Thursday, 20 December 2012

Changes coming on the home tax front. My January Sussex Local Article

Pound in your pocket

With all the talk of the UK cutting massive amounts off it’s spending, the fact is that the UK has only made cuts of 1.8% off it’s annual budget, compared to 20% for Greece and a whopping 33% for Ireland.  All the talk about cutting too far and too deep is actually just that, talk.  We as a country are still borrowing over £120 billion a year down from £165 billion in 2010.  We were borrowing as a country £21 million an hour in 2010 and that is now down to £14 million an hour, eye watering amounts, and a tragedy for our children and their children. The extent of the financial calamity that we found ourselves in 2008 is only really dawning on our politicians and financial officials. The cuts that were outlined in 2010 are still coming through the pipeline and the UK economy will continue to be squeezed. 

One of those cuts is now upon us; the coalition government is changing council tax benefit by localising it, from now on a proportion of Council tax benefit will be funded from the local tax payer rather than being funded from central government. Local Councils are not being compensated for this so it’s an extra burden to local tax payers.  We as a Council could charge people receiving Council tax benefit a small proportion, but the cost in collecting and recovering that money will be disproportionate to the monies that we will actually receive from the most vulnerable in society, e.g. the proportion of bad debt would be high.  As a result of this Some Councils are withdrawing all discounts and exemptions which would cover a good proportion of the money needed to fund this.

We at Arun have decided for the next year at least to fund the shortfall ourselves through a combination of additional tax raising on the periphery and the use of reserves. The standard rate should be frozen as last year, but Arun has decided to raise additional tax by increasing Council tax for second homes from the current 90% to 100% and by increasing empty home discount from 0% to 50% for up to 6 months.  In addition homes that are uninhabitable will also pay 50% for 6 months instead of the current 0%.  Also any homes empty over a period of 12 months will have to pay 150%.
Not an easy message to convey, but politics is about making difficult decisions and try to take a balanced view between the haves and have not’s, what we really need is economic growth to offset the fiscal drag from the 2008 financial crisis. The chancellor has signalled another 5 years of austerity, which will make it a decade of fiscal consolidation after a decade of excessive borrowing.

Until next month, Have a very happy and peaceful New Year-  email pauldendle@aol.com

Friday, 14 December 2012

Arun Valley Line - My December Sussex local article

Southwest Trains go as far as Horsham
I attended  the Arun Valley Stakeholder meeting at Christ's Hospital last Thursday, the reason is that I am passionately  believe that we should develop the line with important infrastructure,

After the meeting I now understand why the Arundel Chord is taking so long as a project, the current line is not up to sratch on an engineering level and work has to be done before other improvements can come about.

My four rail liked priorities for the residents of Arundel and the surrounding villages are as follows,

1)    Arundel Chord
2)    A New Free Car Park at Ford
3)    Competing franchise to use the Arun Vally Line via Horsham & Dorking to London
4)   Cycleway linking Ford Station with Arundel and the coast cycleway

The Arundel Chord would allow trains to travel from the east and go north up the arun line and also trains to travel south and go east, this would build resiliance and lower our dependency on the Brighton to Victoria line.

A new free car park at Ford Station would take cars off the roads and encourage drivers to take the train to the Gatwick Diamond and beyond.

South West trains currently have the franchise to go from Horsham to London via Dorking, if they extended their trains south to Littlehampton & Bognor they would increase capacity and resiliance to London

Cycleway from Ford Station to Arundel would allow for school children and communiters to safly walk or cycle to and from the station as well as encourgae green tourism..  Many school children walk between Arundel and Ford along a road where drivers are travelling at up to 70mph, the speed limit is 60mph.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

