LIFE JAN 2015 - Vote of ‘No Confidence’ in Wealden District Council
Last night’s packed Town Meeting called to discuss the threat to Crowborough and the Community Centre if the Pine Grove offices were sold for residential development, concluded with a vote of no confidence in
It is estimated over 400 people turned-out in the wind and rain to hear about what was being proposed for the Pine Grove site and understand what threat this might pose to the library, town centre parking and the economic viability of the Community Centre. Residents queued at the entrance of the Community Centre, as town council staff checked names against the electoral register, before issuing a slip of red paper for the voting. The meeting was late starting, as extra chairs were set-out and last people to arrive directed to overflow rooms to follow proceedings from the main hall on a relay.
The meeting, chaired by Crowborough’s Mayor Cllr Ron Reed, was called by ten electors using powers in the Local
Government Act 1972. Clive Wilson, one of the Directors of the Crowborough Community Association, explained the layout of the Pine Grove site and the nearby Hookstead Centre in Goldsmiths Avenue. Using a series of projected maps, he described who owned the land, buildings and the town centre car parks. He also explained the history of
Wealden District Council vacating the building and the change of use of the Hookstead Centre from respite and day care to now being the location of the Crowborough Registry Office.
During the meeting four resolutions were carried without opposition, before at the conclusion of the meeting a final vote of ‘no confidence’ was taken.
THE FOUR RESOLUTIONS
The proposers were Roger Bishop from the Crowborough Community Association, Ade Morris from the Crowborough Players, Hugh Fenton, a business consultant and Peter Ellefsen, chairman of the Western Road Residents’ Association.
Nobody from Wealden District Council was present at the meeting to formerly defend their position. Although today the following statement was issued by Leader of the Council, Councillor Bob Standley:
We strongly refute the claim at Monday night’s Crowborough Town meeting that Wealden District Council has
misused the planning system to further its own financial interests.
Since 2011, Wealden District Council has been working to provide a community solution for the office site. When it was clear that there was no support among public sector organisations for a Civic Community Hub, we encouraged the Crowborough Community Association’s bid to use the site for a rural business hub. The CCA has been unable to raise the funds for the project within the allowed time period. The Pine Grove site is designated for mixed use in Wealden Local Plan Core Strategy and the options are in keeping with local and national planning policy. The proposal to provide extra care facilities to the town’s more vulnerable residents will also provide long term employment and is in the community’s interest.
Our own financial interest continues to be those of all the council tax payers of the District.
Tonight, Crowborough Town Council will discuss the way forward after yesterday’s meeting, as well as considering a recommendation they should buy the freehold of the Pine Grove. Let’s hope hundreds of people don’t turn-out tonight, as the Town Hall can only cope with a few dozen.
LIFE 9 JANUARY 2018
The Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner has said today that she will be asking for a £12 rise in the Council Tax (precept) for a typical household – this is the maximum now allowed by the Home Secretary.
Katy Bourne will be asking the Police and Crime Panel on 19th January to support her budget proposals, which she has said will help the force protect 480 police officer and staff posts:
I have been lobbying hard to secure the best possible funding arrangements for policing. As you may have seen, the Government have agreed to provide the same level of funding to local forces as last year, as well as providing more for counter-terrorism and national policing priorities.
Sussex Police was facing a £26.5m funding gap which meant that around 480 posts would ultimately be lost by 2022 and that was despite the release of £17m from reserves that Mrs Bourne approved in September last year.
As part of the policing grant announcement, the Government made it clear that an increasing proportion of policing costs will have to be met by local council taxpayers, and so they have allowed PCCs to raise the amount you pay through the police precept above the previous limit per household.
I have, therefore, decided to raise the precept by £12 per year for an average band D property. Combined with the £17m I have already authorised from our reserves, this substantially reduces the previously planned savings requirements up to 2022.
Over the last two months the Police and Crime Commissioner has been asking the public whether they were prepared to pay more for policing. In her announcement today Katy Bourne said, “my consultations and correspondence with the public show that a majority of Sussex residents are prepared to support their police service through increased precept contributions.”
The other points she cited in a suite of key considerations driving this decision are:
There has been an exponential rise in public demand on police services.
Criminal investigations are becoming increasingly complicated, with huge amounts of digital material to identify, secure and analyse; and the threshold for prosecution is very exacting.
The public want to see investment in more visible, local policing, focusing on crimes like burglary and anti-social behaviour and they rightly want to feel safe on the roads, in public spaces and at night-time.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary have recently acknowledged the public’s concerns about changes to neighbourhood policing, and stressed the importance of community intelligence.
This is not a decision that I have taken lightly, but I believe it is the right one to sustain the local policing which is so important to all our communities.
I will, therefore, be asking the Police and Crime Panel to consider the national and local factors informing my recommendation, and I will be looking for their support to protect 480 police officers and staff posts.
The Police and Crime Commissioner is accountable to the electorate for how crime is tackled in their area. However the Police and Crime Panel provide “checks and balances” in relation to the performance of the Commissioner. One of their powers is the ability to veto the Commissioner’s proposed precept by a two-thirds majority. The Panel is made up of Councillors from 15 local authorities within the region, plus 2 independent members. Committee papers for the Panel meeting on 19th January will be made public tomorrow.
CROWBOROUGH LIFE 12 FEBRUARY 2015 - Pine Grove can be converted into an Enterprise Hub.
This morning (Thursday 12th February) Wealden’s Planning Committee unanimously approved Crowborough Community Association’s application for change of use, enabling Pine Grove to be converted into an Enterprise Centre.
Life provides news and community information for the town and the surrounding
area, supported through advertising income from local businesses.
If something is happening (right now) in the Crowborough area that you would like to alert us to, the best way to get in touch is to either call or text 07714 765258.
Take a photo for the press if this would help them to tell the story.
Using the mobile number is highly recommended. Messaging via social media can be a little hit and miss as to how quickly it is spotted.
If something is less time sensitive, please email Stephan@CrowboroughLife.com.
A to Z directory, please click on the links below to find your favourite
news or to contact the media to tell your story:
HOUSING | CLIMATE
| DEVELOPERS | CIRCULAR
| FLOOD | HOUSING
HOMELESS | LADDER
| PROPERTY | FINANCIAL
| SLUMS | TAXES
| VALUATIONS | WEALTHY
- Z INDEX
WE ACCEPT NO RESPONSIBILITY
FOR THE ACCURACY OF ANY FEATURED LINKS