News: Council ignore the people of Bexhill and say “No” to a town council

At the full council meeting on 18th December to decide whether Bexhill should have more local governance, Rother District Council voted against forming a town council.
After what appeared to be a carefully stage managed ‘debate’ of some two hours members firstly voted on the creation of a town council with 13 votes for a town council, 18 votes against and 4 abstentions.  The votes for a town council came from 6 Conservative, 3 Liberal Democrats, 3 Association of Independents and 1 non-aligned independent. A vote was then held for No Change and this was carried by 18 for, 11 against and 5 abstentions.
For those unable to attend the meeting, which was restricted to ticket holders, a live stream of the meeting to nearby St John’s Church allowed the public to watch and hear the debate. We are grateful to Michael Ensor for his hospitality.
We are grateful to all those who attended the live streaming and to all those who attended the rally opposite the town hall prior to the council meeting. Particular thanks go to our stewards, the rally speakers, Councillors Sue Prochak and Stuart Earl, and to D4B member Sam Coleman who led the community singing and set up the live streaming of the council meeting to St John’s and also on Facebook.
You can watch the whole of the council meeting on our Facebook site. Click on the link below (or copy the link into your browser):
The D4B committee met the following day to discuss the result and to consider further action. The committee will meet again in the new year and once plans are finalised will advise you of them in a future newsletter.

Rother councillors ignore residents votes

No to a town council

At the full council meeting on 18th December to decide whether Bexhill could get more local governance, Rother District Council voted against a town council. The voting was 13 to 18, with four abstentions. They then voted for “no change” and this was carried by 18 to 11 with five abstentions. This was despite holding a consultation at which 8,642 people had voted for a town council compared to a mere 364 for no change.

“This was a farce” said Doug Oliver, chair of Democracy4Bexhill. “What is the point of having a consultation that attracts huge numbers in response, then ignoring such overwhelming results when 93% of the vote was for a town council? This shows contempt for Bexhill residents, who have engaged with this consultation with great spirit”

Democracy4Bexhill, which is a non-party organisation, led a rally outside the town hall with singing and speeches, and then people watched the long debate, either in the council chamber or in St John’s Centre where it was live-streamed by D4B. People all over Bexhill tuned in to watch the live stream on Facebook page, with over 4,000 people visiting it.

“This was a great way to help democracy become more transparent: thousands of Bexhill residents are committed to this now,” said Christine Bayliss, vice-chair of D4B.“ If Rother are determined to ignore the community, we just have to work through the ballot box as usual, and campaign to elect councillors who do have the interests of the town at heart and understand what a town council can offer. We are very grateful to those councillors who did support us. The work goes on”.

There was much concern over false allegations made by the Leader Carl Maynard in the chamber and on the media, that the campaign had provided misinformation and had been manipulated by political activists. All the detailed literature and the communication that was distributed to councillors was carefully researched and double-checked; all the costings had been cleared by the National Association of Local Councils, and the key figures had been discussed with Rother’s own auditor.

D4B includes people who have campaigned for many years for a greater say for the people of Bexhill. They are not going to give up now.

D4B Newsletter – Bexhill’s Rally For Democracy – Monday 18th December

As reported in our last newsletter D4B is organising a rally in the gardens opposite the town hall on  the  evening of the Full Council meeting at which Bexhill’s fate will be determined.

The rally starts at 5.30pm and we hope that you, our supporters, will come along and join as we celebrate the culmination of our campaign for a town council and join in some community singing. Please bring a torch with you to read the song sheets.

Entry to the Council meeting is by ticket only, all of which have now been allocated. However don’t despair you can still watch and hear the meeting via video link to St John’s Church Centre at the junction of London Road and Victoria Road. Tea and coffee will be available.

Please join us in town hall square at 5.30pm and in the St John’s Centre.

It is your strength and support that has enabled us to achieve as much as we have – we hope you will be with us on the 18th.


Stewards needed.

The police will be present to help ensure that rally attendees can get to and from the gardens opposite the town hall safely. To assist in this we have recruited a number of stewards but we still need a few more.

You will need to be present from 5pm and remain until about 6.15/6.20pm by which time those attending will have vacated the gardens.

A Hi-vis jacket and torch will be required (we can supply the Hi-vis if you need one).

If you can help please contact Christine Bayliss on 01424 21850. Thank you.