My November Sussex local article

Arundel's Street entertainment

I seem to have put the cat among the pigeons in my article last month, I mentioned the conflicting pressures of the jubilee stage at the Arundel Festival and the fact that one person seemed to be dictating the future of the stage to the detriment of the rest of the community.  I thought I was balanced and by not mentioning the complainer or the building where the complainer lived.   Patricia Warren has written to me asking me to make two corrections to my article, so for the sake of fairness and balance I want to make two things clear.  Firstly I said that 1 week out of 52 weeks was not a great sacrifice, Patricia wants me to point out that the festival is for 11 days.   Also that the stage exceeded the noise limit on multiple occasions.  I am happy to make these corrections, but I still think that the community has to work together to find a fair and equitable solution to noise from the stage, I also know that the majority of residents of Marlet's Court have written expressing their support of the stage and the festival.  I believe a survey could be useful to measure public opinion and I will put one on my web site www.pauldendle.org 

The Leisure Strategy as mentioned in my previous article has been consulted on and is to be discussed by Arun’s Cabinet, there are implications for leisure provision across the District and there are proposals for Arundel as well as Littlehampton and Bognor Regis.  One proposal which is making residents of Littlehampton hot under the collar is the possible closure of the Windmill Theatre and the closure of the Littlehampton Sports and Swimming Centre.   It could result in a new Swimming and Leisure centre being built at a cost of £14.5 million at either the existing site or at the Littlehampton Academy.

The Windmill theatre has a number of challenges to overcome, Inspire Leisure the not for profit charitable trust who runs it, has not invested in digital technology which is needed to show films from December onwards as all distributed films from then onwards will be digital, also the building needs maintenance costs of £180,000 spent on it for the next 5 years.  There are no easy answers, but the status quo on how the theatre is currently run is not an option and there will have to be some innovative solutions to save the theatre. Also in the report are proposals to build a Multiplex Cinema at the St Martin’s car park in the centre of Littlehampton, all exciting stuff, but very unsettling for some residents of Arun.

Arundel Conservatives are holding a Christmas Dinner on the 7th* of December at the Swan in Arundel, the cost is £25 pp for a 2 course meal with a welcome glass of sparkling wine,  you don’t have to be a member and everyone who wants to hear Nick Herbert MP speak is welcome to book.  Please email   Bruceghenderson@gmail.com or telephone 01903 882928.  Alternatively you can email me at Pauldendle@aol.com  putting Xmas dinner in the subject. To keep up to date on Arundel issues please go to my web site www.pauldendle.org

*There was an error in the printed version of Sussex local where it states the 15th of December when in fact it is the 7th

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Paul Dendle calls again for a HGV ban on Ford Road

Lorries locked together last Monday (15/10/12)
I have lobbied West Sussex County Council regarding the HGV ban that was part of my manifesto commitments when I was elected.  I believe that there should be a HGV ban and this should be enforced by placing a motion activated camera placed at the Arundel Fire Station for vehicles over 3 metres.  This would be a simple low cost solution and would give the residents of Ford road relief from the constant noise and danger from HGV's.  I will push this at the Joint Downland meeting on the 22nd of October and ask all concerned residents to ask public questions of the County Councillors and Police at the meeting.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Update on the Arundel Bypass

Nick Herbert, Myself and James Stewart
view the Chaos at Crossbush 
Here is an update on the A27 Arundel  Bypass

"Transport consultants, Parsons Brinkerhoff, are undertaking a study of expected benefits to the economy of having an A27 Arundel bypass [including a survey of businesses] on behalf of Arun District Council, Horsham District Council and the County Council.  Stage 1 is expected to complete in early December and include recommendations about whether further more detailed work should be undertaken. 

In the short term, the County Council, Arun District Council and the Highways Agency are using funding provided by the Coastal West Sussex Partnership to investigate interim solutions for the A27/A284 Crossbush junction to ease congestion and enable future development and economic growth in advance of a major scheme."

