco) roundabout:

  • Larger roundabout, including wider approaches and improved road markings.
  • Junction improvements.
  • New pedestrian/cycle path that connects with Arun River Bridge cycle route and the local retail area.

Goring Crossways:

  • New roundabout and road layout.
  • Dual carriageway westbound only.
  • New pedestrian/cycle path built south of the A259, separated from the road.

Cost: Estimated between £4m-£9m.

Timeframe: Not yet known. It will start once local development is in place.

 A six-week public consultation about the proposals and design will take place between January 8 and February 19.

In addition, four drop-in events take place in January for residents to ask questions and comment on the plans:

  • Saturday, January 23 (10am-1pm): Village Memorial Hall, Rustington Parish Council, 34 Woodlands Avenue, Rustington, BN16 3HB.
  • Tuesday, January 26 (10am-1pm): New Millennium Chamber, The Manor House, Littlehampton Town Council, Littlehampton, BN17 5EW.
  • Wednesday, January 27 (1-4pm): Village Memorial Hall, Rustington Parish Council, 34 Woodlands Avenue, Rustington, BN16 3HB.
  • Thursday, January 28 (5-8pm): King Suite, Angmering Village Hall, Station Road, Angmering, BN16 4HL.A259
 
New West Sussex Solar Farm Goes Live
Saturday, 10 October 2015 17:45

The first council-owned solar farm in Sussex has today (Thursday 8 October) started generating clean, low-carbon electricity for the National Grid.

The 5MWp solar farm, which is located on 25 acres of West Sussex County Council land east of Tangmere Airfield near Chichester, will generate enough energy to power 1,500 homes.

From today electricity produced by the solar panels will be sold back into the National Grid, earning £13.8 million over 20 years through the Government’s feed-in-tariff scheme.

The project has cost £5.2 million and will pay for itself in less than ten years.

West Sussex County Council is setting up a power purchase agreement to use some of the electricity to power its corporate buildings, which will reduce the council’s energy bills.

The solar farm is a key part of the council’s commitment to making West Sussex a more sustainable place in which to live and work. It forms part of a wider programme to install solar panels on business premises and social housing to provide low-cost, low-carbon electricity to tenants.

The project has been developed by Your Energy Sussex, the West Sussex-led council partnership working with Carillion to reduce carbon emissions, save money and boost the local economy.

Louise Goldsmith, Leader of West Sussex County Council, said: “I am delighted to see Tangmere solar farm up and running. This is a great example of local authorities taking a lead on innovative, sustainable developments that make economic sense and benefit our residents.

“I’m also delighted to see that Your Energy Sussex and Carillion have used a number of local companies to prepare the site and build the solar farm, which has benefited the local economy.”

Michael Brown, County Council Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “We want to use the income from this type of scheme to fund energy efficiency projects for our residents, particularly those on low and fixed incomes, and help them to stay warm and healthy in their homes.”

Stephen Hodgson, project director at Carillion said: “Successfully completing this first project marks the start of a 20-year programme of work. The build has gone extremely well and we have had excellent support from our main contractors, Solarcentury and Arun Construction.

“Working together we have been able to add a new lease of life to a site with an illustrious wartime past giving it a sustainable peaceful future whilst providing the local community with clean energy.”

The solar farm is on unused council land that is unsuitable for agriculture and has been designed to blend into its natural setting. Your Energy Sussex has worked with the county ecologist throughout the project and a number of improvements have been made to protect trees and hedgerows and help native species to thrive. This has included the installation of bat boxes and animal nesting sites. Sheep will also graze between the solar panels, helping with site maintenance once the solar farm is operational.

Planning permission for the solar farm has been granted for 25 years, after which time the site will be returned to its natural state.

goldsmithbrown

 
The Big Bang Fair – Bringing science and engineering to life for young people
Wednesday, 01 July 2015 00:00
On 30 June the Cabinet Member and Chairman attended
The Big Bang Fair South
East
at the South of England Showground.
The annual
Fair
is part of the
nationwide
Big Bang Programme
led by
EngineeringUK
, which celebrates
achievements in
science, technology, engineer
ing and maths (STEM) for
young
people
in the UK.
The Fair was
organised by
Un
iversity of Brighton
STEMSUS
SEX
and enables young people to discover
STEM
opportunities and careers close to
home.
Since work in the South East began in 2012 there was been an increase
in the number of young people in the region studying STEM subjects to A
-
level.
Approximately 7,
0
00
young people from the South East attended
,
with West
Sussex Schools such as
Oriel High School
(including Young Scientist of the Year
Award), Sackville School and Hurstpierpoint College,
winning awards
.
The
County Council sponsored the award for
Entrepreneu
rialism
, which was won by
Windsor Girls School for ‘Eco
-
friendly classroom’
.
 
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