flood-risk

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Arundel Video

Friday, 8 August 2014

Lamp Posts in Arundel

Arundel Lamp posts at threat?.
WSussex CountyCouncil have confirmed to a resident that they arn't touching any of the lamp posts in MaltraversStreet, London Road and the castle walls and most of the High Street. I am awaiting an email update on what is actually planned, they also said that they usually put on a  road show with details plans but were aware of the sensitivities in Arundel (What ever that means). There was a meeting Wednesday between WSCC,SSE(the Contractor)and Arundel Town Council.I know from correspondence that there is considerable concern at WSCC proposals and I will lobby to get a common sense  solution.I personally believe that Re-engineering the existing lamp  posts is not beyond a possibility and would    give energy saving as well as preserving the character ofthe town; this is something I am lobbying for them to do,



Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Boundaries - all change

Arundel ward is top left hand corner and is vast.

You may or may not be aware, but the Arundel & Walberton wards have had a boundary change forced
upon them by the Boundary Commission. We now have a ridiculous situation where as The Arundel and Walberton ward is being joined to make it a 3 member (Councillor) ward. It is a huge geographical area with a total of 11 parishes. (part of Angermering, Arundel, Polling, Lyminster, Warningcamp, Burpham, South Stoke, Madehurst, Houghton, Slindon, Walberton)

Residents may not be aware but District Councillors have to service the Parishes and I regularly visit Arundel Town Council, Burpham Parish, Warningcamp and Lyminster Parish Council. Norman Dingerman who is the Councillor for Walberton regularly visits Walberton, Slindon and Madehurst parishes

Arun District as a whole is reducing from 56 Councillors to 52, but I believe the Boundary Commission has missed a trick. I wanted to see a reduction from 56 to 45 which I believed would save Arun up to £250,000 and could have kept an Arundel two member ward, I made my own representations, but there wasn’t unanimity by Arun Councillors so the Boundary Commission forced its own solution on the Council.

So now we have a situation where each of us will need to service 11 parishes, unless we decide to divide the ward ourselves into areas of responsibility which defeats the whole purpose of the Boundary Commissions review.

The Conservatives have chosen their 3 candidates for the Arundel & Walberton ward, they are myself, Norman Dingerman and new Candidate Robert Wheal, Don Ayling who is the other current Arundel District Councillor didn’t put his name forward for re-selection, so our thanks need to go to him for his erstwhile service as Arundel District Councillor.

I don’t know the names of other party’s candidates yet; maybe someone from those parties can contact me so I can advise readers who they are in future articles. I would hope that we could possibly get some public hustings going when the election starts so the public can join the electoral debate, I leave that to the individual parishes to decide if they wish to do that.

Local Conservatives are holding a Curry Lunch on the 7th of September at the excellent India Gate restaurant in Arundel, Non Members are very welcome -Tickets only: £19.50pp.which includes
Papadoms, Two Courses of Indian Cuisine inc wine or beer. Bookings can be made via http://www.southdownsconservatives.com
Until next month,

Paul Dendle is Arundel Ward & Cabinet Member for Leisure & Amenities on Arun DC. He can be contacted on email pauldendle@aol.com.





Thursday, 17 July 2014

Arundel Youth Club & Learning Tree Nursery - Statement from Arundel Town Council

Arundel Town Council Statement

"We are pleased to advise that following a meeting yesterday (16 July 2014) an agreement has been reached between Arundel Youth Club and the Learning Tree, with the result that provision for both services will continue whilst the legal issues with the lease (lessor WSCC) of the premises which is used by both the Youth Club and the Learning Tree is resolved.

We extend our thanks to all parties involved in particular Cllr Dendle of Arun District Council who chaired the meeting, and look forward to a final outcome that will enhance youth and early years services in Arundel.


Commenting Cllr Dendle said “It was a difficult meeting but in the end we managed to come to a common sense solution with the goodwill of all parties”, The Mayor Cllr Tu said “This was an issue that has been of concern to us for a number of months and we are pleased to play an active role in the solution”.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Flood Fair in Arundel - Call to action

Arundel Flooding.
If you may remember, I have been pushing to try and get Flood Forum down to Arundel to advise regarding simple devices that can help build resilience for your homes, I managed to get Arun to contribute money towards the event

Mike De-Lara of the  Arundel Flood Risk Community Group has arranged for them to be at the Town Hall on the Friday the 12th of September from 4-8pm,  I would urge all residents to put this date in their diary, forewarned is forearmed and there is talk (not confirmed yet) that insurance premiums could be reduced if you install these type of devices,  it will be worth an hour of your time.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Leisure for all?

