This election happened on the 2nd May, and elected the whole of the membership of
West Sussex County Council (WSCC). The Council is based at County Hall in Chichester
and, as its name suggests, covers the whole of West Sussex.
WSCC has a different set of responsibilities from Arun District Council, these being
broadly: highways and transport (except major trunk routes such as the A27 and A24),
education, fire and rescue, social care including the elderly and children, libraries
and certain planning matters. You can find more detail on this on their website
at www.westsussex.gov.uk. WSCC now has another major responsibility, which is to
oversee and facilitate all the work necessary by themselves and other agencies to
relieve and prevent flooding.
So you will understand from this that if you have a complaint about anything to do
with the roads or pavements, or you are concerned about flood risk to your property,
your County Councillor is the person you need to see. Similarly, anything to do with
your children’s school or care of your elderly relative will be his/her domain, so
it is important that you choose the right person when you vote.
We are not going to list all the candidates for the County as we are only concerned
with Bognor Regis and the surrounding area. This area is divided up into 7 ‘wards,’
each returning one Councillor. Unfortunately we can’t show you the precise boundaries
of each ward; even WSCC doesn’t do that on its website, although it does show a vague
indication. However, the names give a fairly good indication. The wards and the
candidates standing for election in each are as follows, with the number of votes
they polled and the winner underlined:
NYETIMBER AND PAGHAM
Mike Coleman (Conservative). Victoria House, West Ashling Road, Hambrook. 1058
Tony Sutcliffe (UKIP). 36 Alleyne Way, Elmer Sands. 1503
Greg Burt (Liberal-Democrat). 26 Albert Terrace, High Street, Bognor Regis. 203
Graham Draper (UKIP). Little Orchard, 60 Downview Road, Bartnham. 907
Steve White (Liberal-Democrat). 28 Farnhurst Road, Barnham. 338
John Mayes (Labour). 33 Osborne Way, Bognor Regis. 177
John Robinson (BNP). 6 Goodacres, Barnham. 57
NOTE: The candidates in purple were the only ones who attended a special CiViC pre-election
public meeting to meet and discuss their policies with members and the public, although
all were invited. They all gave their commitment to press for the furtherance of
the issues mentioned below. The remainder were asked in writing for their similar
commitment, and those who gave it are coloured blue.
You can now see from the above who your County Councillor was for the next four years,
together with his/her address so that you can get in touch if you wish to.
The major issue for everybody in the Bognor Regis area is Flooding. There was major
flooding in June 2012 which cut off the town for a period and devastated hundreds
of homes. The water table remains ominously high, and whenever it rains hard some
areas flood again and large bodies of water spread across fields and roads. WSCC
is responsible for prevention of a repeat of this, and so far has done little except
produce reports and clear a few ditches.
This not only remains a threat to those whose homes were flooded before, but every
house and business occupier in the area has or will suffer increase in insurance
premiums and excesses or possibly refused flood cover until the problem is solved.
It is widely accepted that a major contributory factor to this flooding has been
the increase in housebuilding to the north of the town, causing faster surface water
run-off, overloading the older drainage systems to the south – which were already
only barely coping. It is not accepted that the developers’ ‘balancing ponds’ and
‘sustainable urban drainage systems’ will make any significant difference to this.
In fact, in some circumstances these can make the problem worse.
To make matters worse still, there are proposals for further massive housebuilding
in the Westergate and Barnham area, also in the Shopwyke and Tangmere areas which
will drain surface water towards Bognor Regis.
Because of all this CiViC is calling for an immediate pause in all housebuilding
until the flooding problems have been solved to the satisfaction of the insurance
industry – meaning that premiums are no longer loaded, excesses return to normal
and flood cover is not refused. This must be pursued at County, District and Government
The candidates in purple above, who attended a CiViC organised pre-election public
meeting, all agreed to press for this if they are elected. CiViC wrote to the remainder,
and those who agreed are coloured blue.
Road damage and congestion is another issue of major concern. Roads in various parts
of the area are badly damaged with a great many potholes, broken surfaces, cracks
and minor subsidence. WSCC is working on repairs, but these are progressing slowly
and if previous years are any guide the repairs will not be completed before winter
weather returns to create further damage. There must be a greater sense of urgency
to all this, otherwise we will continue with a never ending cycle of increasing road
damage and failed repairs, bringing a third world ambience to the whole district.
In addition, the white and yellow road markings in the town are faded and scruffy,
which is inappropriate when regeneration is supposed to be taking place.
Congestion regularly occurs, with slow moving traffic and jams, notably at the A259/A27
junction at Chichester, the Royal Oak (the Pink Pub) at North Bersted and the Hotham
Park and Butlins roundabouts. The Relief Road has made some difference to this,
but has made the A259 a lot worse from Flansham to Littlehampton because of increased
through traffic from Chichester. Nothing is being done to solve these problems at
present, even though proposals have been made for solutions. In addition, nothing
is being done to solve the dangerous junction at Comet Corner in Middleton-on-Sea.
The candidates in purple above all agreed to press for the above matters to be dealt
with promptly if they are elected and, as above, we asked the remainder if they will
also commit to this. Those who committed to this as well are coloured blue. Home