Bexhill’s future governance discussed at meeting

Doug Stevenson and Rachel Hills from Democracy4Bexhill at its pop-up shop. Picture by Margaret Garcia
Doug Stevenson and Rachel Hills from Democracy4Bexhill at its pop-up shop. Picture by Margaret Garcia

The future governance of the town was the main topic of discussion at a packed public meeting hosted by Bexhill Town Forum on Friday (February 10).

The event at St Peter’s Community Hall, which saw scores of attendees, was held to encourage public participation in a consultation that lists a number of options, one of which could see Bexhill have its own town council.

At the meeting, Malcolm Johnston, Rother District Council’s executive director for resources, said: “We have started a process that enables the council to review and put in place or make changes to community governance systems and structures.

“It is a process that must be completed in 12 months but could well mean retaining the status quo.”

The review is a four phase process, which includes a general consultation ending mid-March, consideration and recommendations on options by the review panel followed by a second public consultation on the recommendations during June/July with final ones being considered and agreed by the district council by the end of the year.

The council’s original decision last year to conduct a review under an independent chairman had been reinforced by a 4,000-strong petition from the public for an Area Committee for Bexhill.

In his presentation Trevor Leggo, chief executive of Sussex and Surrey Association of Local Councils, said the review panel had a range of options to consider from a single parish council that could become a town council, to a number of parish councils reflecting the geography of Bexhill, or do nothing and maintain the status quo.

After the presentations, Christine Bayliss, chairman of Bexhill Town Forum, moderated a searching question and answer session to the key speakers.

Democracy4Bexhill, the campaign group calling for better governance for Bexhill, has also opened a pop-up information hub at 33 Western Road to promote Rother District Council’s review into how Bexhill is run.

Funded by members, the group has taken out a licence to use the premises up to and including Saturday (February 18).

The main aim of Democracy4Bexhill is to raise the profile of Rother District Council’s Community Governance Review for the town and generate interest in the options that will be put to the public as part of the consultation.

Doug Stevenson, one of the founder members of the group, said: “Democracy4Bexhill has taken it upon itself to inform as many people as possible about the review.

“The shop is open from 10am through to 4pm every day and is staffed by volunteers who will take members of the public through the process and explain the options.”

Since the hub has been open Democracy4Bexhill has signed up more than 500 residents to take part in the review.

Stage one of the Community Governance Review closes at the end of March with a further period of consultation planned for the summer when residents will get the chance to vote on shortlisted options for future governance.

Democracy4Bexhill said taking part in the first stage ensures residents are registered for the voting stage of the review.

For more information about Democracy4Bexhill ring 01424 218250 or 07917 845737.

Further information on the list of options can be found on Bexhill Town Forum’s website at bexhilltownforum.co.uk/news/latest-updates.

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1) Make our website your homepage at www.bexhillobserver.net/

2) Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/bexhillobserver

3) Follow us on Twitter @BexhillObs

4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!

The Bexhill Observer - always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.