K2 in Crawley, something similar for Arun?.
When I was 11 years old, I lived in a Council house in a new town with my mother and my brother and I suppose we would be classed as a single parent family.  I used to visit my local sports centre and I took up boxing which prepared me on two levels, firstly I had more confidence to take on bully’s (giving the odd one a bloody nose), also it helped to build my character and gave me a greater insight to who I was, in other words sport really helped me develop as a rounded individual and useful member of society.
The reason I mention it is that on the 30th of June the Arun Tourism & Infrastructure working party will meet to decide on an alternative to the existing Littlehampton Sports & Swimming Centre.  The old centre is 32 years old and is showing its age and is increasingly becoming quite expensive to run.  The existing site is not in an ideal location as it does not have good transport links.
Consultants were employed to do a study on whether to replace the existing centre and if so, the best place for that centre. They have come up with a recommendation to move it to a site which is adjacent the new road that will link with the Lyminster bypass and where it crosses the A259 just between the two body shop roundabouts.   This is at the centre of where people live in Littlehampton and would be at the crossroads of north to south and east to west of bus services (a short bus ride from Arundel). 
Children like my 11 year self cannot currently easily get to the existing centre, and if we can get a building that’s bigger, better, cheaper to run and more central it would be closer to the areas where the people who really need it would benefit the most.
Birmingham city Council had an experiment a number of years ago where they gave free off peak gym membership to some adults and children, it cut obesity and did so well that the NHS decided to help fund the initiative because it helped to re-educate people to have a healthier life style which then helped cut admissions to hospital.   You could call this the nanny state, but I don’t think so, as it takes a lot of work to get fit and you really need to want to do it to succeed, but surly we as a society should give children the where for all and opportunity to do so?

Until next month, Paul Dendle is the Arundel ward member and now the Cabinet member for Leisure and Amenities, web site www.pauldendle.org & email is Pauldendle@aol.com

Monday, 2 June 2014

Arun voted Best Council in Green awards

Arun voted Best Council.
Arun District Council has been voted the best green council - after winning the Council of the Year award.  The Green Deal and Eco Awards for 2014 has recognised the council's efforts to implement green energy schemes.
The council faced stiff competition from East Renfrewshire, Fife council, London Borough of Hillingdon, Newark, Sherwood and Wirral Council.  
Councilor Paul Dendle Cabinet Member for Environmental Services Arun District Council said:
"Arun has been at the forefront of developing innovative eco schemes which have helped residents fight fuel poverty and preserve the environment. We will continue to help and encourage our residents to save money and fight climate change"

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Local Plan ramifications & difficult decisions

Arun agreed up to 580 houses per annum to be built.
Some of you may have seen the newspaper reports regarding the recent debate on the Local Plan, we had to vote on whether to agree the strategic option of providing 2000 houses Eastergate/Westergate and Barnham and also 600 houses in Angermering.

If we don’t have a local plan in place then we are vulnerable as a District for Planning by appeal, this is where a developer would put in an application on a site to the Planning authority which is rejected by local Councillors, if the Developer subsequently appeals to the planning inspectorate in Bristol, the appeal can be allowed for the sole reason that the planning authority did not have a local plan in place.

So this could get applications popping up all over the place, on Greenfield sites like Horses Field and it would be planning anarchy, also we wouldn’t get the windfalls of developer contributions to build new roads or community buildings.

This situation has arisen because the previous Labour government wanted to see more house building and designed this into the system; the coalition government also wants more house building so has allowed the system to continue.  As a country we need more houses, but this is not localism, it’s planning by duress.

 So I voted for the recommendation not because I wanted to or that I believe putting these houses in these locations was desirable, I voted for it to stop planning by appeal and I saw a vote for yes as the lesser of two evils and however I looked at the conundrum I could not see a way out.

It was not an easy or popular decision, but we couldn’t wait any longer in making a decision however unpalatable or unpopular as we have already had a number of applications approved on appeal.

Until next month,

Paul Dendle is Arundel Ward and Cabinet Member for the Environment on Arun DC.   He can be contacted on email pauldendle@aol.com.




  

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Arundel's Retail Environment

Tarrant Street Arundel, possible
 Pedestrian friendly area?
I am writing this article in the run up to the referendum on the Arundel Neighbourhood plan, hopefully the referendum gave a strong yes vote and the town has again established itself as being a the forefront of other communities in leading the way.

