‘Localism’ is not the NIMBY charter some councillors hoped for because it comes with responsibilities, not least of which will be a formal duty to cooperate.
Arun is a low-pay district with residents heavily dependent upon job prospects in Chichester and beyond to earn enough to provide for a home and family. Councillor Bower’s petulant response to colleagues in local governance not only denies this reality but is in open defiance of national need as seen by fellow Conservatives in Westminster. Will this interpretation of ‘Localism’ register with Sussex MPs and Ministerial colleagues?
The blueprint for a radical approach to re-use of the largest brownfield site in the county is, of course, the community-inspired proposals of 2004, Ford Enterprise Hub (fordenterprisehub.com). Social, economic and environmental issues were clearly identified by the authors, former councillors, and Arun DC were asked to consider this concept for a new settlement providing homes, jobs and a new transport hub. The need for joined up thinking between local and central government to break the A27 log-jam and attract inward investment was emphasised and then pursued with government through the Eco-town process.
We, the politically and financially independent promoters of FEH, failed with both local and central government on that occasion. However, the chance to provide homes, jobs, a new approach to transport and a brighter outlook for young people arises each time objectivity and open minds rise above the self-interest and political bigotry which fails both Arun’s residents and the needs of our nation.