Plans set in motion for Bexhill town council

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The wheels have been set in motion for Bexhill to eventually have its own town council within the next three years.

On Monday (September 5), councillors on Rother District Council’s cabinet committee launched a Community Governance Review (CGR) into the proposal.

The public will also be consulted over the plans.

It follows on from the authority receiving a petition from the public last year containing 3,816 signatures.

A new steering group will be set up, made up of nine members with an independent chairman heading it.

Ahead of Monday’s meeting, council officers recommended the CGR steering committee be established, with a public consultation to be launched in January 2017, with the aim of completing the review within 12 months.

Those behind last year’s petition are calling on Rother District Council to set up an Area Committee for Bexhill, which would be made up of the elected councillors for the Bexhill’s nine wards.

Paul Courtel, a Bexhill Labour activist, who was at Monday’s meeting, said: “I’m pleased the Community Governance Review is commencing.

“It’s essential that the process is both fair and seen to be fair. I therefore think that when full council reviews the cabinet’s recommendations, it should ensure that the hearings of the working party are held in public and that there’s a fair process for appointing the independent chairman.

“Delegating the chairman’s appointment to the council’s paid directors could arguably be seen to be installing a puppet who will do their bidding by ensuring that real power remains with Rother at the expense of any new body.”

The cost of the review, including publicity materials, leaflets, posters and public meetings, is expected to cost Rother between £10,000 and £20,000.

If an Area Committee or town council is created as a result of Rother’s review, council officers recommend the changes take effect from May 2019, to coincide with the next local elections.

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