Clear to see it’s a merger

Following on the arguments raised by Adur residents, I, in common with many others, am appalled with our local politicians who clearly insult the electorate’s intelligence by insisting that there is no merger between Worthing and Adur councils when it is clear, even to a child, there is such a merger in all but name – and at what cost?

Firstly, democracy has been decimated by Adur’s cabinet system whereby a coterie of some half dozen members have the power and do make unilateral decisions without, in some instances, the knowledge of the remaining council members.

With the previous committee system such decisions were made after careful deliberation and debate by all the elected councillors who were able to put forward their constituents’ concerns or, indeed, support.

This cabinet system was imposed on Adur in order to blend in with Worthing council.

Secondly, we are told the cabinet system coupled with the pseudo merger is more economic – maybe in theory but clearly not in practice.

A recent example is the shambles involving the planning department in Adur.

Initially, half the planning department was transferred to Portland House in Worthing with the remaining staff staying in our Civic Centre.

Now it has been found that Portland House requires a complete revamp to accommodate both Adur and Worthing planning staff.

So all the Worthing and Adur planning staff have moved into the Civic Centre until the spring, by which time it is anticipated that Portland House will be ready at which time, the whole of Adur’s planning staff, together with those from Worthing will return to Portland House.

So far, this plan sounds reasonable until we find that nobody will have an office or indeed, a desk, simply a trolley and a cupboard!

The latest buzz word is “hot desking” whereby it will be a first come first served who will have a desk for the day which has to be cleared in readiness for the next day’s occupant!

I have been advised that to avoid any undue problems, staff will be allowed to work from home.

Whether we like it or not, a council’s planning department is one of the most important and decisions emanating therefrom will at some time or another affect every one of us.

Having had the privilege of serving on Adur’s planning committee for four years, I am aware of the importance of this department and can envisage serious problems evolving from this new system, particularly in regard to the maintenance of securing safely, the enormous volume of plans and records.

Despite this chaos I am amazed and impressed with Adur’s planning staff who are endeavouring to maintain a good service without a single word of complaint.

Especially during last week when the whole of Adur’s computer’s system completely crashed leaving everyone in limbo.

Strange, isn’t it, for a building which Neil Parkin claims is falling to pieces, can accommodate this sudden upsurge of staff. As for Messrs Parkin and Loughton’s enthusiasm for yet another supermarket, namely Morrisons, coming to the Frosts site opposite the Civic Centre, they clearly haven’t considered the trade impact such a store will have, not only in the Brunswick Road area of Shoreham but also Southwick Square, the latter being one, if not the only valuable asset owned by the council which brings in a healthy revenue.

In planning terms, the three retail centres in Adur are surrounded by superstores the trade impact of which is well documented and it is only due to the hard work of our local traders that our town centres have just about survived, despite the recession. To allow yet another large supermarket chain to open, offering free parking, is madness and will undoubtedly have an adverse effect on the local stores during this period of austerity.

If a thorough in-depth consultation of all the local traders were carried, I am sure the majority response would be against this development.

Beryl Ferrers-Guy

Southview Road,