Chairman’s November update

MEETINGS in December

Monday 13th. Planning Committee in the Court Hall at 6.15, followed by a closed budget meeting.

Allotments

The Allotment Committee met towards the end of November.  Progress was made on updating the waiting list and starting the process of reviewing the condition of plots.  There are vacant plots that need some work before they can be re-let, and this should happen in time for them to be let early in the new year.  Our allotment year starts at the end of March.

Winchelsea Beach sewerage problems.

It will not be possible to get all the parties together before the New Year.  I currently anticipate a meeting in February.

Chairman’s Role.

In the absence of news from Council and Committee Meetings, it is a good time to bring you up to date on some of things I get involved with representing the Council outside of the Parish.

The Police Focus Meeting.  This is a meeting held with representatives from the Police and Crime Commissioners Office and Sussex Police to discuss policing priorities.  The meeting is facilitated through the East Sussex Association of Local Councils and invitations go out to all the Parish and Town Councils in Rother District.  Similar meetings are held in Lewes and Wealden Districts.  I have no doubt they also take place in West Sussex.

The purpose of the meeting is to provide some guidance of the policing issues that concern the residents of Rother District.

At the end of the meeting, I received a list of ten policing priorities and was asked to rank them and return my ranking within 24 hours.  It would have been helpful if the list had been circulated prior to the meeting.

A hurried consultation with fellow Councillors was not conclusive as less than 50% responded in the time frame.  However, based on the responses received and the comments made to me direct, I submitted the following as the top four priorities.

  • Visible neighbourhood policing and better engagement 1
  • Helping women and girls feel safer in public places             2
  • Domestic abuse 3
  • Road safety – tackling speeding and drink/drug driving 4

The other priorities in the list were: –

  • Rape and sexual assaults
  • Tackling serious organised crime, county lines, terror threats
  • Rural crime            
  • Investment in new tech to improve reporting & investigations
  • Fraud and cyber-enabled (online) crime
  • Shoplifting and business crime            

I found it very difficult to rank some of the priorities as we get very little information as to how they impact on the Parish.

It also gave me an appreciation of just how difficult a task the PCC and the Chief Constable have in trying to decide how best to utilize their limited resources.

One thing I did learn and that is that in some parts of the district, there is a very good working relationship between the Parish and Town Councils and the PCSO teams covering their area.  Not so in Icklesham, nor I gather from the Mayor’s comments, in Rye.  Hopefully that will change.  The issue was noted by the Police Inspector for the Rother area.

Notwithstanding that, it was made clear at the meeting that there is real concern in the corridors of power that the lack of visibility is a major factor in the low level of public confidence in policing across the UK.

I took the opportunity to ask if an Officer could occasionally travel on the bus services that carry school children in and out of Rye.  I regularly receive complaints about the appalling behaviour and how unpleasant it is when residents find they need to use those buses.