READING the spring issue of Rother News I realised someone in Rother District Council must have a great sense of humour!
First we are told by Cllr Carl Maynard that all is doom and gloom - that the depth and range of services Rother provide will inevitably change.
But then the tone changes. We are reminded that Bexhill has already benefited from millions of pounds of investments in recent years including the refurbishment of the De La Warr, the extended Bexhill Museum, the New Seafront, extension of the cemetery and completion of the Sidley Goods Yard Scheme.
And now we are asked to support yet another huge investment in Bexhill – the regeneration of the town centre because for Bexhill “the future looks brighter now”.
A mini survey is already under way seeking views on the regeneration proposal.
It is anyone’s guess how many man hours will be needed to process the views expressed before Rother decide to appoint consultants.
And that is not the end of Rother’s ambitions for Bexhill. A future project in the pipeline is to consolidate leisure facilities on one site in Bexhill at a cost of £18m.
The Director of Resources in his latest report to the cabinet has already warned of a shortfall affecting the later years of Rother’s programmes and, to give members an understanding of borrowing costs, suggests over 25 to 30 years the average repayment costs would be in the order of £90,000 per £1m of capital spend.
In the circumstances I suggest Rother should not give further consideration to either the regeneration of the town centre scheme nor the consolidation of leisure facilities scheme for at least four years, which is the time scale envisaged for overcoming the present financial problems of the UK.
Finally if any parish or town council is considering taking on any delegated/devolved service from Rother I hope they appreciate they may find that not only are they paying for such services in their parish/town, but also continuing to pay for similar services in other parishes/towns that have opted not to take on the responsibility. Battle is already in this position. From our precept we meet the cost of our street lighting, cemetery and recreation grounds, whilst also contributing to street lighting throughout East Sussex, and cemeteries and recreation grounds throughout Rother.
I have also to see in any of Rother’s minutes that they are considering devolving/delegating any services to be met from Bexhill’s Special Payments. Another argument for Bexhill to have its own town council.
J E Goldsworthy