Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Progress on Cleansing and Leisure

Recycling centre.
Season greetings to everyone, I am writing this report at the beginning of December, but I thought I would give you some updates on issues.

Arun has re-let it’s cleansing contract with at least savings of £250,000 pa, (Stop press Just heard the savings will be about £375k)  it’s been let on virtually the same basis as the previous contract for 3 years from january 2017 with an option of an extension of 3 years, eg weekly refuse and fortnightly recycling, The winning bidder is Biffa, the previous supplier,  so I see it as a win win for the tax payer, Arun and I am very pleased as portfolio holder to have helped in achieving this for all residents of the district.

Flyover of the proposed centre. A Planning application has gone in for the new Littlehampton Leisure Centre which will have 

• 80-85 station gym (circa 450 sqm)
• 1 dance studio (50 capacity and divisible into 2 spaces) • 1 spinning studio (25 capacity)
• 8-lane 25-metre pool (fully accessible)
• Learner pool (moveable floor and fully accessible)
• CafĂ© (30 capacity)
• Multi-purpose/meeting room
• 4 court sports hall

The Planning application will be heard on the 4th of January 2017

It will cost £15.3M, but is being paid for by savings from the new Leisure contract (with Freedom Leisure) of £1.15M which will increase to £1.35M once the new centre is built.  Arun will invest £8M of it’s own money and borrow the balance from the Public Loans Board which can give very low interest rates of less than 2.5%.

One stipulation that i have insisted on is to build the new centre before we close the old, so we have a seamless service provision

The increased efficiencies of a new centre with the low interest rates makes a very good business case to build the centre and underpins arun’s reputation in investing in Leisure as a way of champion quality of life issues.

On another leisure issue, I have helped to get a grant of £25,000 from the Joint Downland Area Committee towards the Arundel lido LEAP project (Provision of new changing facilities and a gym), it’s only a first step to providing the overall project, but something that again will improve leisure prosion in the town and surrounding villages.  Until next month,

Paul Dendle is Arundel & Walberton and Cabinet Member for leisure & Aemities on Arun District Council. Email cllr.paul.dendle@arun.gov.uk. Website: www.pauldendle.org

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

JDAC Grant obtained for Arundel Lido

Arundel Lido.
Arundel Lido have the LEAP project to build a gym and new changing rooms, initially to design and get planning permission and prepare the project for construction they need to raise £100k.

I suggested that they apply to the Joint Downland Area Committee which has a fund from Aruns New Homes bonus, I also suggested that they apply for £25k as the fund was coming to an end  and there was funds still available until April. Also I was a member of the committee along with Michael Tu. and we could help inform the committee and advance the project.

After a bit of pushing acting as a champion for the project I can now report that the Lido have been successful in being granted £25,000 from JDAC.   There is a proposal at Arundel Town Council  to give an Additional £25,000 which will be decided at the next Full Council and the Trust have £25,000 of their own money.   There is also a grant going to the lottery fund for the last £25k.

So it looks like the Lido can move forward to the first stage and then the big job of raising £1.7M  to finish the project can begin

Monday, 21 November 2016

Aruns Housing Need

Arun is setting up it’s own Housing company to commercially develop housing for profit to feed these profits back to help subsidise services.  I was on the Cabinet working party helping to shape the strategy and the opportunities.

Modern UK Prefabricated Housing. 
I want to look to build shared ownership property where Aruns young people on modest wages can afford to buy 25% of their own property whilst they rent the balance.  Government can borrow money at the lowest rates in history, this can be fed through the Public Loans Board to help provide finance to these types of developments.  It’s in effect Social(Council)  housing for the 21st century.  The rental element is affordable and the fact that they borrow a lower amount they can have a lower deposit, so someone on £20,000pa can build up a deposit of £4000, borrow £45000 and rent the balance. For a one bedroom flat it brings property ownership for about £700 per month and they can own and can build up over time more and more equity as their wages improve, I believe this is a golden opportunity to solve the housing crisis in our area.

It’s now clear that Arun will have to accept a target of building about 1000 houses a year which will be a difficult sell to local communities who do not want these numbers.  The problem is that the UK needs to build 250,000 per annum which everyone seems to agree to, but they don’t want them in their locality, which leaves a difficult political conundrum.

