Members’ question time will last up to 30 minutes, with questions being taken in the order of receipt and in rotation from each political group on the Council. The deadline for submission of questions is Friday 18 February at 12 noon.
Questions should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org
Questions can be asked of the following:
a) The Mayor
b) A Member of the Executive
c) The Chairman of any Committee
d) The Council’s representative on any outside body
Questions cannot be asked in relation to the following:
a) A specific planning or licensing application
b) A specific staffing appointment, appeal or Standards determination
The Mayor announced that 4 questions had been received from Members in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 12. He advised that one supplementary question could be asked which must arise out of the original question, or, the reply.
Questions would be asked in rotation of the Groups represented in the Chamber and there were 30 minutes allowed for questions with 3 rotations of speakers possible. At the end of 30 minutes the Mayor explained that he would extend the time to conclude the current rotation of questions.
Question 1 from Councillor Hazel Thorpe to the Leader
The current environmental pressures are towards sustainable transport and environmentally friendly vehicles. Worthing Borough car parks are now losing money to the tune of £359,000.
What is your greater plan for the Town, are you going down the route similar to Brighton & Hove City Council and reducing on street car parks?
The Leader of the Council replied that like everywhere else, the Pandemic had meant that car parking income had dropped over the past two years. Right now, the Council’s approach was about making sure that its car parks remained open and helped to support economic recovery and in particular, the health of businesses in the town centre. The aim was that the car parks should provide a welcome and clean environment for residents and visitors arriving by car.
In the future, the role played by the Council’s car parks would no doubt change as it placed a greater emphasis on promoting active travel and the opportunities to walk and cycle with all of the health benefits they bring. The Council might for example, have to look toward prioritising valuable car parking spaces for those people most in need.
Whatever the Council did with its car parks, it would need to work closely with its colleagues at West Sussex County Council who looked after on-street car parking.
Question 2 from Councillor Charles James to the Executive Member for Health & Wellbeing
Can the Executive Member for Health & Wellbeing advise as to whether the Taxi Rank Marshalls Scheme, which has been very effective in reducing crime, disorder and anti- social behaviour, will be continuing during 2022?
The Executive Member for Health & Welbeing replied that the taxi marshal scheme was currently under review. The Council was working with stakeholders to identify suitable options to ensure this scheme could continue beyond March 2022.
The scheme had been in existence since 2005, going under various governance and funding arrangements. Until 2020, late night premises and taxi drivers contributed to the scheme which was administered and underwritten by the Safer Communities Partnership. Due to a decrease in grant contributions, the partnership was no longer in a position to underwrite the scheme.
Contributions were paused throughout lock down. As restrictions were lifted, the councils were able to fund the marshalls for the last 10 months using funds supporting covid recovery. As this funding was coming to an end, the Safer Communities Partnership was now working with Pubwatch, the taxi trade and town 2nd Rotation
Question 3 from Councillor Karen Harman to the Executive Member for Customer Services
Can the Executive member for Customer Services provide us with an update on the Proactive project?
The Executive Member for Customer Services replied that the Proactive project aimed to ensure that the councils target support and resources to those most in need, and was an important part of the Councils' Covid recovery plan. It also laid the groundwork for key frontline services to shift to a more preventative and early intervention approach, and for the Council to strengthen their capabilities for multi-disciplinary, data-led working
In January 2022, the Interim Director of Communities presented a detailed update report to the Joint Strategic Committee. This highlighted that between March and December 2021, a cross service team of officers had identified 500 low income households that it approached to offer support in how to increase household income and/or reduce household debt. Contact was made with 239 households, 164 of whom wanted to work with the team on a long term basis. The team can evidence that the financial resilience of those households had increased - details were contained at paragraph 4.22 of the January report, but monthly increases in income of between £57 and £332 had been achieved, alongside falls in household arrears. The January report also described how the team planned to scale up this work by focusing on three areas: building inhouse capacity and capability; using appropriate digital methods to engage with residents; and working with partner organisations who provided similar/supplementary support (both financial and wellbeing).
The Interim Director of Communities would be presenting a further progress report to the Joint Strategic Committee in July 2022. As an interim update, the Proactive team reports that its ambition was to contact residents who fell into the "not coping" financial risk categories described in previous reports throughout the calendar year. Work was now underway by the Councils’ Housing team to purchase Telljo, a digital self service support tool, and once operational (by June 2022) this would accelerate the numbers that the Council was able to reach each month. The team's longer term ambition was to extend the model to partners and communities themselves, always holding an asset based view of the people the Council worked with. centre businesses to identify future options to continue the scheme.
Question 4 from Councillor Noel Atkins to the Executive Member for Regeneration
Can the Executive member for Regeneration give us an update on the works in Montague Place?
The Leader replied that as noted as the vision at the Joint Strategic Committee last July (2021), the Council had worked in partnership with West Sussex County Council and local stakeholders over the last 6 months to move to a position whereby work had begun on a temporary scheme to pedestrianise Montague Place.
As Members would recall, Montague Place had been closed, and partially closed, over the last 18 months in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Due to observing how people were using the space, and that Montague Place had been earmarked for improvements under the Public Realm Programme, consultation was undertaken and subsequently a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) was raised by WSCC to remove vehicles from this area.
The TRO was issued a few weeks ago and the Executive Member was delighted to say that the Council’s contractor, Landbuild, were now onsite and works had begun. The most significant change would be seen at the southern end with new loading bays being established, whilst the northern end would see a levelled surface with new planting, seating and lighting. The Council was also minded to re-provide the disabled bays, therefore 6 would be now permanently outside Marks & Spencers on Marine Parade whilst a further 4 bays had already been installed at Montague Quarter car park.
The temporary works would take approximately 8 weeks to complete, therefore the Council was anticipating the work to be completed by Easter. In that same period, the Council would be commissioning the next phase, which would see the permanent design of Montague Place be established over the course of this year. The main design would be influenced by how the temporary scheme was used, whilst this would also be informed by extensive community consultation over the Summer / Autumn.
With Montague Place now up and running, Portland Road completing in the summer and Railway Approach into detailed design, the Executive Member was delighted that this Council was investing and delivering in better spaces in the town centre for its residents, businesses and visitors.