Agenda and minutes

Venue: The Gordon Room, Worthng Town Hall

Contact: Simon Filler
Democratic Services Officer
01903 221438  Email:

No. Item


Declaration of Interests

Members and officers must declare any disclosable pecuniary interests in relation to any business on the agenda. Declarations should also be made at any stage such an interest becomes apparent during the meeting.


If in doubt contact the Legal or Democratic Services representative for this meeting.


There were no declarations of interest


Substitute Members


There were no substitutions


Confirmation of Minutes

To approve the minutes of the Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 16 February 2023, copies of which have been previously circulated.


Resolved: the minutes of the meeting of the 16 February 2023 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman 


Public Question Time

So as to provide the best opportunity for the Committee to provide the public with the fullest answer, questions from the public should be submitted by 12.00pm Monday 13 March 2023.


Where relevant notice of a question has not been given, the person presiding may either choose to give a response at the meeting or respond by undertaking to provide a written response within three working days.


Questions should be submitted to Democratic Services


(Note: Public Question Time will operate for a maximum of 30 minutes.)


Members were asked, “By what process did the Council decide that Trees for Streets, a national company based in London, offered the best model to engage the public and achieve the goal of having more street trees? Were other organisations asked to bid? In particular, why weren't local green groups with considerable numbers of volunteers and expertise in engagement invited to submit proposals that could have offered alternative ways to deliver these aims? £24k of funding over a period of 3 years for engagement and sourcing trees from local projects could have made a huge difference to the sustainability of local environmental non-profits, contributing to a stronger local economy and providing better value for money and equitability. In any case, why will the cost of sponsorship be £395 per tree when Trees for Streets own website recommends a charge of £100-200 and WSCC Donate a Tree scheme charges £200? What provision is being made to ensure that neighbourhoods that can’t afford to sponsor are not excluded?


This council has the ambition to be fair, green and local in both policy and action. Given this committee's role in holding the Executive to account, is the committee satisfied that the process by which this decision was made has delivered the best outcome possible? If not, will you hold the executive to account and ask that they reconsider?




The Trees for Streets approach and platform had been reviewed by Officers who were confident this provided value for money as this provided a full package of support and an easy step through experience to engage all residents across the Borough.  The Council reviewed internal and external factors when seeking a platform that integrated nicely to the Council’s needs whilst, more importantly, creating a very easy to navigate customer facing experience to ensure all residents and all communities had the opportunity to engage with the programme, whether on an individual basis, street basis or as part of a group. The Council also took soundings from three existing authorities utilising the platform.


The Council didn’t have the resources and expertise to create a crowdfunding platform of the nature offered by the Trees for Streets organisation. Trees for Streets bespoke software supported the coordinated marketing of the scheme enabling a steady stream of applications. Whilst £24k (over 3 years) could be utilised for green projects, the Council needed to invest in the capability and functionality to increase the reach, and generate the interest, in caring for and planting more trees in the Borough.


The pricing structure per tree was yet to be formally agreed however the report noted that no tree would cost in excess of £395 and not necessarily £395 per tree. The Worthing Borough scheme had proposed additional social value as it included equipment for use by communities which would help in neighbourhood watering and make use of rainwater harvesting. Aligned to the community funded trees were those sponsored by businesses and the Council was hopeful that businesses, who expressed an interest, would look  ...  view the full minutes text for item JOSC/93/22/23


Members Questions

Councillors who are not members of this committee can ask questions under CPR 12  Questions should be relevant to the committee where the question is being asked and also relevant to an item on the agenda. Please contact Democratic Services for more information

Members’ question time is 30 minutes and questions should be submitted no later than 12:00pm on Monday 13 March 2023.



No member questions were received.


Items Raised Under Urgency Provisions

To consider any items the Chairman of the meeting considers to be urgent


There were no urgent items


Consideration of any matter referred to the Committee in relation to a call-in of a decision


There were no call-ins


Annual Feedback report from meetings of West Sussex Health & Adult Social Care Scrutiny Committee (HASC) pdf icon PDF 126 KB

To consider a report by the Director for Digital, Sustainability and Resources, copy attached as item 8

Additional documents:


The Committee had a report before it attached as item 8,  a copy of which had been circulated to all Members and is attached to the signed copy of these minutes


Members asked about the level of medical expertise on the panel, the decision to open a new acute stroke unit in Chichester, the viability of Worthing patients and their relatives getting to Chichester, and how data is gathered on dentistry care.


Members were told that experts were presenting evidence to the committee, that the new acute unit would be a much better option for those recovering from stroke and that data on dentistry was gathered from health watch, community organisations, doctors and the voluntary sector.