I believe that local communities would accept additional housing if they knew that it was for the sons and daughters of Arun, rather than sucking in new residents from more expensive places like London, incomers tend to want more expensive larger houses which creates a local housing inflation, if we can balance this type of housebuilding with more shared ownership then I believe it’s an easier sell, also shared ownership by it’s nature is of a higher density and takes a smaller land foot print.

But also local communities want infrastructure to accompany any new house building, I know that roughly when you read this article that a new white paper is being issued by Gavin Barwell the very able Minister for Housing, it will be uncomfortable reading as I think he will promote a speeding up of development and also new towns, there is one planned for near Partridge Green, close to the M23 ( it’s name Merryfields), but also Ford are looking at a development of up to 1500 houses which in effect will be a new village, challenging times!

Until next month

Paul Dendle is Arundel & Walberton and Cabinet member on arun District Council, email address is cllr.paul.dendle@arun.gov.uk web www.pauldendle.org

Tuesday, 25 October 2016


Most people want an Arundel bypass.

I seem to have ruffled a few feathers in my September report regarding the coming proposed by-pass, I have been accused of “errors, mis-truths, and personal slurs” but I see this as a campaign to discredit the messenger rather than deal with the issues with a straight bat, many of the assertions of the Anti bypass protesters have been half truths rather than whole truths and all I want is have an open debate without spin. I stand by what I have said, I repeat that unlike the protesters I believe I have a mandate from the electorate in my 2015 re-election. I also believe that there is a solid majority of somewhere between 65-75% in favour of a Pink Blue route. The consultation will start in March and I hope everyone with a view will make their views known, A Pro-Bypass group will start soon so hopefully we can have a balanced debate.

As one of my Leisure & Amenities Cabinet portfolio responsibilities I have been been busy trying to consolidate the number of Public toilets in Arun and bring them up to a much higher standard, It has been pointed out that as a Tourist town we should have public conveniences, which I fully agree with, but we have the new toilets at the side of the Museum which I helped get the funding to underpin the Museum project. Most tourists use these toilets but we also have Crown yard and this is one of those toilets that is under threat, I do not want for Crown Yard to close, I want to see it restructured into a dual use facility with a commercial element, the question is who takes responsibility for it, I was hoping the Town Council might take on that role, but after discussions I don’t think there is much appetite for that, so could a local business take on that role at a peppercorn rent and invest a capital sum in converting the toilets, running them and using the remaining space as a business opportunity? We are working to save £150,000pa from the annual budget but also investing £600,000 in the next three years as a capital sum in the remaining toilets to bring them up from a dismal 32% user satisfaction. The key is we are listening to feedback and will reflect on this before we make final decisions

Until Next Month

Monday, 26 September 2016

Arun needs the Tourist pound

Arundels Tourist pound matters.
Arundel Town Mayor (James Stewart) called a meeting recently of key stakeholders to discuss a strategy to underpin the town's economic activity and discuss various initiatives. It was well attended and there will be a working group formed under the leadership of the Mayor to take things forward, James has to be congratulated on this initiative.

Like it or not Arundel’s economy is built on Tourism, with the recent referendum and resulting reduction in the pound against the dollar and Euro this has created more inbound tourism and you may have noticed the number of foreign registration numbers around town.

There are concerns regarding the lack of key retail shops in Arundel, but with the advent of Internet shopping and the change of the nation's shopping habits makes it impossible for some types of business to make a go of it particularly with high Business rates which you may not be aware of go to central government and not the local authorities that collect the tax.  Arundels population is just too small to support some businesses especially with the plethora of Supermarkets in and around Littlehampton with Aldi about to arrive. Tourism is driving the restaurant trade, banks are closing and Lloyds bank site is becoming a gourmet burger restaurant

So rather than resist the trend I believe there are opportunities to enhance the tourist offering, The food festival of a few years ago could be relaunched and as well as the Arundel festival and Arundel by Candlelight we could try and have a fourth festival in the spring, I know the town council are interested in having a full time festival organiser to help and support existing festivals and possible new ones, but  It is important we take town residents with us on this.