I will keep you updated as things progress 

Update on the Lyminster By-Pass

Here is the update from the County Council on the Lyminster By-Pass

"The technical feasibility study, commissioned by the County Council on behalf of Arun District Council, investigated and reported on initial options for the northern section of the bypass from the North of Littlehampton development to the existing A284 north of Lyminster.  The study did not identify any prohibitive or insurmountable constraints on delivery at this early stage.  Further work will be required before the scheme can be delivered including consideration of remedial measures on the existing A284 through Lyminster and the Wick level crossing.  The cost of the northern section of the bypass is £6.3m - including costs for construction, land, design and risk - and a substantial financial contribution is expected from the North of Littlehampton development to assist with delivery.  However, there remains a funding gap of approx £2.3m, officers from the County Council and Arun District Council are currently investigating gap funding opportunities and at present, there is no timetable for delivery of the bypass." 

I will keep you updated, the Lyminster Bypass will be discussed at the presentation of the above at the upcoming Joint Downland Committee on the 22nd of October at the White Swan Hotel, Chichester Road, Arundel.  The public can come and ask questions.

Arundel Parking

The Arundel CPZ  (Car Parking zone) has now got to the design stage, but I am picking up considerable concern from town councillors and community groups to the veracity of the research done and the conclusion drawn by the consultants. 

 I have always said, as far as I am concerned that the parking issue is a matter for the residents of Arundel to decide, and not something that should be imposed.  I personally believe that it should be put to a local referendum to get a full and informed choice by ALL the town. 

There are elections taking place in November and next May, so the cost of any referendum could be mitigated,

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Lets preserve Arundel uniqueness, my Sussex Local Report for October

Barber, Taylor & Reed play acoustic Americana

The Arundel Festival this year was a triumph for the town and confirmed Arundel as a vibrant cultural centre with a very distinct style. Thanks should go to all that were involved in making the Festival a success, but special praise should go to Ash and Andrew who worked tirelessly to make the Festival the “best ever” and also to the Duke, the Town Council and all the voluntary groups.
The Festival was an important boost to our local business’s who needed some good news after the April closure of the A27, the bad weather and the weak economic outlook.
But as with everything there are tensions between some people who see the festival as an asset and those who would prefer it to be a quieter affair.  The problem with legislation at the moment is that there just has to be one complaint and the District Council is duty bound to investigate and prosecute if an offence has taken place.  Arun can insist on noise management plans to control and mitigate the noise nuisance and this year the organisers worked hard at doing this.  The stage at Jubilee gardens was turned around and the bar area was re-worked which I thought was a great improvement, also the music finished at 10pm.
But bottom line, if noise exceeds certain levels then Arun has to act, and this I find difficult as an elected Councillor and also Cabinet member for Environmental Health to balance local interests. What we need is dialogue and discussion between residents to agree what is acceptable, if everyone can sign up to a plan then harmony can rule. Arundel has had the festival now for more than 30 years, so it’s not a new thing, and anyone who moves to our beautiful town has to understand that this is what we are about, don’t come and live here and try and change it if that causes you a problem. In my opinion One week out of fifty two is not a great sacrifice and it’s very easy to stop something and very hard to build something like the Festival which a unique asset to our area.
Arun has redeveloped a Leisure Strategy report and we are putting this out for consultation from the 17th of September (www.arun.gov.uk/leisurestrategy).  It has a lot to say about Arundel, it is a report putting forward ideas that the District Council wants to develop with the local community.  Ideas like changing the street scene, developing more of a cafe society with al fresco dining and looking to make Tarrant Street a more pedestrian friendly area.  Also looking to build a gym facility at the lido and developing an Arts Centre.  This is all blue sky thinking and we are asking you for your thoughts and comments.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Should Politicians tell the truth? (My monthly article in Sussex Local magazine)

porky pies

I always have had heated political discussions with friends in the Pub, the banter normally follows as they say to me “typical politician, can’t tell the truth or answer a question” I love the cut and thrust of these discussions, but there is maybe a serious issue to air, should Politicians tell the truth?

Well sometimes people don’t want the truth, they would prefer to be in blissful ignorance and blame the fact that they have been left in the dark by a politician.

