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derekdainton Posted - 23 Jan 2015 : 09:58:09
So no-one from the Parish Council bothered to turn up for the Neighbourhood Plan count. This is appalling but not a surprise. For years we have been subjected to a well meaning but totally incompetent bunch whose prime task of protecting the village community has time and time again come up short. Shame on you APC!

28   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
luckyduck Posted - 31 Jan 2015 : 16:05:47
So this really begs the question then - who is running APC, the clerk or the councillors? Meybe the councillors will now realise that they have perhaps not been best served by someone who seems to relish in setting policy, rather than implementing policy.
neil Posted - 31 Jan 2015 : 15:25:45
The bellicose response from the Parish Clerk to a valid question raised by a Forum member on the APC Forum is, I’m afraid, just a smokescreen to hide the unpalatable truth that APC appears once again to have been less than frank with the public, albeit possibly unwittingly in the case of the Chairman who may have been fed incorrect or incomplete information.

The Clerk and at least one councillor opposed the concept of an APC Forum right from the beginning but, in the spirit of openness, the then Chairman and the majority of councillors wished to use such a facility on the Angmering Forums until such time as they established a similar forum of their own.

In the past, the Clerk has always refused to post a response himself although clearly drafting many of the responses for the Chairman to post. So why, after all these years has the Clerk decided to respond to a question. Is it because the Chairman was so embarrassed after she found out the true facts following her original posting regarding the Council non-attendance at the Referendum count that she did not want to compromise herself further? I have always found the present Chairman to be honest, transparent, and industrious.

The Clerk’s response seeks to gloss over the serious error of judgement that led to the shambles of APC’s non-attendance at the Referendum. It also tries to mitigate the fact that erroneous information was probably given to councillors (if given at all!) after ADC had made it quite clear to APC, more than a month in advance, that APC could attend the Referendum count – ADC are the people who are quite experienced in the protocol of such matters.

The response also tries to deflect attention away from APC suggesting that they should not be criticised because of the high YES vote achieved at the Referendum. However, this was not so much an endorsement of APC but more of a wish to send a clear message to ADC over their disgraceful actions last year, and to endeavour to protect Angmering from more excessive housing in the future. But people are tired of these “economies of truth” and “misunderstandings”. From its response, it would appear that APC is trying to take complete credit for the Neighbourhood Plan which is an insult and an injustice to all those non-APC villagers who worked on it.

Further, the response states incorrectly that the Forum was set up “in order to give the members of the public the chance to ask genuine questions about the work of the Parish Council”. That wasn’t the sole reason. It was also agreed by APC, again in the spirit of transparency, that Forum members could ask a question about its functions or actions (see APC Forum Rules) – and this is what the questioner did in the current case. APC is therefore reneging on its own Rules.

While one or two councillors and the Clerk originally did not like the concept of anonymous posts, the Council nevertheless agreed to the Angmering Forum Rules allowing such posts. The Clerk – presumably with the whole Council’s agreement – has now said “Questions may be asked of the parish council of course, but any anonymous queries will not be answered”. Nor will any be answered if the Council thinks it undermines them. As owner of the Angmering Forums, this is totally unacceptable to me. APC is therefore reneging in accepting the Rules of the Angmering Forums and its own original undertaking. On this point it should be added that if a valid question has been made, it should not matter whether the questioner has given a name or is anonymous. Indeed, who is to say that a provided full name is actually a real name or a pseudonym – it is nigh impossible to determine – so APC’s argument lacks validity.

Answers to questions posed since the APC Forum was established in 2010 were initially good but, in recent times, many responses (but not all) have been evasive or totally unsatisfactory.

Summarising, Angmering Parish Council:
  • has again been found to be less than frank and/or has obscured information provided to the public
  • is reneging on the agreed type of questions which may be asked on the APC Forum
  • is intending to renege on the acceptance of anonymous questioners
  • has increasingly provided less than satisfactory answers to queries which I believe to be against the spirit of transparency and which was one of the intensions of originally setting up the APC Forum
  • will not answer any postings if, in their opinion, they feel it undermines them
The continuance of APC’s presence on the Forums is now untenable as far as I am concerned. Accordingly, and with reluctance, ANGMERING PARISH COUNCIL HAS NOW BEEN SUSPENDED FROM OPERATING THE APC FORUM for non-compliance with its own Rules and those of the Angmering Forums, the quality of their past responses, and their intended selectiveness of answering future questions.