Aruns Leisure strategy of 2012 identified a number of potential projects, reshaping of the streetscape to pedestrianise or make the streets pedestrian friendly, re-surfacing Tarrant street removing kerbs this all goes to make Arundel even better, but Fest

As well as structural street changes, their are a number of projects which are currently underway,  amongst these and of note are

Arundel Lido LEAP project  (To make the Lido a year round facility and build a gym)
Victoria Institute. Bid for lottery funding to make the Institute a Cultural Centre

There isn’t the money in Arundel alone to fund these projects, so it’s important we lever in funds from outside bodies, I will try and support these as much as possible to try and bring the money to help these projects and others

Until next month, Paul Dendle is Arundel & Walberton Ward member and Cabinet member for Leisure & Amenities on Arun District Council email address: Cllr.paul.dendle@arun.gov.uk. Web site www.pauldendle.org

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Post Brexit, whole new set of Oppertunities

So the country has decided, the people have spoken and we have to get on with it, there will be substantial challenges to deal with and as one of your Councillors I will work as hard as I can to mitigate any adverse effects as well as embracing positive opportunities.

Local councils have taken the brunt of austerity cuts and Arun District are in the process of having to trim £4m from our budget  by 2020 which comes on top of previous cuts, its a big ask, buts lets hope we don’t get additional cuts over and above the £4m due to Brexit.

The Environment Agency has been doing it’s best to wriggle out of commitments to flood defences in the Lower Tidal River Arun Strategy  Phase 1 works which was being delivered in  partnership with West Sussex County Council, The EA, Arundel Town Council and Arun District.

It has now been clear that the EA did not maintain the walls in Arundel  to the level that they should have done in the last 20 years, they now have a catch up requirement and they are trying to dilute the Phase 1 works.  As a Arun District Cabinet member flooding is now not now my portfolios responsibility, but I have a say and I think we should hold the EA to account to complete the Phase 1 defences as promised and previously committed to.

Thanks of all Arundel residents should go to Derek Waller who advises the Town Council and keeps a watching brief on flooding developments and does a lot of behind the scenes lobbying representatives and advising us , he is an invaluable asset to myself and to other elected representatives.

Derek also helps the Town Council in advising them regarding the By-Pass, consultation of the route will begin early in 2017, the previous preferred route  (Pink Blue route) seems to be the best route, I think the consultation should be only for Arundel and surrounding village residents, many Brighton residents seem to think they have a more important say than an Arundel resident, I know some residents want an online solution, but do you really want a dual carriage way through Arundel?, I certainly judge that that and the Binsted option are equally the the worst options.  But if the Pink Blue route is given the go ahead then we also need a package of mitigating measures, cycle paths, sustainable transport solutions like the car park at Ford Station, remodeling of streetscape of the old A27, a dead end for Ford Road to stop through traffic (Access of the new  A27 bypass can be east or west on the old A27)

Until next Month, Paul dendle is Arundel & Walberton ward and Cabinet member on Arun District Council.  Email cllr.paul.dendle@arun.gov.uk  www.pauldendle.org

Friday, 24 June 2016

Public Conveniences - all change? Sussex Local report for July

Future Toilet policy to be discussed.
AS Cabinet member responsible for amongst other things public conveniences there is a very important report being discussed by the combined Leisure Tourism and the Environment working party on the 28th of June.

Arun has quite a few toilets some of them in a poor condition, we need to invest money to bring the most used of these up to a decent standard, but this will result in a consolidation of existing toilets.

Some toilets are in remote rural locations and in the winter time they can be used for anti social behaviour, I always thought I was worldly wise , but I didn’t know what a glory hole was until I started this role, hopefully a lot of you won’t know either. I won’t say any more on that subject and I will let the more adventitious google it,

So in general terms what the paper will propose is closing some of the more rural toilets in the winter, eg keeping them for summer use and avoiding the Anti social activity,

Investing in the high volume toilets introducing things like showers for sea side locations, and consulting on closing some toilets to save money.

Parishes and town councils will be given options to take over some toilets and develop them into a mixed use, eg introducing a business tenant to oversee the toilets and also make money from their business.  Many locations can be converted to cafe’s, cycle shops, taxi offices etc etc as well as having toilets.

I mentioned this to Arundel Town Council recently and indicated that the Crown Yard toilets may be one of the toilets that could either be closed, or delegated to the local Parish (EG Town Council),  I said that the ATC should see this as an opportunity, the existing toilets are huge, could easily occupy half the space and could be sub let to a business like a cycle shop.

If ATC should wish to take over operation it could be a win win situation for everyone, eg it could provide a revenue flow for ATC, it would maintain some sort of presence and would save the tax payer money.

I try to be straight with you the resident and taxpayer and hopefully you will take on board that this is a consultation and not a decision, but money has to be saved and we need to find new ways of working.  Your feedback to Arun will be welcome, but the status quo is not really an option.