Carry a Placard at the Rally.

We want our messages to be seen as well as heard so if you are coming please bring a placard. We will have some placards available but can’t make them for everyone so if you’re a handy person and can make one up yourself we have produced some ready-made artwork for you to download and print and fix to your homemade placard. Just visit and chose your wording.

If rain in forecast covering them with a clear film or other clear material will prevent the text from running.


Finally…Please promote the rally.

We still have a few A4 posters and A5 flyers advertising the rally. If you can display a poster or distribute some flyers please contact Doug Oliver on 07917 845737.

Thank you for your continued support.

Some examples of what town councils are doing

If you’re wondering what a town council might do in Bexhill…

  • Nearly half of the 634 local councils surveyed by NALC this year were delivering housing or planning advice services, and many were helping to provide health and well-being services, often in partnership with other local, district, city or county councils.
  • Ivybridge TC provides a “social prescription service” to local doctors and patients where social needs (lack of money, housing, employment) that can later impact on health can be addressed: young mothers, who are struggling with isolation, stress, anxiety and depression, are the most frequent users.
  • In Worcester the Councils’ partnership project, “Reconnections” is helping 3,000 people to overcome loneliness, financed by Social Finance Ltd; the Cabinet Office, and the Lottery.
  • Antsey Parish Council have provided new football pitches for the local youth teams, built a community footpath with a neighbouring parish council, and funded a feasibility study on a late-night bus service.
  • Sutton Coldfield TC (created 2016) allocated £100,000 for local groups who want to make their town an even better place to live and work: much of the 130K Community Grant budget administered by RDC could be used by the Bexhill TC for Bexhill priorities.
  • Condover Parish Council developed a community-inspired housing project which helped it to win the Star Councils 2016 Prize from NALC.
  • Falmouth developed an economic plan including saving CCTV and youth services, and employs a team of gardeners who in conjunction with visitor and education office involve primary school children in horticulture projects.
  • Syston Town council engaged young people in redevelopment of Skate Park: a similar project that has just started in Bexhill.
  • Burley Parish Council dealt with the threats of losing their library, Community Hall, and some parks and open spaces by widely consulting their communities about whether they wanted to pay an extra 63p per week in local tax to
  • Dunstable provides social activities for people of all ages, including lunch clubs for the over 55’s and over 75’s, National Play Day for children, youth drop in sessions for teenagers and Dunstable Men in Sheds for men 55 plus. It has partnered with a young people’s counselling service to deliver sessions in schools identifying what causes stress.
  • Sprowston have taken over a youth and community building from Norfolk County Council, held a health fair and run a weight management class which has developed into an exercise class.
  • Wikham has planted 800 new trees, commissioning two new floodlit tennis courts and a new club, a floodlit all weather football pitch and a new village green. Many town councils have taken over parks and allotments.
  • Skegness have a groundcare team, manages and maintains benches, bus shelters, notice boards, planters, hanging baskets, litter bins and an information lectern in the town. The groundcare team also manages the council’s cemetery, burial ground, war memorial and allotments.
  • Sevenoaks invested in a major renovation of a failing cinema and theatre complex, resulting in the highly successful Stag Community Arts Centre, now run by a not-for-profit charity, which is open seven days a week and includes a theatre, two digital cinema screens, café/bar and a performance and conferencing facility.
  • Stirchley and Brookside run a gardening scheme which manages gardens for elderly people who can’t.
  • Burnham Overy, Norfolk is a local partner in the development of six homes, five of which are classified as affordable.
  • Salisbury took on a mix of services, some of which cost money to run and others which generate an income. These include 33 parks, 12 play areas, a community centre, two pay and display car parks, the Guildhall and various shops, offices and flats.
  • Thame in Oxfordshire supports local businesses with a range of measures. This includes providing 50% funding for a market town coordinator, chairing and supporting a business forum, supporting a charter market manning an information centre, providing sponsorship opportunities for local businesses and operating a buy it local policy.
  • Waltham Abbey have played host to a number of national and international events, including a night stopover of the Monte Carlo rally and the Olympic Torch relay.


Joining the demo? Bring a Banner

If you’re thinking of joining Bexhill residents in the peaceful demonstration outside the council chambers on Monday 18th, why not bring your own banner? We’ve designed a range of different designs for you to print your own. Click to see them all here: DEMO DESIGNS