When asked recently about obtaining funds to be invested in Worthing, Leader of the Council Paul Yallop said “our feet are under the table”.
Cllr Yallop made the comment during an interview on Thursday July 3rd by the Adur & Worthing Joint Scrutiny Committee which holds Cabinet members from both authorities to account.
Yet when West Sussex County Council welcomed the £202 million ‘Growth Deal’ announced the following Monday (July 7th) between the Government and the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) there was no mention of Worthing.
Leader of West Sussex County Council said she was “pleased that the Government has backed our plans” – plans which apparently did not include Worthing. Perhaps Cllr Yallop sat at the wrong table.
Shoreham-by-Sea benefits with £9.5 million spent on flood defences and transport access, which will allow land to be used for houses and business.
Arun District Council benefits with up to £13 million allocated to the Bognor Regis A29 re-alignment for strategic development at Barnham, Eastergate, Westergate and Bognor Regis.
Crawley benefits with up to £18 million on a transport package improving junctions, bus priority schemes, modal interchange and improvements to walking and cycling.
Shoreham benefits again with the University of Brighton collaborating with Ricardo allocated up to £7 million on a new advanced engineering centre.
Gatwick Airport receives up to £ 3.7 million on a new Association of South East Asian (ASEAN) Gateway to boost trade with South East Asian nations.
In addition, and subject to due diligence, Chichester will receive loan funding through the Local Growth Fund (Housing Infrastructure) of up to £1.9 million for 500 new houses
So what happened to Worthing?.
Not the first time Worthing has come away from the West Sussex table with only crumbs. In December 2011 the County Council distributed £3.5 million to districts and boroughs for capital investment. Worthing only received £300,000 and rumours circulated the sum was so small because that’s all Worthing asked for. Cllr Yallop denied that was the case.
Sources close to West Sussex County Council suggest once again Worthing Borough Council didn’t ask for much from the £202 million and a strong business case was not forthcoming. Worthing Daily trusts that was not the case.
And what about our nine West Sussex County Councillors? Have they been batting for Worthing as promised at their particular table? Are they asking for the funds for Montague Street, Warwick Street and Portland Road refurbishment so long desired by Worthing Town Centre Initiative?
This was only the first tranche of £38 million from the £202 million ‘Growth Fund’ – there is more to come at a later date. We trust next time all our councillors will not only have their feet under the table but are banging loudly on it for Worthing.