Until Next Month,  Paul Dendle is the Arundel & Walberton Ward & Cabinet member for Leisure & Amenities.  Web address is www.pauldendle.org and email cllr.paul.dendle@arun.gov.uk

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

I have made up my mind on the Referendum and voted

As a local District Councillor, you may or may not care to know how I voted in the Referendum (Postal Vote),  I have been debating it with friends and have decided on balance to vote to stay in,

I am not going to try and persuade you to vote either way, but the thing that struck me is firstly either in the EU or out of the EU I want to stay in the single market to preserve jobs and our economy,

If you have the single market then  you have to have free movement of labour (As Norway & Switzerland do), so why vote to leave what tangible benefit does it give you, I have said to friends give me one tangible reason to leave and I will vote to leave, but no one could, it was all vision, hope and aspiration, not good enough reasons to gamble the economy on.

Interestingly I was speaking to the local returning officer and he predicted a 80% turnout and mentioned that a 1000 people are registering a day to vote

Remember no one is objective, everyone has an agenda, so you will have to balance up all the arguments and make up your own mind,  The best of luck

If you still are not registered for the Referendum vote, you can easily register via the following link  www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Hurry up if you want to register for the Referendum

If you still are not registered for the Referendum vote, you can easily register via the following link  www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

One chance in a generation to vote.
Many young people are not registered , but they will be most affected by the outcome of the referendum, I am not urging them to vote for or against remaining in the EU, but I am urging them to vote,  I don't buy the argument that they won't be affected, it's a simple case of are you bothered to vote or are you just too lazy to vote, no excuses not to.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

News about Cleansing (My June Sussex Local article)

Biffa (Arun) bin lorry.

Further to my various reports regarding the renewal of the cleansing contract in January 2017, Arun has decided rather than go for a full 10 year new cleansing contract, that it would be more cost effective to taxpayers to look to let a short term contract for 3 years with a possible 3 years extension. the reasoning behind this is that most contractors have written off in capital terms the plant (dust wagons etc) so to use existing plant rather than invest in new plant makes the costs much lower allowing us to have existing contractual terms for another 3 years, eg weekly waste collections and fortnightly recyclables. 

Originally as Cabinet Member for Cleansing I had wanted to extend the existing contract, but was blocked by officers on what was hypothetical reputational risks to the council, 
theoretically companies that had originally bid could challenge our decision in court, but as 
many of these companies had morphed into different larger consolidated entities, my belief 
was that the risk was minimal, the prize was substantial savings, but where I as a businessman saw opportunity, some of the more cautious officers saw risk.  It,s a balanced judgement and different people would decide in a different way.

The new shorter contract is a legal way of doing what I had wanted to do, by allowing the 
existing contractor and any new contractors to bid allows us to get a good proportion of the 
savings I wanted to achieve.  It also puts us in a good position to tender in 2020/1 for a new 
ten year contract encompassing new technologies and possibly a food waste collection.

The PCC election is decided for another four years, congratulations to the winner, but I'm 
still waiting for my Bobby in every village which was Katie Bournes pledge in 2012, I tried to 
be the candidate in 2012, I got to the last six, but was defeated at a selection meeting, my 
big idea was to adopt systems thinking techniques that Cheshire constabulary had adopted, 
it empowered Police constables, gave power to those at the sharp end and cut costs 
allowing for more PC,s.  Alas I could not put these ideas into action, a regret, but the winner 
takes all in politics, until next month,

Paul Dendle is Arundel & Walbeton Ward & Cabinet Member for Leisure & Amenities.  His email is Cllr.Paul.dendle@arun.gov.uk. Web address: www.pauldendle.org

Saturday, 30 April 2016

PR Own goal?

Arun is only 11% of your bill.
You would have all received your Council tax bills, maybe you were surprised by Aruns headline increase of 3.1%. When I had mentioned it was going to be 1.95% in previous columns,

The explanation behind this was that the government at the last minute allowed Arun to increase band D by up to £5 per year which is higher than 1.95%, because there is a larger number of Band D properties this has fed through to the headline figure for all other bands.

Arun’s share of the Council tax basket is about 11% of your overall bill, for that you get all the services Arun provides, there too numerous to mention, but the headlines ones are Bin collection,Street cleaning, Planning, Greenspaces, licensing of pubs & taxi’s, Band D in Arundel is £1626.86, so for just over £180 a year you get those services, but on reflection I think it was a mistake, it’s a PR own goal and in relative terms has raised only about £100k, against a budget of approximately £23m.

