Connect with us

Opinion

Peter Lamb: Finding the funds to save West Sussex’s homeless

In his article this week, Leader of Crawley Borough Council Peter Lamb addresses the proposed cuts to housing support services, and suggests where West Sussex County Council could find the funds to save them.

Published

on

Louise Goldsmith, the Leader of West Sussex County Council, tells us that cuts to Open House and other housing support services are necessary because they don’t have the money to fund them any longer.

Open House receives a grant of £262,075 and I was able to highlight in minutes where the money to save every hostel in West Sussex, about £1m, could come from.

More news: Man stabbed in Crawley High Street

However, the full cut being proposed is £6.3m, so let’s look if there’s anywhere we can find the remaining £5.3m. For instance, last year West Sussex spent £5,933,666.54 on taxis, with a further £165,299.47 on travel expenses. £5,476,737.16 went to consultants and £831,450.74 on advertising and publicity, well they did increase their Policy and Communications budget by £300,000 last year, so that’s not really a surprise. They also spent £742,319 on books and newspapers, to be clear that figure excludes schools and libraries.

With all the empty West Sussex sites in Crawley alone, it’s not a surprise they spent £212,972.42 on vacant properties and a further £594,443.45 on office removals. Recruitment saw £537,219.64 being spent, alongside a peculiar £143,201.18 for ‘Music and Video’, with a further £198,656.84 on postage and £101,660.85 on stationery.

Now, no doubt there are good reasons for much of this expenditure, but that’s £15m which seems more questionably spent than the £6.3m necessary to support the homeless, vulnerable elderly and victims of domestic violence. I’d suggest Nathan Elvery, who was appointed Chief Executive two years ago at an ongoing cost of £220,166, starts by looking there. That’s before asking himself whether he really needs so many layers of senior management.

More Peter Lamb: Peter Lamb – ‘Give the UK the chance it needs to succeed’ after Brexit

When I became Leader at Crawley I removed the director-tier, so now heads of services report directly the Chief Executive. At West Sussex County Council they not only still have directors, but executive directors. That seems like the real expense West Sussex residents can no longer afford.

Francis Guidera

Cllr Guidera: Is maintaining Queens Sq really too much to ask?

Tilgate Cllr Francis Guidera has spoken out about what he calls the ‘filthy’ state of newly refurbished Queens Square in Crawley.

Published

on

In an open letter Cllr Guidera says:

“Queen’s Square is costing the tax payer millions to renovate, but if you sat in Queen’s Square today you would be forgiven for thinking that the paving slabs had been down for a decade!

It is utterly filthy, highlighted by the patch in the centre where the fountain operates which is of course clean and shows what the rest looked like when it was installed just over a year ago.

The issue of keeping the square clean after it was done (including chewing gum) was raised by many councillors at consultation meetings before they began the work, and Ifield Councillor Peter Smith (Labour cabinet member for planning and economic development) assured us that these stones would be coated with a substance that helps to repel dirt… well, if they were I hope he’s asking for a refund because it clearly doesn’t work!

Perhaps Councillor Geraint Thomas would like to comment on the state of it also as the cabinet member for environmental services and sustainability? I’ve been told that council staff still do not have the right equipment to properly clean it. Why not? And then there’s The Pavement (the footpath down the side of M&S) which hasn’t even been fully opened yet and there are already issues. The block paving is uneven with gaps and paving stones at randomly different levels across the entirety of it! If this was someone’s driveway they’d rightfully be demanding answers for such a shoddy job!

So to sum up, the first bit is now filthy and hasn’t been looked after properly and the second bit is badly done and isn’t even finished yet…

As a Crawley-born local I’m very proud of this town and a basic thing like keeping Queen’s Square looking decent is not much to ask of the council.

While I’m writing this, I might as well (again) mention that Chichester Close play area urgently needs renovating… (just asking for a few thousand Tilgate residents)…”

Tilgate Councillor Francis Guidera

Continue Reading

Trending