Agenda item

Questions from the Public


To receive any questions from members of the public addressed to Members of the Executive 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 8th December 2022 at 12 noon. Questions to be submitted to 


The Mayor advised that 3 questions had been received in advance of the meeting.


1.            Question submitted by Luke Houghton, a Worthing Resident


As Mr Houghton was not present, the Mayor requested that a written response be provided to his question.


2.            Question submitted by Ian Davey, a Worthing Resident


Question: Cycling infrastructure in Worthing is appalling. 


It has been some years now since, with public consultation, the Borough Council aimed to address this and agreed the Local Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP).


Could the leader of the council please outline what cycling infrastructure has been implemented since.


The Leader replied that the Council adopted the LCWIP a couple of years ago and there had been little progress made in relation to infrastructure changes during this time period.  There were improvements being made along the A24 in Findon but that wasn’t one of the priority routes in the plan.


The new administration came in with a priority in relation to sustainable travel which they had been pushing forward. Highways were the responsibility of West Sussex County Council (WSCC) so Worthing Borough Council had to work in partnership with WSCC.  


The Council was negotiating a new growth deal with WSCC, with sustainable transport at the heart of it. The deal sets out what the priority projects are across the Borough and considers the funding which WSCC could access nationally to support those projects.


The Council wanted to ensure that whenever infrastructure development was being considered, that cycling, walking and public transport were put forward as an emergency priority. 


At a recent meeting with WSCC, 2 north to south and 2 east to west priority routes were considered. Officers from WSCC had now undertaken feasibility studies for the north to south routes, which was the first stage towards obtaining cycle route funding. The next stage was going out to public consultation. 


WBC have been prioritising sustainable travel and put together a sustainable travel steering group. The intention was to merge the steering group with the established Active Travel Group which was made up of officers from WBC and WSCC. In the new year, Members would be actively speaking with stakeholders, including the Worthing Cycling Forum. 



3.            Question asked by Ian Davey, a Worthing Resident


Question: The Adur & Worthing sustainability framework talks of shifting to sustainable transport and improving air quality. Actions include implementing improvements identified in the LCWIP and introducing bike share with 50% e-bikes in 2023. To this end the Borough Council had been planning to join the new bike share scheme soon to start in Brighton & Hove. Could the council leader please outline the rationale behind the recent decision to abandon this plan in favour of continuing with the existing Donkey Bike scheme.


The Leader replied that due to the Council’s financial position, the Council needed to review a number of commitments that would have a significant impact on the budget - one of those commitments was bike share.


After a complete review of the scheme it became clear that, currently, the original plan to partner with Brighton & Hove City Council was unaffordable due to the high capital and revenue investment required. Officers very diligently looked for a more economical solution, hence the recommendation to proceed with the expansion of the Donkey Bike scheme.


Whilst we appreciate Donkey Bike’s won’t give us full coverage across the Borough as the Brighton & Hove scheme would have done, this does mean we can deliver an affordable scheme over the short - medium term. There will be an additional 40 bikes in operation across the scheme, which will include Adur, with 3 new hubs in Worthing extending out to Brooklands in the east and Goring Road to the west.


Again, due to the associated costs of e-bikes the Council hasn’t the financial capacity for these to be included in the initial expansion but we are committed to reviewing the scheme on a regular basis to see if we can implement new additions, such as e-bikes, as soon as possible. This will have to be set in the context of the overall financial position of the Council. Equally, the Council will be keeping abreast of any external funding that could help contribute to further expansion or improvements within the scheme.


A question was also received from a Member of the Public in attendance at the meeting.


4.            Question asked by Bryan Turner, a Worthing Resident


Question: The Council had already declared a Climate Emergency. Would the Leader therefore agree that it was important that residents were able to access their homes, their workplaces and their leisure facilities in a sustainable manner, along the lines of the 15 minute city concept. Did the Leader agree that the Local Plan met that objective through its focus on the social environment and economic goals.


The Leader replied that she was all for sustainable travel across the Borough. It had been necessary to defer the adoption of the Local Plan to another date but that in no way negated the importance of the plan or the information contained within it which had been developed by both sides of the chamber. The Local Plan was iterative, it took many years to develop and then once it’s adopted, we start the iterative process all over again.