But also included in your Council tax was another new charge, The County Council has been allowed to charge for Social care, but instead of rolling it up in their headline figure they have separated it out, so this is a new charge and most people haven't noticed it. Personally I fully agree with this charge, we don’t pay careers enough and it’s a bit of a Cinderella service, with the issues of Dementia we need to invest a lot more in these services.

The government seems to have got themselves into hot water on the £9m information leaflet about the Referendum, I am still not decided, but why oh why didn’t they get the Office of Budget responsibility to write to the electorate, it appears like Gerrymandering, although in the governments defence they have recommended the negotiated deal and is pushing the case to stay, but the British People have a instinct for fair play and it seems unfair to use the governments money & machine to argue the case. Until next month,

Paul Dendle is Arundel & Walberton Ward and Cabinet member on Arun District Council, web address www.pauldendle.ord. email Cllr.Paul.dendle@arun.gov.uk other ward Councillors for the Arundel Walberton ward who represent you on Arun DC are Norman Dingemans and Robert Wheal.

Friday, 11 March 2016

EU or not

Before I went into local politics I had a fairly jaundiced view of Councils and their apparent inability to get things moving, Only when I became a Councillor did I understand the frustrations of Officers and the system they have to make work, In business if you want to purchase something you pick up the phone and discuss the price, you haggle and then you place the order with your chosen supplier. In Government if you spend anything over 50,000 euros then you have to go through complicated EU procurement rules which means you have complicated procurement documents which have to receive three tenders from three different suppliers and you then have to have a chosen methodology to make the purchase decision.

s I write this I am undecided, I am worried if we leave we will trigger a mini recession whilst everyone runs around like headless chickens. Many on the leave campaign argue that we could leave the EU, but stay in the single market which is attractive, but I don’t think many people have considered the point that if we are still part of the single Market then we have to accept the free movement of labour, so why leave if immigration is your chief concern?

I mentioned this to one of the many lobbyists that contacted me as a Councillor. If we turned our back on the single market then this represents over 50% of our trade, but as we buy more from them than sell to them will we be given some special accommodation? interestingly There is one country that has access to the single market, but is not in the single market and that's Canada, So maybe an option?

I have no problem with migrants coming to the UK as long as they work, pay tax, speak English and integrate, I believe most people in the UK share that view. The British have a long tradition of welcoming people in need to our shores, But uncontrolled immigration is causing considerable tensions and although the PM’s negotiated package is not perfect it may be our best option. I hope we will have a well informed debate and make the right decision whatever that is? To next month, Paul Dendle is Arundel & Walberton and Cabinet member on Arun District Council. Web www.pauldendle.org. Email Cllr.paul.dendle@arun.gov.ukThe reason I mention this is that we will sooner or later have to make a decision regarding staying in the EU, A

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Where’s our 20Mph zones?

Arundels 20Mph zones?.
For the last couple of years I have been telling you about the two large 20Mph zones that were to be created in Arundel Old Town and Arundel New town.

We were promised by number different officers at West Sussex County Council (WSCC) that the zones would be implemented by August 2015 under what is called a TRO (Traffic Regulation order).

Recently WSCC has stopped sending representatives to Arundel town council’s traffic committee, I made representations to the Cabinet Member that they should send someone to update and to their credit they sent one of their senior officers.

So imagine my surprise when I questioned him regarding the date for the implementation of the zones and he stated that were no plans for 20Mph zones.
I took the opportunity to raise the issue at the Joint Downland Area committee (JDAC) just before Christmas,   WSCC said that they were reviewing all plans for TRO’s (Traffic Regulation order) and they could not confirm that anything would be done.

I reacted badly to this lambasting the County Councillors present for the failure of WSCC to keep their promise; I raised the question that if they couldn’t provide 20Mph zones then what were they there for? 

I believe this raises some fundamental questions of how local government is organised in West Sussex, We have three layers of local government, we have the county council which is an old legacy organisation, because of the financial pressures they are hollowing out WSCC, keeping expensive assets like buildings whilst getting rid of front line officers. Which impacts on services and public satisfaction, the net result are things like a fairly inexpensive 20mph zones are sacrificed.

We have the District Council and we have the Town Council,  I believe we need to scrap Districts and the County Council and create small unitary authorities along the lines of Hampshire and Berkshire, we would cut the number of Officers, Councillors and buildings,  making the new organisations more cost effective and relevant.

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