The Neighbourhood plan will dovetail into Arun’s local plan and will be a comprehensive master-plan for the town’s development, detailing economic, housing, planning and community development.

  I have heard that the Nat West branch in Arundel (part of the RBS group) is cutting its hours to be virtually a part time branch. I suppose this is inevitable in the Internet age, but I have never understood why the big banks never got together to share branches and cut costs, even joining with Royal Mail, you could have banking centres with branded bank teller windows and shared utilities.

But with many things in our town, if we don’t use it we will lose it so there is a need for us to support local business, but I also think there are opportunities for business’s to join together and create delivery networks to compete with the large Internet offerings from the supermarkets.  But in many ways as I have stated before I believe Arundel is in the post retail stage of development and well placed to take advantage of the leisure shopper looking for a destination experience rather than just doing essential shopping.

I have been told that the two Arundel 20mph zones are progressing and will come about sometime in late 2015, this is something I have been campaigning for nearly four years, I have heard that similar zones in other towns have cut road injuries by 23%, I know that all the people won’t go at 20mph, but if they go at 25mph instead of 35mph then that’s progress and something to celebrate and will make out streets more civilised and safer.

We also need to move more quickly on the Leisure strategy recommendations for Arundel and implement them to allow the town to move to a pedestrian friendly street scene with more alfresco dining opportunities, we have a good quality of life in Arundel, but we can make it better. 

  Until next month, Paul Dendle is Arundel Ward & Cabinet Member on Arun District Council and can be contacted at his email Pauldendle@aol.com  www.pauldendle.org


Tuesday, 25 March 2014

My Letter to Nick Clegg regarding Cllr.Opplers decision to sanction Mrs Warr's winter holiday expenses

Mail-onLine article regarding Mrs Warr's expences.
Link to Mail-on-line
I have written to Nick Clegg the deputy Prime Minister regarding Cllr Francis Opplers role as leader of the Lib Dem group on Arun District Council,  Cllr Oppler sanctioned Mrs Warr's conduct in claiming expenses whilst holidaying for the Winter months for at least the last seven years.

Cllr Oppler does not seem to think that Mrs Warr has done anything wrong, so I have sent the following letter to the Bognor Observor which I publish below.

I am hoping they will print it and I am hoping Cllr Oppler will make some sort of public statement regarding his role in this scandal.




                             

                          Cllr. Paul Dendle

Budds Corner 84 Burpham West Sussex BN18 9RH
Email: pauldendle@aol.com    www.pauldendle.org
         

The Editor
Bognor Observer
Place St.Maur
Belmont Street
Bognor Regis
PO21 1BJ

20th March 2014

Dear Editor

Re:  Expense Scandal

I felt again compelled to write after reading Cllr Francis Opplers recent statements regarding Councillor Mrs Warr’s expense claims whilst spending the winter in Florida.

Cllr Oppler states that Mrs Warr went away for health reasons, I’m sorry I can’t accept that, it’s not compulsory to claim your expenses and Mrs Warr has gone away for 4 months in winter for at least the last 7 years.  By claiming her expenses shows a systematic disregard for the public purse and tax payer.

Cllr Oppler sanctioned Mrs Warr’s expense claims which is shocking, but he does not seem to think that Mrs Warr has done anything wrong,  He tries to divert attention from his own lack of judgement and Mrs Warr’s claims by trying to smear Conservative Councillors who simply live in two places and spend their weekends away.

Mrs Warr’s claims were not illegal, but I believe they were indefensible, but also
I believe there are direct parallels to the MP’s expense scandal; many MP’s defended their claims stating that their claims were within the rules and legal, but as elected representatives we all have to hold ourselves to a higher standard.

Cllr Oppler needs to consider his position and accept that what has happened is wrong, until he makes a public statement to that affect, then no one will be able to take him seriously as Leader of the Lib Dems on Arun District or the Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate

Yours Faithfully

Cllr. Paul Dendle
Arundel Ward & Cabinet Member

For the Environment on Arun DC

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Local Government structure

2010 election results by political colours.
Before I was elected I knew very little of the structure of our local government and forgive me if I am wrong, but I believe most people don’t either.

