09 Mar AIC Submits Petition Demanding a Governance Review for Bexhill
Bexhill’s Independent councillors serving on Tory-controlled Rother District Council say the faith they showed in the local electorate has been fully justified.
The town’s five AIC Independent councillors together with supporters and intending district election candidates launched a petition on the Town Hall steps last September. Their aim was to gather the 3,500 signatures needed to compel the local authority to conduct a statutory Governance Review.
The Independents want Bexhill to have its own Area Committee.They argue that half of Rother’s 80,000 population lives in Bexhill. Yet under Rother’s “leader and cabinet” system the leader alone decides the size and membership of the cabinet. This currently comprises nine Conservative members of whom only three represent Bexhill wards. Battle and Rye, on the other hand, each have town councils and 29 parish councils serve the rural area.
The Independents want to bring decision-making for Bexhill back to Bexhill.
Devolved local government would bring:
- Executive decisions on solely Bexhill matters and related budgets
- Formal consultee status on planning
- Formal consultee status on district, county and national initiatives
- Policy development for Bexhill
The Independents’ proposal for Bexhill to have an Area Committee was rejected by both Cabinet and Full Council.
On Monday, the Independents gathered again on the Town Hall steps, this time to present a 3,816 signature petition to Tony Leonard, Rother’s Head of Services.
On behalf of colleagues, Cllr Stuart Earl said:
“I am thrilled to bits that the people of Bexhill have got behind us…
Submission of this petition means that Rother has now got to carry out a Governance Review. Cllr Doug Oliver and Cllr Tony Mansi have done a huge amount of work on this and the people of Bexhill have been so enthusiastic about seeking change where their councillors can actually do something for them.”
The Independents brought along their own “Campaign Bus”.
The multi-coloured vehicle bore posters reading:
“It may not be pink, red, purple, yellow, green or blue, but the message is true. Who cares for party colours and slogans? Independent Councillors and Candidates care for Bexhill and you. This petition is for democracy in your town. You deserve no less.”