Interview with Adur Cabinet Member for Regeneration & Strategic Planning pdf icon PDF 123 KB

To consider a report by the Director for Digital, Sustainability and Resources, copy attached as item 9


The Committee had a report before it attached as item 9, a copy of which had been circulated to all Members and is attached to the signed copy of these minutes.


A Member asked, “Can you explain how you think Lancings' needs can be met by, and meet the criteria for, securing this levelling up bid?”




Members were told that the council had undertaken a very in depth process to establish the challenges and opportunities that existed in Lancing and, maybe for the first time, explored people’s ‘lived experiences’. They were really confident that they had a good sense of what the Lancing ‘community’ needed, which was backed up by solid data and evidence, both of which aligned really well with the Levelling Up agenda.


In terms of the Levelling Up bid, it was important to reaffirm that this was a competitive process and whilst this was an immediate opportunity to secure investment into Lancing, this wouldn’t be the only opportunity. However, for the bid itself, the community voted on the top items that the Adur District, Lancing Parish and WSCC should focus on, one of which was improving the village centre in terms of visual appeal. This aligned extremely well with the criteria of the bid as ‘town centre regeneration’ was a key theme and with Adur (Lancing) being a priority 2 area they were confident they would not only submit a robust bid but it was built from solid community foundations.


A Member asked, “There is consensus that we need more affordable housing, so why did you support a housing development on the Howard Kent site for just 5 shared ownership homes, how are we ever going to reduce housing need if the few remaining brownfield land sites are not being used for affordable housing?”




Members were told Government guidance and the adopted Adur Local Plan stressed that the viability of a development is a material consideration in the planning process. The developer of the Howard Kent site submitted a viability assessment that was robustly assessed by an Independent Viability Consultant (appointed by the Council).  This assessment recognised that the scheme could not deliver 30% affordable housing and the offer of 5 on site shared ownership units or £427k towards off site rented accommodation was considered reasonable in all circumstances by Planning Officers.  The viability issues facing developments along the Western Harbour Arm had been known for some time and were due to the extremely high costs of providing a new flood defence and new cycle path along the river frontage and along the A259. 


It should be noted that whilst some sites had not been able to provide affordable housing, other sites along the Western Harbour Arm were providing 100% affordable housing such as Kingston Wharf adjacent to Howard Kent.  As a result the overall level of affordable housing being provided was actually significantly in excess of the Local Plan requirement of 30%.  


The Local Plan and subsequent Joint Area Action Plan (JAAP) set  ...  view the full minutes text for item JOSC/98/22/23


JOSC Work Programme setting 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 123 KB

To consider a report by the Director for Digital, Sustainability and Resources, copy attached as item 10

Additional documents:


The Committee had a report before it attached as item 10, a copy of which had been circulated to all Members and is attached to the signed copy of these minutes


Members discussed the process for reviewing scrutiny through a workshop group before putting together a working group. It was clarified that no decisions were to be made at this meeting as to the future of JOSC and that Members were currently being presented with a possible roadmap for improving how Scrutiny was conducted. Members discussed the 23/24 schedule and voted unanimously to bring the Our Plan item forward to the July meeting. 


As part of the discussion on the Work Programme it was accepted that the work of the JOSC Working Group (Adur Homes Repairs and Maintenance) would need to be paused pending the outcomes of the Adur Homes referral to the Housing Regulator. It was also accepted that the JOSC Working Group (review of policy for housing vulnerable people in accommodation outside of Council areas) could continue its work as it was not an area of focus for the Housing Regulator but that some adjustments and input could be required by the Regulator in the coming months which might impact on the work of that review. 




The Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee:


(1)Noted the progress in delivering the JOSC Work Programme for 2022/23


(2) Amended the draft JOSC Work Programme for 2023/24 to bring Our Plan forward to the July meeting and agreed that the amended Work Programme be submitted to the Adur and Worthing Full Council meetings in April 2023 for approval. 



Annual review report on the work of the Worthing BID pdf icon PDF 126 KB

To consider a report by the Director for Digital, Sustainability and Resources copy attached as item 11 and a presentation and report from the Worthing Town Centre Manager.

Additional documents:


The Committee had a report before it attached as item 11, a copy of which had been circulated to all Members and is attached to the signed copy of these minutes. The report was presented by the CEO of the Worthing Bid.


A Member asked, “In the Review that this committee carried out last year one of the issues raised was the relationship between the BID and the Council. On pg 50 of this report you outline how this important relationship has improved. Are there any ways or actions that could improve the relationship further?”




