‘Not right time’ for single council debate

UKIP's Mike Glennon has tabled a motion for a single unitary council for the county
UKIP's Mike Glennon has tabled a motion for a single unitary council for the county

A MOTION calling for a single unitary authority for West Sussex has come at the ‘wrong time’, a councillor believes.

UKIP county councillor for Lancing Mike Glennon is calling for district and borough councils to be abolished, in favour of a county-wide authority, in a money-saving move.

It will be debated at a meeting of West Sussex County Council on Friday.

But Worthing West county councillor and chairman of West Worthing Conservative Association Paul High felt it was unlikely to gain widespread support.

He said: “I think it is at the wrong time. Eventually, with cutbacks and savings that all councils are having to do, somewhere down the road it will happen, but this is not that time.

“The council is having to save over £140million and from other councils’ experiences, it would take three or four years to pay itself back.

“To put this in the mix now, with all the structural changes going on, it would not be the right time.”

The council is planning budget cuts of £141million over the next four years, which is a cause for concern for many groups.

Mr Glennon hopes establishing a unitary authority in West Sussex would mitigate against the necessity of cuts to front-line services.

He said: “We believe the time has come to work together with districts and boroughs, with parishes, with MPs and with our own political parties.

“My motion hinges upon the need for collaborative work, a steering committee, to guide us down an already well-trodden–though admittedly complex – path.

“We owe it to the people of our county.”

Mr High said in some places, there were too many layers of governance.

He said: “Take Lancing, for example. You have a district councillor, county councillor, parish councillor, MP and MEP. That is too many.

“I think you would have to divide it up into north and south, perhaps a coastal strip.

“But I don’t think the motion will get much support.”

For the full story, see the Worthing Herald, out Thursday, February 13.