I hope that you are all keeping well and safe.
A festive update! If you are reading these lines before or on the 31st October, then do come and join us at the Halloween Wisborough Green Market outside the Village Hall Car Park.
The Wisborough Green Market Committee has been working in close communications with Chichester District Council Markets Team officers to put together this event for the community and to support local businesses.
Social distance measures will be in place to keep stall holders and customers safe. I will be there volunteering on the day, and I hope to see as many of you as possible!
Now some updates from CDC and our last Full Council Meeting
Changes to the Current Planning System:
At the last Full Council Meeting we debated Central Government’s Planning Reform Proposals which threatens our communities with unreasonable housing targets that fail to meet the needs for real affordable housing whilst imposing in our local parishes housing developments at sites where infrastructure can’t cope.
Councillors of all parties – including myself – joined forces in passing a motion to object to the Government’s Planning Proposals. The motion included an amendment from my group which called for the Government to stop undermining Local Authorities, Local Plans and Neighbourhood Plans and to actively support them – through Ministerial interventions if necessary.
The District Council’s response to the Government’s ‘Proposed changes to the current planning system’ can be found here: https://chichester.gov.uk/governmentconsultations.
My group also brought forward amendments calling for greater local discretion over the composition of ‘affordable’ homes; arguing against the removal of a local connections requirement for First Homes and objecting to the extension of ‘Permission in Principal’ to large scale.
Talking about planning, I was delighted to be asked to help the Neighbourhood Plan Review Team and recently helped with the green gap assessment. I continue to attend all (virtual) Parish Council meetings to better understand local issues and serve the village with everything at my hand.
Decarbonising Transport / Joining WSCC EVCP Strategy
In August West Sussex County Council declared that every District and Borough Council in the County was partnering with them to secure a supplier who would plan, fund, install, market and operate a public and accessible electric vehicle charge point network across the County. But not Chichester. Although CDC operates 18 change points across the District (more than any other), it appears that officers were not keen on joining the County Council’s more ambitious strategy. At a recent Environment Panel meeting my group asked for CDC Cabinet to urgently ask to join as a ‘Key Delivery Authority’ if it is not too late. The Environment Cabinet Member supported this proposal. Things appear to have stalled again so we will be pressing for this to be taken seriously and hopefully by the time you read this CDC has finally joined the EVCP Strategy!
Solar Together Scheme
CDC is participating in Solar Together, a Sussex wide scheme to offer householders and small businesses a cheaper and easy route to install electricity-generating solar panels and batteries. Parties can register their interest here:
Making Local Democracy more inclusive
At the last Full Council Meeting I also made the following statement: Online meetings give us an opportunity to make local democracy far more inclusive. We can be much more flexible about the when and where. We can for example adopt a blended approach and have evening meetings without the worry of members having to drive late at night. We have a duty as councillors to be far more inclusive to ensure those that those who are of working age and have no choice but to work are not being barred from serving their communities. More importantly it means that members of the public are enabled to get involved with and engage with local democracy. Please can I ask that going into this new council year we take this opportunity to be far more innovative and inclusive as to how we conduct the business of council
As always please contact me with any issue, feedback, problem or question and I will do my best to help: firstname.lastname@example.org / 07958 918056. Although I have not been able to resume normal Saturday surgeries yet, I am available to meet and visit residents (whilst observing social distance measures) or for online meetings or surgeries upon request. I look forward to hearing from you!