In West Sussex we have a three tier structure with the Parish at the lowest level with the District at next level and West Sussex County Council at the top.  In the Arundel ward there are currently six parishes which are either a Parish meeting (Burpham, Warningcamp, South Stoke & Houghton), a Parish Council (Lyminster) or a Town Council (Arundel),  Parishes are Planning consultees and give their opinion to the planning authority (In Arun District that’s either Arun or the South Downs National Park), Parishes are responsible for community based buildings, like village halls or the Arundel Town Hall they also work with Arun and West Sussex County Council on delivering local based services.  The Parish is financed through your Council tax bill through the parish precept

Local Election Ballot Box.
At the next level is Arun District which covers many different services, they are the billing authority so collect Council tax on behalf of all the other authorities, e.g. West Sussex County Council (about 78%)   Arun District (About 11%) and then the Police Authority (about 9%) and the balance to the Parish.  Arun has many different service responsibilities which include, Planning, Housing (Arun has about 3500 council houses known as Social Housing), Affordable Housing, Street Cleansing, Weekly Refuse, Public Conveniences, Leisure Centres, Theatres, leisure Green spaces and parks, Civil Parking enforcement, Car Parks, Well Being agenda, Costal Flooding, Benefits (Council Tax and Housing benefit), Internal Drainage, Drinks Licensing, Taxi Licensing, Environmental Health, Pest Control, Regeneration, I could go on, but we also liaise and work closely with the Police and West Sussex County Council and we deliver all this just under £3. Per week for a Band D household.

At the top is West Sussex County Council which covers Schools & Education, Highways, Social care, Public Transport, Libraries, Children care and Adoption services, Youth Services,  Flooding  (River, Surface and ground source), Waste processing, local waste centres, delivery of government economic initiatives like Rural Broadband and business grants
Local government is much more efficient than Central government, but the obvious question is could local government be delivered more efficiently, Well I think it could, unitary authorities like Cornwall avoid duplication and can have a more coherent view, but whether unitary councils should be county wide is another question, some counties have super borough or city  councils like Havant, Portsmouth or Winchester, I believe there are opportunities to have a super District unitary that would stretch from Chichester to Shoreham that would cut the number of Councillors, save money and be more joined up.


Until next month, Paul Dendle is Arundel Ward & Cabinet Member on Arun District Council and can be contacted at his email Pauldendle@aol.com 

Friday, 21 February 2014

Flooding & Climate Change


Building the Rock Revetment at Pagham.
I am writing this report in mid February and the country is being buffeted by storms and rain, I don’t think I have been busier as a Councillor; one of my Cabinet responsibilities is flooding, so I have been immersed in problems at Pagham with the Coastal erosion, Littlehampton West Bank and Arundel.

Homes at Pagham have been at risk of being washed away  by the sea and I have attended a number of meetings in Pagham spoken with many residents who are justly worried about their homes.  

Nick Herbert MP held a flood summit in January at Arundel’s town hall, amongst attendee’s were Michael Tu Mayor, West Sussex County Council  (WSCC) Cabinet Members, officers, Arun officers, myself, Environment Agency (EA) Officers, Derek Waller and other affected local residents.  

It was a positive meeting, the problems over Christmas were discussed which were mainly surface water, but also down to faulty flaps on the river wall which allowed water to rise up the very pipes that were supposed to take it away.

Future defences were discussed, the £10m required for these in the next twenty years and the £23M over the next 100 years.  Readers of this column will be aware that I am keen for the community to take control of the situation by raising the Town Council precept (There share of the council tax) by £26 per household per year and raising £500k over 10 years.
This would put Arundel in the driving seat in raising money from WSCC, Arun, EA, Business, Network Rail, The Highways Agency etc etc, I am hoping there will be a debate in the town and that the Town Council can decide to proceed with proposals starting in March of 2015.

Also Arun via the Arundel Flood Risk Community group is paying for the Flood Forum to bring their road show to the Arundel farmers market (Date to be confirmed), The flood Forum have been in Littlehampton and show low cost devices like air brick covers, devices to seal toilets against sewerage overflow, door slats for flooding and waterproof doors.
I have been pushing for over a year the EA to dredge the rifes which cover the district, by building capacity this will help with flooding in general. We need to build up resilience at all levels to deal with situations which will could become more regular with climate change, by working together we can protect ourselves and our communities.

 Until next month, Paul Dendle is Arundel Ward & Cabinet Member on Arun District Council and can be contacted at his email Pauldendle@aol.com 

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

The Cabinet system and my responsibilities as Cabinet member for the Environment

The Cabinet system was introduced by the previous government,  Arun currently has 56 councillors, of those there is a Cabinet with 7 members.  The Cabinet includes the Leader, the Deputy leader and five other members.  The Cabinet Member has a list of responsibilities in their portfolio and they act as the political voice for those responsibilities and should be well versed and in the command of their portfolio.

