Labour backs Bexhill town council in governance review

Labour Party candidates for the May county council elections Andy Batsford, Richard Sage and Sam Coleman along with party members Margaret Tippin and David Gee. photo courtesy of Bexhill and Battle Labour Party SUS-170103-173557001
Labour Party candidates for the May county council elections Andy Batsford, Richard Sage and Sam Coleman along with party members Margaret Tippin and David Gee. photo courtesy of Bexhill and Battle Labour Party SUS-170103-173557001

Bexhill Labour Party responded to governance review consultation with a resounding vote in favour of reintroducing a town council.

The party’s detailed views were handed to Rother District Council’s offices at Bexhill Town Hall by prospective Labour councillors and members on Tuesday (February 28).

Labour argues Bexhill lost out when its council was abolished in 1974 and the current arrangements are remote and are not respected by residents.

Bexhill and Battle constituency party branch vice chairman Christine Bayliss said: “Who actually tells people they live in Rother? I’m a Bexhillian and very proud of my town.”

The community governance review is looking into how Bexhill is governed, with a town council among multiple options as well as an area committee.

A public consultation has been open since January 9, and ends on March 31.

Branch chairman and candidate for Bexhill East in the May county council elections Conor Hill believes a town council is needed to ensure residents get a say in future development.

“A lot of development is taking place in our area and it’s important that local people get to make decisions about how the effects are mitigated,” he said.

The key proposals in Labour’s response are:

• Re-introduction of a town council to restore civic pride and build on the strength of Bexhill’s vibrant voluntary community.

• Locate its offices in an empty shop or office in the town centre to save money and rotate council meetings around the town so communities in Little Common, Sidley and Pebsham can access local democracy.

• A town council should start by looking after services currently paid for by Bexhill’s special expenses, such as parks, recreation grounds and allotments, and draw up a neighbourhood plan.

Andy Batsford, who is standing in Bexhill North in the upcoming elections said: “As someone born and bread in Sidley I know how badly let down the residents of Sidley and North Bexhill feel by the current out of touch tory councillors.”

Bexhill South candidate Richard Sage added: “Parking is a big issue in Bexhill South.

“A town council could stand-up to a county council more intent on cutting funding than providing services the town needs.”

Game of Thrones actor and candidate Sam Coleman said: “Because of Tory cuts, services for young people are non-existent in Bexhill.

“If a town council had support from the community – it could press the county council to do much more”

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