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.

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