Councillors now just a phone call away

W42963H13 Cllr Chris Servante with the 'report a problem'  phone number
W42963H13 Cllr Chris Servante with the 'report a problem' phone number
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SOMPTING Parish Councillors have come up with a new way to make sure they are always in touch with their constituents.

The council bought a mobile phone which is passed from one councillor to the next on a monthly basis, ensuring the council is never more than a phone call away.

Rather than going through the parish clerk, residents can now go directly to an elected representative to report a problem, simply by calling 07580 873500.

The ‘report a problem’ number has so far attracted just a single call, about a tree growing into a flint wall, but councillors hope that with time the idea will take off.

Cllr for Peverel North Chris Servante is the current holder of the phone.

He said: “It started with the Sompting Festival so whoever was in charge at the time had a number everyone could contact.

“We thought let’s see if it would work as a number for the whole of Sompting to use. Not everybody uses websites or goes online. We definitely hope that once more people know about it, it will get more use.

“Sompting really does suffer a communication problem and we don’t know how to get round this.”

One of the ways Chris has tried to get people talking is by setting up the Sompting Residents Facebook page, which aims to share local information and give people a place to report any problems they have in the area.

To view the website go to www.facebook.com/SomptingResidents

Chris said the page had taken off nicely and was a good way of connecting people across the community.

People can use the site like a message board to post adverts for clubs, meetings and events, raise concerns about local services, or warn other about crime in the village.

Chris said: “One of the jobs of the council has to be to make communication to the council as easy as possible.

“This is the 21st century, people don’t write letters any more. They want to complain about things now. Getting straight through to a councillor makes it that little bit better.

“Its another way for the public to get to know who their councillors are. In a year’s time it might be a busy little phone.”

The parish council also plans to restart publishing its quarterly magazine, the Sompting Signpost.