So if we face this issue head on, then how do we deal with thorny problems like say travellers, before I start a few hares racing, I have no agenda on travellers.  But there is an issue that every summer we have travellers descending on West Sussex and the Police and Local Authorities have to contain this problem.  How can we do this in the best in the interests of the electorate?

When it comes to fighting Travellers sites, I am as reactionary as others.  When a site was considered for the old petrol station along the old A27 in Crossbush, I fought tooth and nail not to have that site designated as an official long term pitch. I used the pre-text of the distance from shops, schools and the noise from the A27 By-pass adjacent the site, I successfully defended my ward, but was I ducking a thorny decision or just representing my residents?

But this comes to the rub of the problem, The Police need transit sites to manage this issue and to house travellers temporarily for up to 72 hours until they can move them on outside the District, but where would residents want these sites? the chorus I am sure is not anywhere near me.

If we had transit sites I personally would favour very remote rural areas which are fenced and could contain travellers, but I am sure that last line will generate many emails of complaint, but we have a problem and we need to deal with it, how we best deal with it?  Not a problem that will be easily solved in the near future I think.

I think communication is the key to eventually solving problems, continually communicating and building up trust, but politics took a really bad turn back in the 1990’s when Bill Clinton and the US Democrats developed Focus groups, where as Politicians started not to lead Public Opinion, but started to follow it.  I believe Politicians have to stand up for what they believe in and try to take the population with them.  I hope I can always be honest with you, but everyone has to realistic in what we as mere local politician can deliver.

Until next month, please keep updated via my web site www.pauldendle.org  email Pauldendle@aol.com  

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Nuisance parking at the end of Burpham Road

Cars parked causing a hazard
Nuisance parking at the end of Burpham Road at the juntion of the A27 is causing a hazard to passing traffic and could result in an accident soon.  Cars are parking due to the economic situation, many people have decided to stop parking at Arundel railway station and parking at the end of Burpham road to save money.  This has started to cause a nuisance and is proving dangerous for cars trying to exit the junction.   I have been working closely with  West Sussex County Council and landowners at finding solutions to stop the parking and move cars back to the Station car park.  WSCC Highways have put forward a TRO  (Traffic Regulation order) to paint double yellow lines for a few hundred metres from the junction back towards Warningcamp.  One possible alternative being looked at is the placing of logs on the verge to dissuade cars and allow the free passage of traffic, I will keep you updated as and when I hear more.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Paul Dendle as Cabinet member involved in Olympic Tourist Campaign for the District

Paul on Westminster Bridge with one of the Cabs
One of the first people to ride around London in a specially-branded Sussex by the Sea taxi has been seeing how easy it is for passengers to plan their trips to Arundel, Bognor Regis, Littlehampton and surrounding areas.
Arun District Council’s Sussex by the Sea tourism brand is being promoted both inside and outside some of the capital’s iconic black cabs for one month to target London residents and visitors during the 2012 Olympic Games.
Arun’s Cabinet Member for Environmental Services Councillor Paul Dendle(pictured), who is responsible for Tourism Activity, travelled in a Sussex by the Sea taxi on Tuesday (24 July), and saw how passengers can quickly access tourist information about Arun by scanning QR codes on the back of ‘tip-up seats’.
The codes direct smartphone users to different sections of the Council’s tourism website www.sussexbythesea.com so they can find out more about the area’s award winning beaches, stunning rolling countryside, history and heritage and unique landmarks and events.
Cllr Dendle, like the thousands of people who travel around London by taxi each week, was also able to ask his driver for a 2012 Sussex by the Sea Pocket Visitor Guide containing maps, local accommodation listings and ideas for things to do.
He said: “It’s an important year for tourism across the UK, because there are so many extra people in London for the 2012 Games. By making it as easy as possible for potential visitors to plan their trips to Sussex by the Sea, I hope that we’ll stand out from the crowd and encourage even more people holiday here.”
Inside a Sussex by the Sea taxiSince the Council changed the format of its Sussex by the Sea Visitor Guide from a glossy A4 brochure to a handy pocket size, it has been more successful than ever. The new format meant the Council was able to double the print run of the guides to nearly 50,000 this year, and more than three quarters have already been snapped up by potential visitors.
The guides displayed in the Sussex by the Sea taxis are also proving popular, with passengers able to take one away with them or read one as they ride.
To find out more about Sussex by the Sea, you can also visit:
Pictures: Cllr Dendle with a Sussex by the Sea taxi outside the Houses of Parliament and the inside of a Sussex by the Sea taxi.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Lyminster Community meeting about the proposed Lyminster By-Pass

