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Crawley’s Mystic Joe now knows what you do and don’t like

Crawley Borough Council’s six month consultation on arts, culture and leisure saw more than 1000 residents and visitors take part.

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The consultation launched in January and was delivered through ‘Mystic Joe’, an interactive fortune teller booth created by Crawley born computational artist Joe McAlister.

Throughout the consultation, Arts and Community Development Officers and the Wellbeing Team took Mystic Joe to venues across the town including Crawley library, The Hawth, K2 Crawley, Children’s and Family Centre, community centres and events including school fetes and neighbourhood fairs.

Creative Producers for the consultation, Louise Blackwell and Naomi Alexander organised further focus groups with local businesses, young people, education providers and local cultural groups and artists.

Participants were asked a range of questions that focused on identifying gaps and gathering information on how arts and culture can be improved in the town, including:

  • What regular leisure and creative pastimes do you have?
  • If you don’t attend events and activities in Crawley, what are the reason(s) for that?
  • If you had the chance, what new creative and/or leisure experiences would you like to try in Crawley?
  • What is the most successful creative and/or leisure activity you have participated in or observed? Why did it work?
  • What’s missing from the creative and/or leisure offer in Crawley?

A report based on the huge amount of data and feedback is currently being compiled and will be available later on in the year.

From this, further work will include the creation of an arts and culture strategy for the whole town.

Cabinet member for Wellbeing, Councillor Chris Mullins’s said:

“I am delighted at the number of responses we have received to this consultation and the positive reaction to Mystic Joe. The feedback will play an integral part in informing the arts and culture strategy, something which the whole town will benefit from in the future.”

Opinion

Crawley Councillor who resigned from Labour party is…err… STILL a Labour councillor for West Sussex Council

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You are going to have to bear with me on this one because even I am struggling to understand how this is even possible or allowed – well actually it may not be if party rules are to be followed.

Remember last week when two Labour councillors resigned? Well one of them was and still is a County Councillor – so you might expect that leaving Labour and becoming an Independent would mean – well – that you have left Labour and become Independent – DUH!

Stupid thing to say isn’t it, I mean it’s obvious. What other way is there to think?

Apparently a completely different way, that’s how!

For West Sussex County Council has now confirmed that the EX-Labour Borough Councillor Karen Sudan is in-fact still representing Labour on the County Council.

How is this even allowed?

This raises a worrying and somewhat confusing rule. For if this is totally ok with local government then it means you could represent one party as a county councillor and a completely different party for the borough.

But let’s add to the mix that the Labour Rules state that in order to represent the party you MUST be a member. But Cllr Sudan is no longer a member.

There is also something else here that would not be a miss within some conspiracy theory. IF Cllr Sudan was to stop representing Labour in the County Council, then the amount paid in allowances changes dramatically. Having 5 members instead of 4 allows more than £6K in additional allowances to be paid to the groups leader.

A West Sussex County Council spokesperson said:

“Cllr Karen Sudan has informed us that she remains a member of the Labour Group on West Sussex County Council. The County Council is aware that Cllr Sudan is now an independent on Crawley Borough Council.”

So where does this leave us at the moment. Well if you are one of the voters who ticked the box for Cllr Sudan then you may be thinking, what party have I voted for, and you would not be criticised for thinking so.

What is needed is clarity of the situation…not an independent Councillor waving a Labour flag.

Both Cllr Sudan and Cllr Michael Jones have been approached for comment.

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