‘Overwhelmed’ by Southwick support

Chairman Sue Schofield (centre) organises the vote on membership
Chairman Sue Schofield (centre) organises the vote on membership

REINSTATING one hour’s free car parking and the return of the popular annual carnival have received strong support in Southwick.

A large number of residents gathered in Southwick Sports and Social Club for the inaugural meeting of Southwick Together last Wednesday.

The association has been formally adopted, with the regeneration of Southwick for the benefit of the whole community as the main aim.

The Southwick Together Steering Group was dissolved and new officers voted in were Sue Schofield as chairman, Tracy Harrison as secretary and Anne Bello as treasurer.

Sue said there was a tremendous turnout: “We are totally overwhelmed. It is so good to see so many people who care about Southwick. It is such a beautiful town. It is a wonderful place to live.”

She gave a short history of how the group had come about, giving credit to butcher John Burtenshaw for organising a public meeting in September because many felt Southwick had been left to degenerate.

As well as a £500 anonymous donation, the group had received money from Karl Bashford, guitarist and singer with KXB, who donated the tips from one of his band’s gigs.

Much of the meeting was taken up with agreeing the constitution, in particular membership rules. It was decided membership with voting rights was open to all residents of Southwick and people who had a business with a registered address in the town. Associate membership with no voting rights would be open to all.

Ideas mooted included the return of the disc parking system and bringing back the carnival. Other suggestions included improving the street scene and installing hanging baskets in Southwick Square.

David Steadman, Adur town centres co-ordinator, suggested the May Bank Holiday weekend would be a good time for the carnival, to coincide with the annual spring fair.

He advised a walking procession would be easier to organise than one with vehicles but pointed out it would take a lot of work to get the idea off the ground.

He said he was happy to support the carnival but did not agree with the free parking idea.

“I am in support of the relatively small car parking charge in Southwick, Shoreham and Lancing, because the blue disc system was abused,” he said.

He said the car park had previously been filled with commuters, parking all day.

Mr Burtenshaw said the traders association would be working with Mr Steadman and Southwick Together to ensure the town prospered for years to come.

“We will be brightening the Square up and getting people to come from far and wide to Southwick to see what we have got to offer. Over the coming months, hopefully we can start seeing things happening.”

Carl Bennett spoke about Southwick Volunteering, a Facebook group he had set up following the public meeting in September.

A member of Southwick St John Ambulance for 20 years, he said: “Southwick volunteering was suffering as well as the traders, so I decided to set up the Facebook page as a central focal point.

“My aim in the long term is to put a portfolio of volunteering in Southwick together.”