Point on existing road where Option 1 would be

I attended a meeting at St Mary Magdalene Church in Lyminster on Tuesday night, Simon Meecham a senior planning officer at Arun also attended and explained the new proposed local plan and the route of the proposed Lyminster By-Pass.  There were some challenging questions, the biggest issues were

A284 Interchange either option 1 or option 2
The Lyminster Rail Crossing and it's future
Speed Limit
The Crossbush Junction
The existing road from the new Interchange and the Crossbush Roundabout

Consultation has now started on the local plan and the part of this is the Lyminster By-Pass can be accessed via the Arun web site the link is http://www.arun.gov.uk/main.cfm?type=LOCALPLAN2

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

My August Sussex Local article - Localism and the Arundel Neighbourhood Plan

A new home in Littlehampton

Localism and the Arundel Neighbourhood Plan, what sort of town do you want, how do you want Arundel to develop? The Coalition government is advanced in its plans to delegate powers to Arun District Council and Arundel Town Council.

The Town Council has been given a £20,000 grant by the government and is busy preparing a Neighbourhood plan and is consulting on what should go into this plan and what matters to the town. 
 This document will be important for the future development of Arundel and the powers it gives the town council to decide what should happen.  Your views are important and you should all have your say in what you want for Arundel.

Other Parishes are doing much the same; in fact 18 parishes in Arun have started Neighbourhood plans which are one of the highest numbers in the country.
The District is close to completing is Local Plan (LDF) and is committed to building 400* houses a year for the next 15 years, most of these houses will either be in Bersted (North Bognor Regis) or be to the north of Littlehampton which is close to Lyminster, and some of this development will pay for the Lyminster By-Pass.

The plans for the Lyminster by-pass can be seen on my new web site www.pauldendle.org, this will link to a road bridge over the railway and a new link road into the centre of Littlehampton (coming out by the roundabout at the Police Station).
All change is unsettling, but one change we need for the economic vitality of the District is the Arundel By-Pass, as confirmed in earlier columns, Arun, West Sussex and Horsham Councils are funding a report for the economic argument for the by-pass, once this is completed, this will be the tool to argue the economic case for the By-Pass.

  I am working behind the scenes to ensure we do not get development that will be damaging to the town and I will fight to maintain its special character and push for positive change.  Until next month, please keep updated via my web site www.pauldendle.org  email Pauldendle@aol.com 

*In the consultation document we have the 400 houses that we agreed at Council but we also have to show another option of 565 as detailed in the SE Plan as that hasn't been revoked yet.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Lyminster Bypass

A284 Junction Option one 
Last night at the Joint Downland meeting there were several questions from worried Lyminster residents regarding the proposed Lyminster By Pass. I had attended a seminar in May regarding the By-pass,  this will start just south of the Crossbush interchange along the A284 and runs directly into the link road which cuts through the new North Littlehampton development and goes over the Railway via a new bridge which goes to the centre of Littlehampton coming out by the Police Station. 

 The link road has already been started from the Littlehampton end.  Monies have been identified for the section north of the new housing and plans have been drawn up which you can see below. 