Officers take a steer from the Cabinet member, but ultimately all decisions have to be agreed by the various committee's and ultimately by the Full Council.

I love being a Cabinet member as it allows me to be fully involved in any issue and allows me to suggest innovative ways forward, I can make individual cabinet member decisions and  make a difference.

Tourism, one of my Cabinet responsibilities.
My Cabinet Portfolio responsibilities are

Tourism
Land Charges
Environmental Health
Cleansing
Car Parking and Car Parks
Leisure Management including Leisure Centres
Parks and Greenspace
Emergency Planning
Children, Young People ^& Safeguarding
Youth Council
Culture
Events
Leisure Strategy
Engineering (Including flood defences)
Day Centres
Voluntary Sector

Thursday, 23 January 2014

The Arundel Bypass the Past & the Future

Previous Crossbush A27works 2 years ago.
Many people ask me when if ever the Arundel Bypass will be built. I believe it will take us 10 years to deliver this important infrastructure, the government to their credit has announced a feasibility study for providing a by-pass, but due to civil servants dragging their feet, it won’t report until 2015. How many studies have we had over the last ten years? and how much has that cost?  I despair with our civil service and I believe Britain prospers despite the civil service.

 But more importantly I believe the residents of Arundel should more worry about the route the By-pass will take. The Department Of Transport back in the early nineties set the Pink Blue route as the preferred route and all levels of local government (County, District and Arundel Towns councils) have supported this.

Twenty years ago when the dual carriageway to Crossbush was built the Arundel Bypass was weeks away from being started, but was scuppered by local campaigners who managed to get the government to cancel the by-pass and have left us with increasingly an unworkable status quo.
In 2003 in a personal meeting, the then Arundel MP (Howard Flight) was promised by the Secretary of State Alistair Darling that he would in two days give the approval to the by-pass using the Pink Blue route.
Two days later in a statement to the House of Commons, Alistair Darling reneged on that promise saying the following
   "The Arundel bypass would cut across water meadows damaging an area of Outstanding beauty. I am rejecting this proposal......In my view [it] has environmental consequences that are unacceptable and avoidable. There are problems [on this] road, and I am therefore asking the Highways Agency to identify [an] alternative solution, recognising the need to support planned
economic growth"

In a follow up written statement he said the following

 "The Secretary of State does not support ... a bypass at Arundel ...as currently recommended by the study. A bypass of Arundel would have negative impacts on heritage and landscape as well as the water environment. The Secretary of State is therefore asking the Highways Agency to work with local authorities and Statutory Environmental Bodies to identify less damaging options .. and to report back to him."

You will note the change from:

"The Arundel bypass would cut across water meadows damaging an area of outstanding beauty" to "A bypass of Arundel would have negative impacts on heritage and landscape as well as the water environment".

The point is that the area to the South of Arundel was never in the AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), and this suggests that Alistair Darling took his House of Commons words directly from a last-minute Countryside Agency/Defra/Margaret Beckett memo rather than from an accurate and thought-out piece of advice from his officials and those at the Highways Agency. NB - Margaret Beckett was senior to him in both the Cabinet and the Labour Party!
Pink Blue route.

The Past is the past and we can’t change that, but unfortunately the Highways Agency is trying to open the route question again and to have a partial online solution.   This would involve taking a dual carriageway to the bottom of Hospital hill and then taking the route from there offline to Crossbush via a new bridge and south of the railway station.

This is something I and local MP Nick Herbert have been fighting against; I also believe that the residents of Arundel would rather have NO bypass than have this route imposed on them.  This is something I believe as a community we have to reject and tell the Highways Agency that we want the Pink Blue Route which is still the preferred route, minor tweaks I believe we can live with, but not a major re-alignment of the route.   I will fight and campaign to ensure this happens to the best of my ability.

Until next month, Paul Dendle is Arundel Ward & Cabinet Member on Arun District Council and can be contacted at his email Pauldendle@aol.com 


Monday, 30 December 2013

Sustainable Transport

Ford Railway Station, under used asset?.
I am writing this report at the beginning of December, but by the time you read this it will be the end of December, so I hope you had a good Christmas and I wish you all a prosperous New year.