Members were told that as an organisation that works with many aspects of the council, the Worthing Bid found the work programme in the Platforms for our Places document very helpful, as that allowed them to see where they can link in within the larger council and see other activities that they can again link in with.


A Member asked, “How successful do you feel the Worthing Gift Card has been since its launch at Christmas 2021 and what feedback have you received from the 115 businesses signed up for it? Can you give further details on the ongoing programme to keep spending inside Worthing?”




Members were told that the Gift Card scheme had been successful, especially for companies and organisations that really promote it and last year generated £15k. They found that people had been using it increasingly for theatre and cinema and treats.


Members also asked about extending the Business Improvement District to including other areas, which businesses could participate in the scheme, what engagement with the wider business community existed and what responses to the festival stage at the upcoming Worthing Festival had they received. Members were informed that satellite areas were a possibility but that those areas were currently unlikely to generate the necessary money to make it worthwhile but this could always be reviewed. Members were also told that any business within the Business Improvement District could participate, a monthly newsletter along with rangers out talking to businesses were important factors in their engagement and there had been 7 responses to the stage so far, which would be placed at south st square.




The Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee noted the progress and performance of the Worthing BID and a unanimous vote of appreciation be accorded to Sharon Clarke for her work in supporting the BID and the Town Centre Initiative over the previous 20 years.



Worthing Cabinet Member for Resources

As requested at the meeting on 19 January 2023, the Committee will interview and question the Worthing Cabinet Member for Resources about car parking charges.


The Committee had a report before it attached as item 12, a copy of which had been circulated to all Members and is attached to the signed copy of these minutes


The Worthing Cabinet Member for Resources read a prepared statement outlining a timeline of events, regarding information released about car parking charges. They advised that they had not intentionally misled the Committee or withheld information. 


Members asked about whether the cabinet had reviewed the details behind money raised by an increase in car park charges and what information is to be made public and available to scrutiny. Members were told that the proposed car park charges had been put together as a number of possible options by officers, but hadn’t been agreed at the time and that while scrutiny has greater access to information, exempt information needs to be shared with scrutiny under exempt conditions.


Interview with Worthing Cabinet Member for Regeneration pdf icon PDF 125 KB

To consider a report by the Director for Digital, Sustainability and Resources, copy attached as item 13


The Committee had a report before it, attached as item 13, a copy of which had been circulated to all Members and is attached to the signed copy of these minutes.


A Member asked, “I like to ask this question of all the Cabinet Members. What are the main challenges or obstacles facing the work of Regeneration?”




Members were told that the legislative framework and permitted development was at odds with the ambitions of local authorities. Housing targets, the levelling up bill, ensuring the productivity of assets, recruiting talent and retaining great staff were all big challenges faced.


A Member asked, “Like a lot of the portfolios, Regeneration seems to cover a broad range of responsibilities. Are there any areas that are in danger of slipping through the cracks, so to speak?”




Members were told that it was difficult to drive campaigns and garner public interest on maintenance of assets projects putting them at risk but Members were assured these were not ‘slipping through the cracks’. Members were also told it was essential for the Local Plan to be adopted swiftly so a working group could be established to start looking at the design code of the national planning policy framework.


A Member asked, “The missions of 'Our Plan' include thriving places and that by their nature, these missions are bigger than the individual services provided, needing creative solutions including working with residents, businesses, visitors, communities and partners.

How well do you think your portfolio has developed in the first year of administration, to work with businesses, partners and communities, towards making our places thrive?




Members were told of involvement in recent school competitions, the Big Clean campaign continued to gather momentum with a number of town centre, seafront and neighbourhood cleans in 2022, showed the appetite from residents to care with them for their places and they hoped to see many more people at events. Public consultation on the Lido whereby they received over 4,000 responses and whilst this did provide them with a challenge to review, this was a nice challenge to have as this demonstrated commitment to involving communities in the development of projects, and decision making. They had continued to meet with business owners, members of TCI and looked forward to more.


A Member asked, “Sea level rises are a very immediate concern. If you were to look at the prediction maps for this rise matched with the additional threat of annual floods then the image isn't nice viewing for Worthing and the surrounding areas by 2030 and into the next century.


Can you give the committee any updates on work that is taking place to keep Coastal Protection developing in line with the data shown on sea rises?”




Members were told that Worthing Borough Council undertook annual maintenance works to the coastal defence structures along the entire borough frontage. Works included but were not limited to, re-bolting loose timbers, replacing worn or missing timber planks, wailings and land ties and pile  ...  view the full minutes text for item JOSC/102/22/23