I doubt whether this will be of concern to some members of APC as ending the cooperation has clearly been an objective for some years, but an excuse was needed to trigger action. APC’s non-attendance at the Referendum count is not in itself of enormous significance, but has proved to be the catalyst for bringing matters to a head.
derekdainton Posted - 30 Jan 2015 : 16:37:20
Another attempt at a smokescreen.

Thought a past Chairman had reached the pinnacle of pomposity, but clearly the Parish Clerk has been taking lessons.

This oft repeated suggestion that those who criticise the Parish Council should stand as Councillors is bizarre. So, if you any body, the solution is to join them. That's ridiculous, unless you want to be neutered.

Robinf Posted - 30 Jan 2015 : 14:17:19
SAV would like to thank the Parish Clerk for his insightful and enlightening reply to our question, which can be seen at the following link and which we suggest you read before you continue any further:

In our opinion this was a genuine follow-up question to the response by the APC Chair to our (and others) surprise that no one represented APC at the referendum count for the Neighbourhood Plan, a count of such significance for the future of the village and Parish Council depending on the result.

In addition, the post was hardly anonymous. It clearly identified itself as coming from SAV, whose named contact details were provided to APC at their request months ago. It would have been easy for the office to verify if there had been any doubt as to its origin.

More importantly it was certainly NOT an attempt to undermine the work of the parish Councillors but a question resulting from the explanation by the APC Chair as to why no one represented APC at the referendum count. It inferred Councillors were unable for various reasons to attend the count; however it contradicted evidence that suggested that this was not the full story.

It would be disappointing if the Parish Council agreed to withdraw the facility from this AVL forum to post questions to the Parish Council since we assume this was approved by the Councillors as being independent, and thus a very practical and transparent means of engaging with the community. As the Clerk has rightly pointed out, if APC consider a post inappropriate, APC has the option to state the fact and refuse to comment.

Reading the Clerk’s version of events, it appears the problem relates to communication between the officers and Councillors in their ability to attend the count. If, as the Clerk has put it,“ The fact that Councillors could have attended apparently was confusing given the advice we had received just a few days earlier.”, then perhaps an e-mail to ADC seeking clarification would not have gone amiss and our Parish Councillors would have known exactly where they stood. The email from ADC’s Deputy Counting Officer was never forwarded to Councillors for their awareness. If it had been, maybe the fact they could have attended would have been picked up. This is an internal matter for APC.

Councillors involvement in “Yes” “No” campaigning is clearly separate from and not related to their ability to attend and observe the count once the polls have closed. The email from ADC’s Deputy Counting Officer was unequivocal: “All Members of Angmering Parish Council may attend the counting of votes”. . . “All appointments to act as a Polling or Counting Observer [including any representatives from the Parish Council] have to be confirmed in advance.”

If this information had been provided when the initial question was raised the morning after the referendum it would have explained why Councillors did not attend, but it now appears to be at odds with the previous explanation from APC Chair, that it was because of lack of resources “one of the casualties was attending the count”.

SAV fully agrees with the Clerk’s view and will support whenever possible the Parish Council in its endeavours to deliver the Neighbourhood Plan.

The Clerk continues: “If the people that insist on this criticism want to make a real difference….” This is a disingenuous remark as the Clerk is perfectly aware that members of SAV and others who have raised this same question have not been bystanders, but have been heavily involved in the production of the Plan and also volunteers in other parish initiatives and working groups. Becoming a Parish Councillor IS NOT the only way to contribute and make a “real difference”. This too is “REAL work with REAL impact”.

As a community we are all very aware of how busy our Councillors are having to juggle both private and public life and with depleted numbers in their ranks they are to be commended for their dedication and so SAV supports whole heartedly the Clerk’s appeal for additional Councillors.

If a member of the community feels they want to commit to being a Parish Councillor, then SAV would encourage you to attend the Open Day on the 21st/22nd March this year to find out more.

