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Peter Lamb: Problems with public services can be fixed

In his article this week, Peter Lamb talks about how public services can be turned around.

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For almost two years Crawley NHS has been in financial ‘Special Measures’, unable to afford the treatments residents need on the money they get from Government.

We get daily reminders Sussex Police can no longer cope having lost 800 officers and PCSOs since 2010. Local headteachers have even marched on Downing Street because Crawley’s schools cannot survive on their allocated budgets.

That public services stand on the brink is unsurprising given the Government has been focused on only one thing for the last three years and have been proven unable to deliver even that one thing.

I don’t say this because I believe the situation is hopeless, I say it because it can be fixed if only we had the will to act. Crawley Borough Council is building affordable homes for local people on a scale not seen in decades, we’re one of only a sixth of councils still providing a weekly bin collection and by investing smartly to generate income we’re still spending the same on services as when I became Leader, despite the Government taking all of Crawley’s grant and our council having the lowest council tax increase of any council in the county for most of my five years. In opposition, local Conservatives told me these things couldn’t be done, we showed them that if you have the vision and determination to do it anything is possible. The same is true on the national level.

At these Local Elections voters are posed with a simple choice, put the same people back in control who spent eight years cutting our services last time, who are failing to run our local county council and police effectively, and nationally have driven the country into chaos, or keep Crawley Labour running the only tier of the town’s governance which is delivering for Crawley.

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.

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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

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