I am in the process of setting up a new flight business at Ford (Loloflights.co.uk) and interestingly Arun comes in the top five for new business start-ups, so Arun should have a bright economic future once we get a few infrastructure issues sorted.  My Broadband at home is so slow, but at Ford Airfield my business has fibre optic and what takes me time to make a cup of tea at home happens in seconds at Ford. 

I have been pushing for a date from West Sussex County Council regarding the roll out of Broadband and specifically the upgrading of the Arundel Exchange to Fibre Optic.  I have not yet got a date for the Arundel Exchange, but all the rural roll out should be completed by early 2016.

Whilst we wait for the various government studies and civil service machinery to come up with the Arundel By-Pass, we need to boost other infrastructure,  Broadband will make a huge economic difference to the area, but also we need to use the assets we already have better.

I have been pushing to use Ford station as  a new transport hub, there is room for a car park and there could be high speed services from Ford to London, if trains only stopped at Horsham, Gatwick, East Croydon and Clapham Junction you should be able to shave the journey time down to 1hr 10 minutes.  If the car park was free, I believe it would be a great incentive to get people off the road and on to rail.  

Network Rail in their  regular negative approach have said that Ford doesn’t justify a new Car Park, but they have just created some hard core for maintenance at the crossing and this could easily and cheaply be turned into a car park.  If we could then build the cycleway from Ford Station to Arundel and also in the other direction to the A259 cycleway then we not only underpin sustainable transport for commuters, we also create something to support tourism. 

There is already a new cycleway planned that will go from Arundel Station to the Arundel wildfowl centre that will start construction in the New Year, Mike De Lara the ex Chairman of the Arundel Community Partnership has been the principle driver behind this.  I have been supporting this and Mike has managed to get generous support from the Arundel estate as well as from the West Sussex County Council and the Highways Agency.  But also I hear that due to government funding that there may be hire bikes provided at Arundel Station along the lines of Boris bikes in London.  This will truly start to make Arundel a cycling centre which will help build our health and prosperity, a good thought for the new year. .
Until next month, Paul Dendle is Arundel Ward & Cabinet Member on Arun District Council and can be contacted at his email Pauldendle@aol.com  

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Fracking Facts - yes to Fracking?

Fracking how it works.
A couple of years ago I read an interesting article in the Spectator regarding Shale gas and how Fracking had transformed the energy market and cut American gas prices in half, this had resulted in the term re-shoring where manufacturing business’s were returning to the US as the reduction in costs had transformed the economic prospects for manufacturing in the USA

So it was with some alarm when I read the stories from various eco lobby groups regarding the “dangerous chemicals” that that were used in the Fracking process. So I thought it should be something I should find out about and the South Downs National Park’s invitation to Arun to attend a seminar regarding gas and oil exploration seemed an ideal opportunity to find out the facts.

Peter Style, Professor in Applied and Environmental Geophysics at Keele University, explained that the “dangerous chemicals” were in fact ordinary water, sand, lemon juice (Acidic acid), gum (as in fruit gum) and salt. He also explained that shale gas was the same as North Sea natural gas and to extract this gas water is pumped into the ground at very high pressure which causes fissions in the rock (cracks) which released the gas.  The water and the gas is then sucked out, the water is used again in a repeat of the process and the gas is stored for energy use
Oil has been extracted locally in Sussex since early in the 20th century, there are strict rules in how the drill hole is configured, three layers of  3  quarter inch steel piping is used with layers of concrete in-between, the drill goes way below the water table and if configured to governments rules correctly, cannot pollute the water table.  In fact in all the decades that this has happened in Sussex, I am not aware of any polluting of the water table, Fracking extraction will follow the same rules in drilling.

In the UK we have some real energy structural problems, for many years we have had fuel security and cheap gas and oil from the North Sea and because of this we have had a ready reservoir of gas.  But our supplies have declined and we are now importing a large percentage of our gas at the world spot price.  We only have 14 days of gas storage in the UK where as France and Germany have more than 100 day’s storage.  We should have built storages facilities and new nuclear stations, this leaves us exposed to world spikes in gas prices and because we only have 14 days storage, we have no choice when we buy, where as Germany can take advantage of the peaks and troughs and buy when the price is best. So it is with irritation that I see Ed Miliband pronouncing on the energy market, when as Energy secretary he never made the difficult decisions of building gas storage or new nuclear power stations.

