Agenda item

Questions from the Public


To receive any questions from members of the public addressed to Members of the Cabinet in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 11.  There is up to 5 minutes for each question, one supplementary question may be asked arising from the original question.


Questions must relate to any matter the Council has power or which affects the Borough, except no questions may be asked in relation to


a)    A specific planning or licensing application

b)    A specific staffing appointment or appeal, or Standards determination


Public question time will last up to 30 minutes; questions will be taken in the order of receipt.


The deadline for submission of questions is 16th February 2023 at 12 noon. Questions to be submitted to  



1.    Submitted Question from Claire Hunt, a Worthing Resident


I’m in complete support of your plans to seek bathing water designation for the section of sea next to Beach House Park. Is there any progress or outcome on the application for designation (which was to be made in October 2022), and is there any reason why a similar application could not be made for a section of sea in Goring-by-Sea - which is ranked 5th in the top 10 beaches in West Sussex in the UK Beach Guide 2023.


The Cabinet Member for the Environment replied that the Council had yet to receive feedback from Defra on its Beach House Bathing Water application. It was anticipated that a response would be received before Easter.


The Council proposed to submit an application for a bathing water designation at Goring later in the year. Both the Environment Agency and Southern Water were in support of the proposal. The Council would begin collecting the data needed to support an application at the start of the forthcoming bathing season (which runs from May to September).



2.    Submitted Question from Claire Hunt, a Worthing Resident


I am pleased to see that concern for the Climate and Ecological Emergency are being considered in the plans for extending the Memorial Garden at Worthing Crematorium. I would like to ask if there could be any future provision of a natural burial site in or close to Worthing, or to allocate part of existing sites for natural burials? Interest in natural burial is increasing but there is currently only one in West Sussex, at Clayton Wood, near Hassocks, 15 miles away. They are clearly a much more environmentally-friendly option than cremation or traditional burial, and can be easily combined with woodland or meadow creation and management, so could this be built into future plans, reducing fossil fuel use, carbon emissions, and toxic emissions of things like mercury.


The Cabinet Member for the Environment replied that the Council was currently actively appraising the most viable and cost effective options for a natural burial site within its own asset portfolio. This was a high priority for the service and would be subject to technical reports and financial forecasting and service modelling.


3.    Submitted Question from Mr Ian Davey, a Worthing Resident


The A27 presents a significant physical barrier that severs most of the people of Worthing from the South Downs National Park. It also  restricts access to amenities such as Worthing College and sports pitches.



In their proposals that are currently open to consultation,  National Highways predict, and aim to provide for, a 25% increase in traffic by 2041. Government plans for a new Arundel bypass will help make this a self fulfilling prophecy. Despite this, National Highways admit that their proposed solutions in Worthing will all "under deliver".



What impact does the Leader of the council think that the implementation of any of the current National Highway proposals will have on congestion, pollution and severance in Worthing.


The Leader replied that the Council was giving full consideration to the proposals contained within the consultation. It had yet to formulate a response covering those areas to which you refer, however the Council would submit comments through the consultation portal before the deadline of 19 March 2023.


The Leader was not sure that the proposals went anything beyond tinkering at the edges of the highway network; and frankly, some minor junction improvements to help with traffic flow was probably all that could be expected for £20m.  This represented a reduction of £149m on the earlier scheme and that was rejected by local communities for its lack of ambition.  Perhaps the only real positive here is that by spending this money National Highways fulfils a commitment under the Regional investment Strategy to make some improvements and this would help with future bids for funding. 


We need a much more integrated approach which links highway improvements with our Local Cycling and Walking Improvement Plan (LCWIP) and improvements to the public transport network.  You will recall that the Borough Council expressed its firm support for the approach set out in Transport for the South East’s Strategic Investment Plan which looked at transport solutions holistically and from the perspective of our carbon reduction targets.



4.    Submitted Question from Margaret Higgins, a Worthing Resident


A question had been pre-submitted by Margaret Higgins and was read out by the Mayor as Ms Higgins was not present at the meeting.


On the 5th December 2022 at your Joint Strategic sub committee for Worthing, you and your cabinet colleagues all voted and agreed to a new commercial income programme introducing charges to previously free-to-use car parks. Those papers suggested that your intent was to raise £42,000 in additional income.


Subsequently it was learnt that you planned to introduce those charges at the Marine Crescent car park on the seafront, at the Sea Lane cafe car park and at the Goring Road car park near to the Mulberry, all in Goring amongst others in the town.


You have said you will consult, you haven't; yet you have published these proposals in budget papers without first listening to us the residents, to most people this seems like a done deal, unless you are now going to do a U-turn and back track on your decision.


As a resident of Goring, can you tell me why these car parks have been targeted, many residents have written in objecting to these charges as we all fear that car drivers will now not use these car parks because of the charges being imposed and will instead park out in the residential roads, adding to the congestion and misery that residents already experience during the busy periods.


The Cabinet Member agreed to provide written response to the question which was as follows:-


Thank you for your question regarding car parks.



In response to the poor financial position that was inherited from the previous Council administration, all options were on the table to balance the books.



Subsequently, the budget passed allowed the Council to consult on whether or not to bring in charges for a handful of car parks that were currently subsidised by the taxpayer. That consultation had already begun, with a number of one-to-one discussions and a public online meeting held so far. The Cabinet Member was accelerating that consultation process over the coming weeks and would then make a decision based on the feedback from that consultation.



The Cabinet Member believed this was the right approach to take and that it's always good to have a straight conversation with residents on issues such as this.



If you'd like to discuss this further or send me your views on this topic, please do so and I'll gladly include these in my review. I will also gladly let you know of further public meetings that I hold on this issue.



5.    Question from Mary Day, a Worthing Resident


A question was received at the meeting from Mary Day, a Worthing resident, regarding facilities for the disabled and carers in the town.


The Cabinet Member acknowledged that being a carer could be really isolating, especially when caring for a relative. The Cabinet Member conveyed that she had personally received a lot of support from GuildCare who ran a lot of social events and held meetings for carers.


However, the ideas proposed by the questioner were welcomed and would be considered further by the Council.