Interesting times at Arun District Council, we the
Conservative opposition are setting the pace and
challenging a number of bewildering decisions as
well as holding the LibDem Cabinet’s feet to the fire.
I have met with the Green Councillors and am working
closely on some shared objectives, cross party working
is something new , but although we don’t agree on some
fairly important things, we do agree on a lot and I’m
pleased to work with them.
At a recent Overview Committee we were vigorous in
asking questions and putting down recommendations.
I managed to get the Recycling target increased from
40% to 50% (This was passed unanimously) and the
building target for Councils own stock increased from
25 homes per annum to 35 homes per annum.
(This would have been unanimous Independents and
Greens supported it but 3 Lib Dem councillors voted
Lib Dem’s in the past have been notorious for not turning
up to meetings, it has been discovered that some Cabinet
members had not met with their officers a good month
after taking up position, bearing in mind they are being
paid a Special responsibility allowance to be Cabinet
members and should be doing the job properly.
We have also heard some worrying things that may happen,
there is the desire by the Lib Dem Cabinet to re-open the
Local plan, this could cost between £1M-£2M and suck up
valuable officer time for the next 3-4years.
There was also a large scale consultation about to take
place in Bognor Regis regarding The Sunken Gardens
redevelopment, The LibDems want to cancel the
consultation at a potential cost of £320k, my groups
attitude is that the consultation should go ahead as there
is nothing wrong with asking people want they want.
With the Cabinet system you should have collective
responsibility where as the Cabinet speak with one voice,
but the Lib Dem’s deputy leader Francis Oppler has voted
against the leader in a recent meeting giving the impression
of a Cabinet in chaos. Francis Oppler has desires to be leader
and appears to be undermining the Leader James Walsh
for personal ambition.
The first real Full Council is on the 17th of July, I write this
column around the 7th of the month, so I will report the
outcome of that meeting in next months article.
Until next month, Paul Dendle is one of the Arundel &
Walberton Ward members and is the spokesperson for the
Conservative group on the economy. His email is