Hard pressed family’s need a reliable and cheap source of energy, I believe shale gas provides us with fuel security and an alternative to dirty coal. Also an overlooked fact is as a result of displacement of coal in the USA, all the dirty coal that is being mined in the US is being sold to the UK; undermining our own coal industry and encouraging generators to burn high carbon coal instead of much lower carbon gas

I think because the last government, particularly Ed Miliband didn’t make the difficult decisions on our energy infrastructure that’s we are in greater danger of blackouts because of this, but this can probably be mitigated by building quick build gas power stations, but this will make us more reliant on gas and volatile world spot markets unless we decide to develop Fracking.  But if this happens there has to be a big financial payback to Sussex communities to compensate them for development, not the meagre £100,000 that the government is currently talking about.  So many of our politicians are sitting on the fence on this subject, what we need is clear leadership and decisive action, so for the record I am in favour of Fracking, so lets get on with it.


Until next month’s report, you can  contact me via email Pauldendle@aol.com   Paul Dendle is Arundel Ward & Cabinet Member for the Environment on Arun District Council.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Arun Local Plan

Arun is still to decide on its local plan, the current evidence in the SMHA (Strategic Housing
Arun's Local Plan.
Market Assessment
) says that we should build for the next 15 years 565 houses per annum,   currently we are building  725 last year and already there are permissions in place to build many thousands of houses in new estates in north Littlehampton.


The Local Plan process was designed by the previous government in an attempt to get more houses built; the current coalition government has gone along with that process because they want new housing.  But locally there is rightly resistance to building houses for people who come from outside the district to settle here and then commute to Gatwick, Brighton or Portsmouth.

As a District Council we want more jobs and are willing to build houses for those people, but we don’t see it as our duty to be Gatwick’s dormitory.   Any numbers we agree will be subject to agreement by an Inspector and if we set the number too low, then our plan will be rejected.
Why does this matter?  Because then we are open house for any speculative developers who want to build on any site, yes we can reject it in our planning process, but if they then go to law which is what they are increasing doing, then because we don’t have a local plan in place, the judge will decide in favour of the developer and award costs against Arun.  That’s tax payer monies going down the drain and is not a way to run a planning system.   Arundel has an issue with Horses Field, but because Arun does not have a Local plan in place it is at risk of a speculative application.

As Councillors we are between a rock and a hard place, the electorate can’t understand why we would agree to build houses in these numbers on one side, and developers who don’t want to see our local plan succeed and take advantage of the situation.

 I have not made a decision yet  (As this would be pre-determination and would preclude me from the debate and vote), but I am increasingly coming to the conclusion that we have to agree a plan as soon as possible and one that will get past the Inspector.  I also personally believe that these houses should be the highest ecological rating (eco code 5 or 6) as this may be a break of sorts on the developers and will ensure that we get a quality sustainable build.  It’s a difficult call either way, but I will listen to residents and then take a view.

On another matter, the local Conservative branch is holding a social event at Sage Restaurant on the 2-8 Castle Mews in Tarrant Street, Nick Herbert MP will be there to speak. The cost is  £29.50pp for two courses which also includes a welcome glass of sparkling wine, if anyone wants to attend (You don’t have to be a member)  then contact Mr Bruce Henderson, Branch Treasurer  tel: 01903 882928  or email  bruceghenderson@gmail.com

Paul Dendle is the Arundel ward & Cabinet member for the Environment on Arun DC.  He can be contacted at Pauldendle@aol.com and his web site is www.pauldendle.org






Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Tourism is the future

Bruges Cafe
I write this article at 36,000 feet on my return from my summer holiday to Greece, with all its economic problems it’s still such an idyllic place and I believe the route out of its economic mess will be a future based on tourism.

One of my Arun Cabinet responsibilities is tourism development with that in mind I think of home and Arundel, The Festival was a great success and thanks go to Ash and Andy and all the other organisers of the festival. Arundel really does punch above its weight in the tourism stakes, the food festival is coming in October and Arundel has its own tourism logo and a well developed brand. 

The nation’s high streets have to adapt to a post retail environment where a good proportion of what we buy is on line and shopping areas have to be leisure destinations as well as providing convenient places to purchase goods and services.  I believe Arundel is well in front of other towns having had to change over the last two decades adapting to economic forces that have made the town very much tourism focused.

Brugge, Belguim.
A few years ago the Town Council, Arundel Community Partnership and the Chamber of commerce came together with Arun to form the Arundel Visitor Strategy group (AVSG) under the excellent Chairmanship of James Stewart, I was very proud that Arundel led the way and showed the District the way forward, Money was sourced from the EU to fund a Public relations company and to design the logo.  The food festival was one of the products of the AVSG.  This built on the existing tourism cornerstones that were already established like the restaurants, pubs and hotels as well as cultural and art events like the festival.

