Bexhill Town Forum talking governance

Six experts sat in the firing line during two hours of questions in the third session on Bexhill’s prospects for greater local governance.

Now the petition for a review has been submitted to Rother District Council and the Leader has given assurance this will take place, Bexhill Town Forum is keen to learn what the outcome may be for Bexhill. In an Any Questions format at St Peter’s Community Centre, councillors Stuart Earl, Sue Prochak, Sam Souster, Simon Elford, Keith Stevens and ex-councillor Diane Smith talked about the need for open and fair review, and felt it should end with a referendum.

The choices are between:

- A town council which would be a single governing unit representing all Bexhill. Voluntary councillors would be elected. It sets a precept and spends from its own budget, and can accept powers and responsibilities transferred to it from RDC. It would need premises and paid staff.

- Parish Councils, with multiple parish councils set up, each being responsible for only a part of Bexhill. There might be one per actual parish, or parishes could be merged to create a smaller number of administrative parishes. Each would set a precept and spend from its own budget. They would have limited powers transferred. Parishes require clerks, possibly working for multiple parishes.

- An area committee for Bexhill would consist of 18 district councillors who comprise the Charter Trustees. It would have no budget or absolute powers but would be an effective influencer of the district council, which the current Charter is not able to be.

- Maintaining the status quo - the fourth option is for no change at all so RDC would remain as it is. If the review resulted in the conclusion that none of the above would be suitable for Bexhill then more use could be made of existing organisations, giving them greater influence.

A Bexhill Town Forum spokesman said: “We have a long way to go before we will see change in how Bexhill is governed but the journey has started and the Town Forum will keep close to it and regularly update the public on its progress.”