The yellow Town Bus Service, also known as the Community bus, run by volunteers six days a week, can be used by everyone. It costs just £1 a trip or it’s free for the disabled or pensioners with a pass. It has several routes that cover the centre of town as well as some of the outlying areas of Bexhill. HOWEVER, sadly it does not serve the Sidley area. A town council could support the development of this much needed service – and make it more inclusive for all. It could even consider supporting public transport initiatives for areas that have no evening service, like the Conquest. Yes, a town council would work for you!
East Sussex and Rother councillors have plans to tackle parking in the town. The detailed draft plans and maps on parking can be tracked down on the RDC website (minutes and appendix 2 of Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting 19th March 2018). D4B has asked Rother that the plans be available in hard copy after they have been signed off, so that you can see them at the library. There will be a public consultation and we will keep you informed. Meanwhile, the police are actively booking cars for illegal parking in the town centre, so watch out!
If you have strong views about the plans, prepare to respond to the consultation. Rother has been known to ignore the results of official consultations (ahem) so you could also write to your two local councillors. On 19th July Bexhill Town Forum held a public meeting on this issue. You can watch the video recording on their Facebook page.
In Rother’s community governance review last year, 93.5% of 9,227 Bexhill residents asked for a town council, and Rother famously said no. Word went round the country, and now the Government has just had a consultation about how to improve these reviews.
The National Association of Local Councils, representing 10,000 local councils, has responded saying that in future the public should have the right of appeal to the secretary of state, and if residents vote for a new council in a referendum, that should be binding. They also say that the process followed should be strictly monitored internally.
If the Government agrees with these proposals, Rother will not get away with it next time.
No further consultation is planned on the East Parade in Bexhill. Rother’s plans to improve it, entitled The Coastal Environments Corporate Project – East Parade Bexhill, are on the RDC website (Cabinet meeting 12th March 2018). But are they exciting? We do get a new building for the Sea Angling Club and a paying car park at the base of Galley Hill but could we do more? One resident has pointed out that this is a beautiful area on a line between the Jerwood, the
Hastings net sheds and the De la Warr Pavilion, and could be a wonderful hub for creative, educational and healthy activities for the wider public, all based on the sea.
Some councillors are not bothered. One said:
“From experience if you consult 10 people you will have a range of views which if you ask the same questions to 100 people by and large those views would just be repeated 10x.”
Best not to mention the town council consultation when 8,361 all voted the SAME and were still ignored!
In the interests of openess and transparancy, this is the income and expenditure for D4B.
|DEMOCRACY 4 BEXHILL|
|SUMMARY INCOME & EXPENDITURE ACCOUNT – 24 Oct 16 to 31 Dec 17|
|Cash setup donations by committee members||310.00|
|Launch meeting donations||243.11|
|Donations – committee members – bills & cash||454.09|
|Donations –||Individual donations||2405.70|
|Donations –||at stalls & shop||63.61|
|Donations –||Christine’s box||10.72|
|Donations –||Cash – no names||110.00|
|Danations at party for insurance||240.60|
|Interest to 27 Jan||0.06|
|St John’s Hall||30.00|
|Launch meeting refreshments||15.70|
|Sweets for stall||20.00|
|Leaflets & labels||152.00|
|2000 Help make Bexhill Great||120.00|
|Bexhill Market stall||20.00|
|Shop use licence||100.00|
|SBS – envelopes&labels re petitioner’s letters||38.00|
|Fastprint – petitioner’s letters||300.00|
|APW – leaflet printing||30.00|
|Trevor Leggo meeting -room hire||36.00|
|Trevor Leggo meeting -refreshments||60.20|
|4 Domain names||39.59|
|Vodaphone sim card||15.00|
|Bexhill Town Council.com domain||14.39|
|Postage – letters to cllrs||24.70|
|Final Letters to cllrs – print & post||51.28|
|Vinyl posters for rally||84.00|
|Insurance for Town Hall Square rally||223.00|
|Surplus / (Deficit) –||for the period||£||2.69|
|Bills to be paid||-135.28|
If you want to read the full report on Rother’s decision on the town council you can download it here: Rother_Final_Recommendations
What’s next for D4B?
The result of the Community Governance Review wasn’t what we
wanted but it certainly isn’t the end. We will continue campaigning
for greater transparency, openness and accountability in the way
Bexhill is governed. We will do this by shining a light on where we
think the Council is failing to listen to Bexhill residents.
We will also be making sure that, in the 2019 local elections,
Bexhill residents in every ward have an opportunity to vote
for District Council candidates who want a Bexhill Town Council
and subscribe to Democracy4Bexhill’s values of fairness and
We will endorse candidates who share our vision for the future of
the town, no matter what political party they stand for.
We want to hear from you! What else would you like us to be
doing? What do you think we could help with?
Come along to our open meeting
Saturday 17th February 2018 at St Barnabas Church, 10 – 12 noon. This is an opportunity for you to air your views and hear what we’re up to.
We would like to take the opportunity to say thank you to our many volunteers
and supporters for all your hard work and support. Our campaign was very
effective, the amazing result of over 9,000 respondents would not have been
possible without you.
The consultation is now over, but the campaign doesn’t stop there. We will be
fighting hard for greater transparency, accountability and openness and
supporting the people and organisations who share our passion for making
Bexhill a better place to live. Make sure you spread the word among your
friends and neighbours that Democracy4Bexhill are still going and we’re still
just as committed to our wonderful town. I can’t wait to see what amazing
things we can achieve in the next few years.
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.
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.