The proposed route
Last night at the meeting there were concerns that this bypass would increase movements through the old village, I think this is a misunderstanding as the traffic will be routed away from the old village, and if anything it will make Lyminster  once again a rural idyll.  But option two would  go south of  some of the existing houses which would cause a split.   I am happy to make representations on behalf of the village and come along with Karl Roberts (Asst Director & Head of Planning) to any residents meetings that are arranged.
A284 Junction Option 2

Thursday, 5 July 2012

My Sussex Local Monthly Article - CPZ (Car Parking zone)

West Sussex Council  (WSCC) are currently consulting on a car parking zone for Arundel,   What is a car parking zone and why have many of you not received a questionnaire?.

Civil Parking enforcement was taken over  from Sussex Police two years ago by WSCC and because Arun District Council had the responsibility of the off street car parks, WSCC asked Arun to manage the new on street responsibilities.  So this is why you see Arun staff policing the on street parking enforcement,  but the ultimately the responsibility for this function is West Sussex County Council’s.

When CPE came in there were already car parking restrictions in place although in reality in Arundel they have been dormant for 10 years because Sussex Police had withdrawn car parking wardens

In Consultation with Arun two years ago it was decided that the old restrictions would be enforced with a few tweaks and this is the system that is now in place.  It was decided also that the three main towns of the District Littlehampton, Bognor Regis and Arundel  should be considered for a  CPZ (Car Parking zone) but only if local residents wanted it and the restrictions should be decided by residents and Business’s affected.

WSCC proposed that the old town east of the river should be the CPZ, they consulted myself and I asked that the area off Ford road should be included as well and that a number of civic and community groups that should be included,   The questionnaires were then issued to all residents and business’s in the proposed area of the CPZ.

In the town meeting on the 01st of May several residents thought that the questionnaire was slanted in favour of residents parking scheme, also town councillors thought that the entire town should have been consulted and not just the residents within the zone. 

I can assure all residents that this is purely a consultation exercise by West Sussex Council, there is no pre-determination on any options, but as one of your District Councillor’s I will act as your advocate and try and reflect all your views.

The Consultation may recommend that the current status quo is maintained,   but the important thing is that those who have received the questionnaire should fill it in and return it to the address provided.   Until next month I wish you an enjoyable Jubilee celebration -   www.pauldendle.com

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Green Electricity and a good financial deal

Photo Voltaic solar panels that were installed on the roof of are now providing 50Kw of green electricity on the Civic Centre.  The Council invested £110k and expects to get a 6 year payback on the investment. This is something I helped instigate when I was Cabinet Member for Central Services and I fully support this type of initiative because its green and makes financial sense. The Council is receiving a subsidy from Central government which is linked to RPI and also based on current electricity costs.  It is highly likely that electricity will double in the next 10 years.  Currently Arun has reserves of about £9 million which in the current environment is only receiving an interest return of about 2.5%, with this investment the council will receive a return of about 18% or more, it’s a very good deal for local tax payers and a good example of green leadership.  I hope we can install panels on Social Housing as well.

Building work on the new Museum starts

The work on the new Arundel Museum building and public toilets has started after the delays caused by archaeological digging and the finding of a 17th century Calvert.  The Mill road toilets were due to close next March (2013) , but this has been delayed to allow for the the new building to be completed

The Angmering Park estate and the Arundel estate have been very supportive and have kindly donated the land. Arun has given a grant of £300k  towards the new building on the site of St Nicholas Hall which was recently demolished;  In addition another £85k was provided towards the provision of new toilets to replace the existing ones in Mill Road.  
New Museum Building from the side
The Trustee's of the Arundel Museum fund raised the balance of funds and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) gave a grant of £888k towards the building allowing for the project to start in  2012 and finish some time in the first half of 2013.   This is something I have steadfastly been supporting for the last 7 years and I am fully behind all the Trustee's in all their efforts

Support an Offline Bypass

Support an Offline Bypass
Arundel desperately needs an offline bypass

Arundel video

Should Councillors be more active on Social Media

Your Council

Your Council
Arun District Councillors first meeting after election

Need a hotel

Option A Pink blue route for Arundel By-Pass

Option A Pink blue route for Arundel By-Pass