There are many websites which will also help you decide, and if indeed you qualify. So just Google “I want to be a parish Councillor” to find out more. A good start can be found here:
Robinf Posted - 29 Jan 2015 : 20:05:02
Ricky Bower is priceless.

Presumably he is taking this opportunity to puff himself up about the recent Neighbourhood Plan referendum results for Angmering, Rustington, Kingston and East Preston as announced on the ADC website. He says that “localism is working” as if everything is honky dory in the world of planning. But of course, production of the Neighbourhood Plan is only part of the localism story. He doesn't refer to whether or not ‘Localism’ in the longer term will actually work because he doesn’t know. How can he?

The fact is, it remains to be seen whether or not localism in the longer term will work in ADC's neck of the woods.

The acid test will come when ADC’s Parish Councils have to use these plans to challenge for example, developers planning applications. According, however, to Nick Herbert in a recent Communities and Local Government Committee debate, “communities do not have a right of appeal against planning decisions but developers do”. Surely some mistake here?

Apparently the Government is preparing new guidelines that are ‘stronger and more effective’, and which will defend the interests of local authorities and therefore Parish Councils. Let’s hope that these new ‘guidelines’ are written in such a way that the inspectorate cannot rewrite Local Plans. These new guidelines will undoubtedly give our Parish Councils a better opportunity to deliver what the communities have set out for their futures as articulated in their Neighbourhood Plans.

In the meantime, Cllr Bower should be a little more circumspect with his proclamations.
derekdainton Posted - 29 Jan 2015 : 17:32:34
It's impossible to parody these people.
neil Posted - 29 Jan 2015 : 13:12:12
Following the Angmering Referendum, the Littlehampton Gazette today reports that Ricky Bower, the ADC cabinet member for planning, said:
"We are pleased that localism is working and that once again parish and district partnership working has been so successful."
Don't you just love him!!!
westsussexbluenose Posted - 27 Jan 2015 : 14:05:03
does anyone actually think that the powers that be will take on board anything that the Plan states? And to be perfectly blunt,the Plan just pays lip service and will be ignored by ADC and will make no material difference to the really important issues which directly impact Angmering. The majority of those people that bothered to fill out the surveys and who voted are mainly interested in having a say about the large scale development of Angmering, the lack of schools, traffic problems and planning issues - not for example, where the pavements should be, where the grass and trees should go and that the speed limit should be lower (that will happen by default due to the gridlocking of the roads).

The plan is full of triviality and contains nothing of material substance which will prevent the over development of Angmering.

Mr Growser Posted - 27 Jan 2015 : 12:51:06
Neil recommends Clochemerle solution of a Mayor instead of APC.
Not only was there a Mayor but more importantly a Gentlemans Public Toilet that offended many of the Village Ladies.
We in Angmering are not in a position to enjoy such Gallic frivolities.
Tinklebelle Posted - 26 Jan 2015 : 23:08:30

I'd like to thank the SAV group.
I'd like to thank those who worked on the booklet which included much helpful information. I enjoyed reading about our older Listed houses. The information on the flooding situation and water from Patching Pond and the Black Ditch affecting the village and golf course was very interesting. That's why the Romans built their Villa beside the water where the golf course is.
I did a Postal Vote with YES crossed on it.
We, from our bedrooms, now look at the first two houses on the new development over in Swanbourne ....what a confusing name that may turn out to be!!
neil Posted - 25 Jan 2015 : 12:52:17
What people feel is that their was little perceived commitment to objecting to current devlopments. A case of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.

Agree DD - it's all too easy to forget what went on at APC and how residents were treated. There is also an outside possibility that the current councillors may require our votes in May if they are looking for re-election!

As for non-attendance at the count, the explanation given does not give any excuse for one other councillor or the Parish Clerk not attending. Was everybody individually asked, I wonder?
BFA Posted - 25 Jan 2015 : 10:55:32
Some will want to see it, and most other things, that way
derekdainton Posted - 25 Jan 2015 : 10:36:57
Interested to see that he Chairman of the Parish Council is disappointed that some villagers don't believe APC is supporting the Neighbourhood Plan. I've not seen that commented upon. What people feel is that their was little perceived commitment to objecting to current devlopments. A case of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.

