Janet DunctonA word first on the Chichester District work.  There is at the moment an amount of money, not too big, in the Grants for Community organisations.  If your community organisation needs a Grant can I suggest that it would be a good idea to check on line with Chichester District Council to see if funds are still available.  I know there is some as I write but as I said you won’t see the magazine for another couple of weeks.

Chichester District Councillors along with all other Districts and Boroughs in the County and of course the Parishes have been asked to comment on the Pop up Cycle lanes.

Now whatever your thoughts it is my understanding that they are not meant to be permanent and will hopefully be replaced with better solutions once Plans and money are in place.  The South Downs National Park is finding quite large sums of money to help produce proper long term cycle routes across the National Park in conjunction with the various County, Districts and Borough Councils. I know we don’t have any around Wisborough Green and Kirdford.  I am not holding my breath for any to be produced either in the near future but I am always happy to listen and pass on any comments from my Parishes.

On the 18th September we held our first full Council meeting at County since lockdown back in February/March.  Yes we held one in July but as a cut back version of our normal meeting agenda, this was the first with motions, 2 Cabinet member reports on how things were moving forward with our Children’s Services and the Cabinet Member for Adult Care also gave a report.

You may ask what did they say?  Can I just say if you are interested you can watch the meeting on our Web service on our Web Site.

One of the Motions was regarding what we are doing for un-accompanied asylum seeking Children and when I say children I include 18-25 year olds in this which are our responsibility.  Of course Kent is getting the brunt of all this but we and other Councils are stepping in to help and so far in early October we have 76 unaccompanied asylum seeking children and 123 unaccompanied asylum seeking Care Leavers on our books.

It was a long day.  I started my first briefing for the day at 9am followed by a Group meeting and finally the Council meeting itself which because I thought it only fair that members could ask the question that they have been wanting to put to Cabinet members we didn’t finish until 4.45pm.  Call me old fashioned if you like but I find virtual meetings very tiring and everything takes longer.  I personally just hope that my wi-fi doesn’t go down living out in the country where you don’t always have a strong signal.

South Downs National Park, Chichester District and the County Council have now prepared and dispatched their comments re the Planning White paper.  Although there is a lot that is liked in it much we hope will be given a second look by Government.  We know we need houses but do we really need the huge numbers they are looking to put into the South East of England?  I am with our MP Andrew Griffiths on this and think they need to take a long hard look at this before it goes forward. The South Downs National Park thinks there are many good things in it and for any who have read the Glover report it would appear that the Government has listened to much that is in that report but they would like the White paper to clarify the status of National Parks.

On both Chichester District and County we have for some time been working on our budget for 2021/22. We know it’s going to be tough and we know we’re looking at some shortfalls which of course means that we will have to look at every Service and see if some things can be done differently and some things will have to be cut.

Things are tough but I am happy to say that although it doesn’t affect many of Wisborough Green/Kirdford residents we are set to continue with the re-development of Woods Mead School which is a special needs School near East Grinstead.  We have made sure that the 23 million needed to redevelop this much needed special School in the County is in the budget and protected. It has been many years in the making.

Of course work continues with issues of the Covid 19 but by the time you read this figures etc will have moved on.  I am sure you will be able to keep up with what is happening by other means but please be assured that both Chichester and West Sussex Councils are working with many other bodies on the situation we are faced with.  It seems at the moment that there are no quick fixes and it’s a daily watch of the News.

Keep safe everyone and I do hope to see you face to face in the not too distant future.  In the meantime if you need me it’s janet.duncton@westsussex.gov.uk or jduncton@chichester.gov.uk. If you would prefer to phone – home telephone 01798 344914 or  mobile 07979 152898.  Take care.

Janet Duncton
County Councillor, Petworth Division
Chichester District Councillor, Loxwood Ward