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History in the making as Labour & Conservatives agree to run Crawley council together

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In what can only be considered a ‘historic’ agreement, the leaders of the two main parties, Labour and Conservatives, have reached an agreement on how Crawley council will be run.

In a joint statement from both the leaders they say:

“Crawley is facing greater challenges than it has ever known before in the life of the New Town. We are in the midst of a pandemic, with thousands of local jobs at risk, and a multi-million pound budget gap in the council’s finances has opened up in the fight against COVID-19.

Against this backdrop, the council has moved into No Overall Control, leaving no party able to govern by itself. This risks paralysis at the very time the community needs it most.

In these unprecedented times, we as elected representatives owe it to those we serve to put party politics to one side and focus on getting the town through this crisis. This agreement ensures the council has the stability it needs to address the problems our community is facing, leaving it to the voters to decide who controls the council at the local elections next May.

Peter Lamb, Leader of the Labour Group
Duncan Crow, Leader of the Conservative Group

So what does this mean?

Under this agreement:

• Crawley Borough Council will retain a Labour administration with the Leader and Cabinet remaining Labour members.

• The Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Cabinet members will be entitled to the same level of briefing from senior officers as the Leader and members of the Cabinet.

• A detailed list of items due to come before the council will be made available to the Shadow Cabinet.

• The Conservative Group will be providing confidence and supply to the administration and will be invited to send representatives (the Leader of the Opposition, supported by members of his Shadow Cabinet) to agree reports set to come before the council, including the Budget.

• The Leader of the Opposition will second the Budget at Full Council.

• There will be ‘joint accountability for joint decision making’, it will be recognised that neither group is individually responsible for a collective decision.

• Prior notification will no longer be required for the Leader of the Opposition to speak on an item at Cabinet, with the same right extended to Shadow Cabinet members on reports under their portfolio.

• In addition to the Leader and Cabinet posts, Labour Group nominees will receive the following roles: Deputy Mayor, Chair of Licensing, Vice-Chair of OSC, Vice-Chair of Planning, Vice-Chair of Governance, and Vice-Chair of Audit.

• Conservative Group nominees will receive the following roles: Mayor, Chair of OSC, Chair of Planning, Chair of Governance, Chair of Audit, and Vice-Chair of Licensing.

• Cllr Bob Lanzer will become Chair of the Neighbourhood Parades Scrutiny Panel.

• Agreement in principle that later in the year, work would occur (possibly via a constitutional change/ Notice of Motion) over the requirement for a more proportionate system for Chairs/Vice chair arrangements going forward.

• In the event of a hung-council at the 2021 Local Elections, the casting vote of the Mayor or Deputy Mayor will not be used to determine the next Mayor and political control until new talks have been held between the groups.

• Groups will avoid moving single-party motions at Full Council meetings.

Business

‘no longer commercially viable’ – LloydsPharmacy to close in Tilgate, Crawley

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Image: Google Streetview

It could be seen as another victim of the High Street but this time it appears that local communities are now going to start to feel the bite of national chain closures.

McKesson UK, the owners of LloydsParmacy sent a statement outlining how they have been making commercial decisions buy and sell pharmacies.

In a statement the firm said that the decision was made due to an increase in financial pressures and also cited COVID-19 as one of the reasons.

It is not clear when the pharmacy will close although there is speculation it could happen as soon as October with rent leases not being renewed.

McKesson added that they aimed to either retain or redeploy staff as much as they could acoss other stores.

But as the shopping landscape continues to be devastated with closures, the impact of a vital local resource disappearing could affect residents harder than most.

A spokesperson for McKesson said:

“Good business practice requires us to regularly review our estate and make appropriate commercial decisions including buying and selling pharmacies. 

These decisions need to be made because of changing market dynamics and increasing financial pressures including the impact of COVID-19, business rates and changes to pharmacy funding.

We are proposing to close a small number of community pharmacies that are no longer commercially viable for us to operate and we are currently consulting with impacted colleagues about those changes. We always prioritise care of our colleagues through any change.

Where there are closures, our aim will be to retain and redeploy as many of our talented colleagues as possible to other vacancies that exist.”

Tilgate Cllr and Mayor of Crawley Francis Guidera said:

“We only found out this morning from a resident. I have spent much of today trying to found out if it was true and if it could be prevented.

It appears Lloyds have already made up their minds to the detriment of our community.

We can only hope that another pharmacy seizes the opportunity to take their place.”

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