Thursday, 17 May 2018

One more step along the road

You might think the only momentous date this week is Harry and Megan's nuptials, but last Friday and this Friday are just as momentous here in West Sussex.

Four years ago we in West Sussex launched the A27 Action campaign together with local MPs Nick Herbert, Peter Bottomley, Tim Loughton, and Andrew Tyrie making the case for investment in the A27.

As ever we worked with our communities who helped in many ways with the campaign. It has, excuse the pun, been quite a journey, but on Friday Highways England announced the preferred route for Arundel which is a major, major step forward. Of course not everyone is pleased but overall this route has been met with a good reception and is supported by the MP, Arun District Council, WSCC and Arundel Town Council – so a united approach and we will continue to work together to take the scheme onto the next phase. At present more work is ongoing on Worthing and Lancing.

As you may know when it comes to Chichester we have the community lead Build a Better A27 Group who have for the last 14 months been working on finding a solution for the Chichester A27.

I have been inspired by the dedication and commitment of the attendees who have given up their evenings, in rain and shine, to work through the issues to find ideas and solutions all based on some agreed guiding principles.

We've had some challenging conversations but at the centre through all of this has been the desire of communities to have their say and make the voice of their community known. We all care passionately about where we live and work. I have been really inspired by the commitment  and dedication of our community. I would really like to see this as the model for consultations on highways schemes and other projects in the future.

When we started this process there were really strong views on every side but those with those strongly held views have sat together, talked it through and listened. I would like to thank them all for taking the time to do that because it has been that support that has kept us together and inspired us all.

What an amazing, collaborative effort.  I am so proud of the journey we have all been on.

We now have two options on the table - and of course people will have strong views on that.

However the most important point is for the majority to get behind a scheme to give confidence to HE and the Minister that the route is deliverable – so it has a good chance in the next round of road investment funding; RIS2.
Yes we know the funding for RIS2 is tight but we also know this road needs improvement because of capacity, air quality, congestion and safety – that is a long list but here in West Sussex we believe it's worth getting it right.

Best wishes,

Thursday, 10 May 2018

What matters to you is what matters to us

It has been a year since the County Council elections and the year has flown by. One of the areas we have really focused on is preparing our West Sussex Plan.

This plan is the blueprint for how spend tax payers money and clearly sets out our ambitions and what we want to achieve.

It is by really concentrating on the outcomes we want to achieve for West Sussex that we can make sure we deliver for residents by providing innovative and effective services within the budget constraints we all work in.

So in February we set our budget for this year but we immediately start work on the next one and that’s where you come in.

To help us with our deliberations every two years we ask you for your thoughts through our survey ‘What Matters to You?’ This survey is there for you to tell us what you think of our plans and priorities and how we should shape them going forward. No area of local government, or the public sector in general, is immune from budget constraints and the shrinking in funding we are seeing from central government. As such we have some difficult decisions to make about we support all our residents going forward.

The results of the survey are always illuminating and are central to the budget discussions and planning for the coming years.

In the last survey we had a good response and I have to admit there were some surprises – for the first time you told us you were concerned about being safe in your communities. This helped us shape the work we do in our communities.

You can find the survey on line here or on paper copies available throughout the county including at our libraries.

Once again we will be holding a session where you can Ask the Leader’. This takes place on Tuesday 22 May at 2pm and is your chance to grill me!

You can ask anything about why we have set the priorities we have or what our plans are for the future.

The Council Tax does take a chunk out of your pocket so I am really conscious that we need to hear your views on how you want your money spent.

West Sussex is your county, we are here to make sure we protect and support it in the best way we can so make sure you have your say on What Matters to You.