AREA Newsletter January 13, 2020

A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL

We have gone quiet over Christmas but we have still been busy.

Letters have been sent to:

Prime Minister Johnson following on from his comment that there should be no more building on flood plains.

IKEA following on from the current Chief Executive’s (Jesper Brodin) comment: “ IKEA can only exist if we are sustainable.”

We attended the WSCC meeting in December. The previous day we sent all 70 councillors an email regarding the Withy Patch community’s poor treatment. (see attached) As the meeting opened an elderly member of the public asked why the council would not reveal the amount of taxpayers’ money which had been paid to the departed Chief Executive. The Chair pointed out that there were no questions allowed from the public. The gentleman persisted and as the back and forth continued a councillor turned around to the gentleman and with a look of fury on his face shouted loudly and angrily at the man to “Shut up.” From where we were sitting we had a clear view of his face. The irony of this upsetting incident is this. The meeting proceeded with a long and detailed discussion of the OFSTED report on the Children’s Services which were deemed inadequate. The phrase used most frequently by the councillors, speaking about the OFSTED report, was “ a long term culture of bullying “ in the council. We had just witnessed an example. Shouting “shut up” at a member of the public who was asking a perfectly legitimate question, is indeed a form of bullying. We have witnessed this shouting at council meetings when a member of the public, who has been allotted 3 minutes to ask their question, did not stop straightaway when their time was up. Why not join us at a council meeting.

WITHY PATCH – Following on from our email about lack of consultation with Withy Patch, the next day letters were hand delivered to every home inviting them to meet individually (divide and rule) with representatives from the council! Final approval cannot be given to NMF until these issues are sorted.

PARKING – Focus has now occupied the building for 6 months. A review of the Focus Travel Plan should now be undertaken with the council. We have written to find out if this has happened and also to find out if the council is being reimbursed for allowing FOCUS employees to use the old Civic Centre site as a car park. We are awaiting a reply.

IKEA – Contrary to the opinion of many residents New Monks Farm development has not yet been given final approval because of: no consultation or agreements with Withy Patch residents; no agreement on the S106 payments for education; no resolution on the ownership of a stretch of land.  However, councillors of the majority party who approved this application will tell you it is all sorted! We need proof. Doubts have also been raised about the viability of the plans to manage the flooding!! Remember, Adur passed the drainage plans for the training grounds and yet flooding of the nearby homes has increased.

Many people have noticed the large machinery on the IKEA grounds. We do not know what they are doing but 2 letters have been sent to Adur management, including James Appleton, Head of planning as it is the council’s duty to monitor any pre-approval work. There is concern that the developers may be infilling essential drainage ditches. We still have no reassurance on this.

TRAFFIC – We all know what the traffic congestion has been like – horrendous. Under the New Roads and Streets Works Act it states that there is a need  to “balance the potentially conflicting interests of road users” and the group undertaking the work ie. Southern Water. One of the key principles to be followed is “an acknowledgement that works programmes and practices may have to be adjusted”, in other words to direct the timing and date of the street works. “The aim should be to avoid , where possible, serious traffic disruption.” One of the most important elements is “the duty of street authorities to coordinate all works in the highway.” We ask why WSCC did not insist that the works on the Norfolk Bridge were not done at night. How carefully were the proposals for these and other road works scrutinised?

CLIMATE CHANGE WORKING PARTY – We have been invited to attend the Climate Change Working Party Group for an exchange of ideas on measures the council can use to help combat climate change. We would be grateful for input from our members.

FREE WHARF  have applied for a licence from the Environment Agency to extract 3,153,600 cubic metres (3 billion litres )of water a year to be fed into the river to create a dry construction area. Has the developer only just discovered the high levels of groundwater in the area?? There is still no agreed foul waster solution for this major site which the sewer network cannot accommodate. Discussions with OFWAT are ongoing.

Sorry for the wordy newsletter but it seems a lot has been going on in the background and we want to keep you up to date. All is not lost. Remember, council elections in May!

All the best for an IKEA free new year. Feel free to contact us with ideas, offers of help etc.

From: Barb, Chrissie, Bill, Alan, Peter, Gerard, Jenny, Geoff

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