Sompting councillor hits back at MP over ‘attack’

AN ANGRY councillor has hit back at Tim Loughton following his recent ‘attack’ on Sompting Parish Council.

The MP for East Worthing and Shoreham criticised the council, claiming it had ‘kept residents in the dark’ over a public consultation on the Adur Local Plan.

Cllr Chris Servante said the parish council only found out about the housing plans in late September.

He said a letter containing links to information about the plan on the council’s website, and the address to which responses should be sent, was drafted, printed and hand delivered to residents by the parish council by October 11.

Speaking about the Sompting Residents Facebook page, which he runs, Cllr Servante said: “The timeline is testament to the amount of times it was mentioned that all objections should be sent to Adur District Council,”

“Sompting parish councillors were at all meetings held, and assisted in handing out the correct forms that Adur had produced,” he added.

Cllr Servante said parish councillors had helped deliver leaflets produced by the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives, and allowed Adur council to display the plans in the Harriet Johnson Centre.

“With the above evidence, I fail to see how Sompting Parish Council kept residents in the dark about the need to engage with the consultation,” said Cllr Servante.

“The real failure was actually that Adur District Council left basically all advertising about the plan to the Parish councils rather than send out the information themselves, while happily sending out the times and dates of the bin collections, yet Tim Loughton praises them and attacks Sompting.”

Adur planning policy manager Colette Blackett said the council had used a range of techniques to reach residents and businesses about the consultation.

“These included sending letters to all people on our contacts database; placing copies of the plan and response forms in all libraries and council and parish offices; placing flyers in certain shops and cafes; putting information on the council’s website; holding exhibitions throughout the district; presenting the plan at meetings, including a Sompting Parish Council meeting, and producing a press release and having coverage in the local press.”