Some will see the distribution of the plan as no more than an attempt to suggest APC is active. And as for the stated reasons why not one Councillor attended the count. Nice try!
BFA Posted - 23 Jan 2015 : 23:11:44
Originally posted by derekdainton

You are right to commend them for distributing the Neighbourhood Plan but it's not rocket science is it? All About Angmering seems to be able to do it efficiently every month. Pity APC's management was sorely lacking.

I believe that the printer used was the same one that prints "All about Angmering" and that they recommended a distributor, it could well be the same one.

I very much doubt that every single household in the parish gets a copy of "All about Angmering" every month either.

So let's just commend them for distributing to most of the parish and leave it at that, eh?

Bert Posted - 23 Jan 2015 : 17:24:29 may be correct that there were....."funds left over...".

My recollection is that they were, from quite early days, going to print sufficient copies to be circulated to each household. Thereby that was part of the early costing process, rather than having...."funds left over" the very end of the process.
luckyduck Posted - 23 Jan 2015 : 17:05:47
I am sorry I upset your sensitivities Seagull. I am happy to acknowledge that there are indeed some valuable councillors, however there are still some self centred councillors, who, if it had not been for their antics, this neighbourhood plan would have been completed and voted on over a year ago, which would have well and truly scuppered many of the developments the village has objected to. As for printing the plan - APC received a grant for the plan as a whole, and had funds left over from its original creation, these could only be used for the Neighbourhood Plan, so what better way than getting it printed and delivered to the villagers. Not quite as altruistic from APC as you might wish to believe, but still good work.
derekdainton Posted - 23 Jan 2015 : 16:35:05
It's an inherent trait of the French to be anarchic Neil. Their attitude to a smoking ban in public places is a prime example.
neil Posted - 23 Jan 2015 : 16:17:07
Leaving aside the Roundstone Lane fiasco which ADC anyway would have no doubt ultimately pushed through, I think the Parish Council do a pretty reasonable job. The biggest problem is that they cannot seem to able to distinguish what matters are really important and to act swiftly when the need arises. But this is probably true of all parish councils.

Having recently re-read "Clochemerle" by Gabriel Chevallier, there is some merit in DD's suggestion of an elected mayor who would take both decisions and responsibility for the village's affairs. Having said that, Clochemerle ultimately degenerated into anarchy!
derekdainton Posted - 23 Jan 2015 : 16:14:33
He can answer for himself but I think seagull you will find that luckyduck is one of a very small number in the village who truly understands the machinations of the Parish Council. Evidence suggests that their words do not always match their actions.

You are right to commend them for distributing the Neighbourhood Plan but it's not rocket science is it? All About Angmering seems to be able to do it efficiently every month. Pity APC's management was sorely lacking.

As for their resolute fight against development on Roundstone Lane, anyone who followed the process closely will know that the reality is they paid lip service to the objection process. And there was constant suspicion, perhaps unfounded, that back room deals were taking place.

Those, like myself and others, criticising APC are not aiming at particular individuals. That would be unfair. But as a collective body, taking collective action, their track record is abysmal.
Bert Posted - 23 Jan 2015 : 15:58:39
seagull....I agree with your comments totally. I consider Pat Turner, and the other two or three Parish Councillors, who in addition to their Parish Council responsibilities and their own lives away from such matters, business and personal, worked on the Angmering Neighbourhood Development Plan over the last three years, are to be congratulated.

The fact they sent out a copy of the plan to every household in the parish is commendable. I understand no other local parish had done this.

It may be that the Parish Council did not repeat on its website, every week over the last few years, the fact that they have been and continue to be, against the large scale housing developments imposed upon us. But it was perfectly clear they were against such developments.

My understanding is that Parish Councils and Town Councils have little influence on major projects, and I feel criticism of the Parish Council and Neighbourhood Plan Committees have been unwarranted, and quite unpleasant at times.

It is clear that the planning applications for the large scale housing developments that have been agreed by the District Council before the Angmering Plan is in place, have caused substantial problems, but they are not the fault of the Parish Council.

It also appears that there have been a number of changes in personnel on the Parish Council over the last three years, some due to ill health, and this must have have placed substantial pressure on the remaining few, who are of course volunteers, as well as trying to complete their responsibilities whilst well short of the required numbers.