 Recently Arun District completed its leisure strategy and Arundel’s street scene was a major focus in the strategy.  It is envisaged that Arundel could be very much like some of the market towns in the Belgium or Holland with space for pavement cafe’s and making some streets pedestrian friendly without kerbs and this I believe will give the town a boost, but also Green tourism will be a major growth area with more walkers and cyclists as well as the local population being able to use new cycleways.

With the new museum building acting as a tourism hub and the visitor information service helping direct tourists to use the various tourism business’s will only aid tourism, but also this tied to Arun’s well developed web brand sussexbysea.com and with Arundel only 50 odd miles from one of the richest and most densely populated cities in the EU, then I believe Arundel has a great future with tourism being a major economic growth driver.

Until next month, Paul Dendle is Arundel Ward & Cabinet Member on Arun District Council and can be contacted at his email Pauldendle@aol.com  

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Your right to vote - Register or loose it

The existing arrangements for compiling the Register of Electors are due for a major
Your Vote, Use it or loose it
 change in 2014 through the introduction of individual elector registration (IER).  This change allows residents to take individual responsibility and control of their right to vote.  This will replace the household registration scheme which has been open to abuse.  Under the new arrangements each person will be asked to give their name, national insurance number and date of birth, this information is then verified against Department of Works and pension’s data for your eligibility to vote.

Arun has a low registration level compared to other Districts in West Sussex with only 82.7% of the population registering and there will be a major push to improve on that figure.  Many residents do not want to vote and can’t be bothered to go through the registration policy, but I believe they are missing a trick.

The credit checking companies use electoral registration as a major part of building credit records, so if you are not registered to vote and wonder why a recent credit agreement was refused, this may be the reason.

The coming elections are the European elections in May 2014 for the election of Members to the European Parliament and the General Election for the election of our MP and local elections for Arun District in 2015; this is when yours truly will stand for re-election to Arun District.  So I would urge all residents if you’re not already registered to register and vote at the next election, but even if you don’t register for poorly altruistic reasons, then register to improve your credit rating.  If you need to register, then letters are being sent out by Arun to all households, but you can get information on the Arun web site  www.arun.gov.uk and look for the Council and Democracy page and then go to the bottom right hand corner and look for the register of electors.

Until next months report, you can contact me via email Pauldendle@aol.com



   

Friday, 26 July 2013

Arundel Flood Risk – Call to Action

Arundel Flood Risk .
In my June article I highlighted the flood risk to Arundel and the costs that were needed to put defences in place (£10m for next 10 years, £23M for the next 50 years). 

I highlighted that due to the new government rules that only 31% of the money will be provided by central government through the Environment Agency and the rest would have to be provided locally.  When I say locally that should include West Sussex County Council (WSCC), Arun District Council (ADC) and the Town Council (ATC), as well as local businesses and households.

With this in mind, we need to ensure that WSCC take the lead role in driving the funding partnership, ADC and ATC have roles to play, but firstly we need acknowledgement from WSCC that it needs to take the lead role, so I have asked Mike De-Lara (ex Chairman of Arundel Community Partnership) to form a community group to pressure our councils to come together and provide a route map and plan for raising the money and implementing the works that are needed.

The new group is being called the Arundel Flood Risk Community Group (AFRCG) and is hoping to hold a public meeting at the Town Hall at the end of September, I hope all residents will attend, but certainly those from the 400 or so households and businesses that are at short, medium and long-term flood risk.

I believe as well as planning for the future flood defences that householders should take their own steps to protect their homes, if you are renovating your home, then move the plugs and sockets to a higher level but also Arun has been holding road shows recently on protecting your home with simple products, e.g. airbrick covers, waterproof slats for doors, toilet seals, etc, etc
As a community we will need to get ahead of the curve, ATC is likely to have to provide some 10% of the funds, so I believe there should be an increase in the precept per household of about £26pa (50p per week).  This would provide a yearly total of about £30k which with compound interest can grow to £420,000 over 10 years. Also those households and businesses at risk will have to be prepared to make individual contributions.

The important thing to realise is that with no local contributions, there will be no Government contribution, and that therefore the flood risk to the people, homes and businesses in Arundel will remain unabated.

So let’s ensure Arundel is in the headlines for the fantastic place it is to live and visit, and not as a centre of flooding with television crews recording the misery of flooded out homes.
Until next month, my email is Pauldendle@aol.com

  

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