From: Paul Courtel, Amherst Road, Bexhill
Overwhelming response needed’
Rother’s Community Governance Review Steering Group met on August 10 to finalise arrangements for stage 2 of the Community Governance Review.
Councillors seem to have decided to make it as difficult as possible for Bexhill residents to respond. Yet the deputy leader, Councillor Martin Kenward (Conservative, Kewhurst) has made it clear that an “overwhelming response” would be needed to persuade councillors to consider backing any change.
There will be a six-week consultation period from Friday, September 1, 2017 to Friday, October 13, 2017 at 4:30pm. People who live or work in Bexhill are being asked to tick a box, as well as providing their names and addresses to deter duplicate responses. They will be provided with four choices: no change, a town council for Bexhill, a Rother Area Committee of Bexhill Councillors or four Parish Councils splitting Bexhill into North, South, East and West.
The main problem is how to express a preference. It can either be done online on the Rother website, or on a Rother issued postcard. Postcards will only be available from Rother Council reception or from an elected Rother Councillor representing a Bexhill ward.
A motion at Full Council, supported by every conservative councillor, had decided that the stage 2 consultation should be conducted “at no additional cost” to the council. This meant that the proposal to send explanatory literature to every household in Bexhill could not proceed.
D4B (Democracy for Bexhill) is valiantly filling the breach by producing, printing and delivering explanatory literature to every household in Bexhill at no cost to Rother.
The project is being entirely funded by donations from Bexhill residents.
The chairman of D4B, Councillor Doug Oliver (Independent, Collington), offered to print postcards, designed by Rother Council and returnable to Rother Council, at D4B’s expense and to deliver them to every household at no cost to Rother. But Councillor Gill Johnson (Conservative, Bexhill Old Town) argued that this offer would be open to fraud. Consequently, none of the Conservative councillors, nor Councillor Charles Clark (Independent, St Michael’s) were willing to back this proposal.
Yet Councillor Johnson and her Conservative colleagues were entirely relaxed about postcards being given to Rother councillors representing Bexhill wards.
The inference must be that Rother Conservative councillors consider themselves a more ethical breed than the leadership of D4B who would not be liable to committing fraud.