Parish council ‘was on brink of disaster’

Six of the seven councillors who are leaving, back from left, Ben Staines, Nick Hopkinson, David Barling and Gordon Marshall, front, Sue Rogers and Roger Toms

Six of the seven councillors who are leaving, back from left, Ben Staines, Nick Hopkinson, David Barling and Gordon Marshall, front, Sue Rogers and Roger Toms

0
Have your say

STEYNING stood on the brink of disaster with the potential of losing its parish council, it was claimed this week.

As Thursday’s deadline for nominations for the 15 seats loomed, there were less than the five needed for a quorum.

Seven parish councillors, including the chairmen of three key committees, were not standing again, for various reasons, and others had not made up their minds, leaving a shortage of candidates.

One, former council chairman David Barling, said at Steyning Parish Council on Monday: “We nearly didn’t have a parish council again. It was touch and go. I communicated that to the chairman and luckily some people changed their minds and it now meant we have 11 members going forward.”

Joining the eight councillors who chose to stay, including chairman Phil Bowell, there are three additions – Gary and Sarah Sullivan, of Newham Lane, and Rodney Goldsmith, of Fairs Field. As there are less than 15 candidates, there will not be an election.

Making what he described as a ‘valedictory address’ after six years on the parish council, Mr Barling, who remains as the county councillor for Bramber Castle, said: “We have come a long way and an awful lot has happened.”

I just make a plea that from now on there is a halt to the corrosive and destructive threats and accusations both this council and individual councillors have received

Sue Rogers, parish councillor

Sue Rogers, who has been a parish councillor for nine years and a Horsham district councillor for four years, is standing down from both roles. She spoke of the problems the council has faced over the last couple of years, including individual members and officers receiving a number of threats.

“Going forward with the new council in May, Steyning Parish Council can again be a good council. But I am afraid if I reflect on the last couple of years, that is not how things have been.

“I just make a plea that from now on there is a halt to the corrosive and destructive threats and accusations both this council and individual councillors have received.

“It has just been so corrosive and I think Steyning deserves better than that.

“We have so many great things in the town and that is the sort of town we want to be.”