Adur and Worthing move closer together

COUNCIL tax could rise by double figures in the future if Worthing and Adur do not work more closely together.

Thursday, 22nd March 2007, 9:38 am
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 11:44 pm

COUNCIL tax could rise by double figures in the future if Worthing and Adur do not work more closely together.

The warning was issued by Worthing borough councillor John Rogers at a joint meeting of the authorities on Thursday.

The leaders of both councils claimed they could save 500,000 a year by joining forces, with one set of senior officers, rather than two, running services.

A minority of councillors condemned the plans, fearing residents had not been properly consulted.

Councillors voted in favour of exploring the issue further, but Bob Smytherman, leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition at Worthing, vowed to hold a referendum if his party gained power at the May local elections.

Adur district councillor Liza McKinney questioned how much the closer links would cost in the long run. She feared many councillors would no longer have a say if Adur followed in Worthing's footsteps and introduced a cabinet rather than a committee-style of local government.

Fellow Adur councillor Robert Dunn said the cabinet system worked well, with faster decision-making.

Councillor Rogers said that if the councils did not work more closely together, "council tax reaching double figures might be the alternative".

After the meeting, Adur District Council leader Neil Parkin said: "This is not a merger of the councils. We are investigating how to build on the savings and success of our joint work so far.

"We would also emphasise that if these recommendations are agreed by both full councils, at the end of March, that no final decisions will be taken until July.

"We will then fully consider the idea and decide whether to implement the idea or not. Combining the officer structures gives us an opportunity to spend less overall on our management costs."

Worthing Borough Council leader Keith Mercer said: "The people of Worthing and Adur should be tremendously encouraged by the highly creative approach that both councils are adopting in their attempt to keep council tax down and service standards up.

"Both councils are clear that they wish to retain the separate identities of both areas."

Ian Lowrie, chief executive of both councils, said Worthing and Adur would still retain their own cabinets, elections and budgets.