I have been critical of previous Parish Councils over previous projects, but I think they have been in a difficult position over the last 3-4 years with the proposed housing applications which they have always been against, together with the preparation of the Neighbourhood Plan, which I appreciate included a number of non parish council individuals.

I look forward to voting at the next Parish Council elections, when all those who have been moaning and groaning at these volunteers, will put themselves forward for election.

seagull Posted - 23 Jan 2015 : 15:00:13
Luckyduck, I am getting a little bit cheesed off with your continued sniping at the Parish Council no matter what they seem to do. I am a supporter of SAV but relations between you and them will never improve if you continue on your track. The Neighbourhood Plan, I understand, was supported by the Parish Council, but was compiled by members of the village, which happened to have a couple of councillors. The Parish Council should be commended for sending out a copy of the plan to every resident. They have also opposed every planning application east of Roundstone Lane, what more can they do? Arun District Council are the real villains who you should be taking to task not the unpaid volunteers of the Parish Council.
derekdainton Posted - 23 Jan 2015 : 14:11:16
On numerous occasions I have put forward the view that Parish Councils are an anachronism from a bygone age. The problem is well stated that under the current system you cannot eject Counicillors, having to wait until they decide to step down. And why would anyone want to stand for election to a body which is currently held in contempt?

The French system of an elected mayor is far preferable. Such an individual not only needs to respond to the wishes of their electorate but is fully accountable through their period of tenure. If it can work in a major city it must be a more effective option in a relatively small community.

As far as turn-out is concerned, those who didn't vote deserve what they get and their views are not really worth considering. But for those of us who played our part, we surely deserve better.
luckyduck Posted - 23 Jan 2015 : 11:56:51
Just shows what the referendum means to the parish council.
neil Posted - 23 Jan 2015 : 11:44:56
APC finally uploaded the results to their website about half an hour ago, possibly under pressure from elsewhere! But this should have been one of the first things they did after 9am in view of the importance of the Referendum.
luckyduck Posted - 23 Jan 2015 : 11:16:28
The Parish Council yet again show their contempt for the electorate - still nothing on their website, but SAV, AVL, etc have. We need this council disbanded,together with their admin, and people put in place who care for us, and not their own personal agendas and egos. The trouble is the council struggles to find enough councillors to fill vacancies, so until we can drum up enough new wannabes, the encumbents will continue - please can this be a rallying call for new people to come forward, to force elections for councillors, and then the village might have a better future.
neil Posted - 23 Jan 2015 : 11:13:07
The Angmering Referendum had one of the higher turnouts in Arun District to date:

Ferring 45%
Barnham 36%
Angmering 31%
Arundel 26%
Yapton 22%
Felpham 18%
Littlehampton 16%

Angmering also has had the highest "Yes" vote (see rounded figures below):

Angmering 97%
Barnham 95%
Yapton 94%
Arundel 90%
Felpham 90%
Ferring 86%
Littlehampton 85%

The larger the population, the greater the apathy to voting so it seems, but those parishes who have been threatened with the highest number of new houses have certainly made their feelings known with the 'Yes' votes.
DEGOO Posted - 23 Jan 2015 : 10:55:37
Originally posted by westsussexbluenose

This tells you people are sick to death of expressing views on vital issues and knowing full well that no one will take them into account.

Well said!!!! And Very true
westsussexbluenose Posted - 23 Jan 2015 : 10:38:42
I am sure that a "reason" will be provided in due course. What isn't surprising however is that the turnout was so low. This was probably due to the fact that the opening section of the "Plan" stated that "whilst strong feelings were expressed by the village on some key points such as housing, roads, schools etc, and the steering group wrote policies to provide what the village wanted, these were considered to be outside the legal bounds of the Plan and have to be removed from the final version" ! - these are the very points which we want some control over and they have had to be removed!! - 42% replied to surveys and only 31% voted. This tells you people are sick to death of expressing views on vital issues and knowing full well that no one will take them into account. Based on past performance, all governments from all sides of the political spectrum ride roughshod over promises. I take my hat off to all those involved over the last 3 years in seeing the Plan to fruition - The powers that be can either take some or all or none of its findings into account when deciding what is in store for us. Lets have a survey on that and see what the consensus is.

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