Rex’s Notes January 2024

Councillor Rex Whittaker updates us for January.

COUNCIL BUDGET CYCLE

All three of our local councils are mid way through their budget setting cycles for the financial year April 2024 to March 2025.

This includes West Sussex County Council , Mid Sussex District Council , and East Grinstead Town Council.

Final council finance committee and main council meetings are scheduled in the January & February period – and all discussion papers are published seven days in advance of each meeting and fully available on the respective Council Website.

However the background for all councils is the dramatic increase in costs due to excessive inflation in 2022 / 23 , increased burden of adult & child social care , plus onerous additional legal responsibilities forced by central government particularly in relation to providing social housing / accommodation for homeless and asylum cases granted.

To try and offset this, prudent councils are using some of their reserves , as well as smart treasury management of utilising reserves in the money market to maximise interest rate returns whilst minimising risk.

However many councils across the country ( such as Birmingham, Slough , Croydon , Thurrock ) have already been forced into officially declaring insolvency as they cannot balance their books without central government support.

PLANNING MATTERS

Mid Sussex District Council have now unanimously approved their updated District Plan covering the period 2021 – 2038 , and this is currently out for the second and final public consultation until end of January. This will then go to independent public examination in the summer , before hopeful adoption in Autumn 2024. This is high level strategic planning policy and housing allocation document that sets out a comprehensive policy framework for future years growth. Full details can be found on the MSDC website and any queries can be made via this section of EGBA.

As part of this future planning , the application for a large mixed use development adjacent to Imberhorne Farm has now been received by MSDC. This is for 680 houses plus new school , community building , country park , allotments , and new school sports facilities. The application can be viewed and commented upon via the MSDC planning portal under reference DM / 23 / 2699.

MSDC have now just received further guidance from central government regarding the long awaited revised National Planning Policy Framework ( NPPF ).This is currently being analysed and further updates will follow in this column in due course.

EAST GRINSTEAD RECYCLING CENTRE

West Sussex County Council have announced that from 1 March 2024 anyone wishing to visit / use the EG Recycling centre in Imberhorne Lane will be required to have pre – booked a visiting slot using the on-line portal. You will no longer be able to just turn up and gain entry.

SPORTS COUNCIL

East Grinstead is very lucky to have a very active Sports Council which has been in operation for around fifteen years. Facilitated by the Town Council it is a fully independent , non political , co-operative body consisting around thirty of our local sports clubs. It is very professionally chaired by Bob Shelley who liaises closely with all members. The next quarterly  meeting is on Thursday 11 January at the Royal British Legion first floor office in Station road ( opposite the Fire Station ) starting at 7 pm.

On the agenda for this meeting will be the recent selection & appointment by Mid Sussex District Council of a new long term grounds maintainance contractor called Glendale Ltd who start operations on 8 January. They will be responsible for the upkeep of all the MSDC parks , open spaces , and many sports facilities.

DATES & ACTIVITIES

8 January – full East Grinstead Town Council meeting

11 January – Sports Council meeting

23 January – Imberhorne school Year 9 career event

20 January – local councillor monthly surgery in Queens Walk 10 am to midday

29 January – Town Council budget and precept meeting

 

Author: Lisa Thompson
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