There has been a growing interest in improved governance for Bexhill culminating in the presentation of the petition last Monday to Rother District Council.
This should ensure that Rother undertakes a Community Governance Review, but what exactly does this mean and will it provide the right choice?
Bexhill Town Forum recently hosted meetings where four alternative options were considered: converting Bexhill’s wards into parishes - potentially creating nine parish councils. Such fragmentation would do little for social and civic cohesion. As reported in last week’s Observer, “this is the favoured option of Rother’s Conservatives”. Nothing like predetermination prior to a governance review!
According to the same report, the only other option acceptable to Rother’s Conservatives is to do nothing, to maintain the status quo. Hardly encouraging news to those 3816 people who signed the petition, those 3816 voters who want Bexhill to have greater control of its own affairs.
The two remaining options discussed at the meetings were Area Committees and Town Councils.
Area Committees meet to discuss issues of local interest and concern. Area Committees could be likened to talking therapies, they work extremely well when the parties concerned are honest and trust one another, but fail badly when this doesn’t occur.
The fourth option is that of the town council and if I read the mood of the last Forum meeting correctly, the most popular.
A number of new town councils have been inaugurated in recent years, several of which share similar populations and coastal locations to Bexhill, including Blyth, Canvey Island, Ramsgate and Folkestone.
As a Rye Town Councillor I have seen the benefits a town council can provide its community. I now live in Bexhill and wholeheartedly believe a town council for Bexhill is the right option, and an honest and objective analysis during the governance review will show that a town council would provide the best value for money and the long awaited democratic representation for the people of Bexhill. I believe that the future governance and sustainability of our town is far too important to be left to the vagaries of political parties and that the people of Bexhill should be given the choice through referendum once the review’s completed.”