If you’re a representative for an area, I believe you have a duty to represent it. The actions of Crawley Tories increasingly say otherwise.
West Sussex County Council takes most of Crawley’s Council Tax, their income is in the hundreds of millions. By contrast, Crawley Borough Council gets £15m, almost half of what we got a decade ago.
For years, Crawley taxpayers have paid twice for county’s services, paying county once to provide them, then essentially paying again for Crawley Borough Council to bring them up to standard. This isn’t fair on taxpayers and it’s no longer affordable.
While it’s true West Sussex County Council has got itself into hundreds of millions in debt, mostly accrued when it was led by our current MP, they are our Highways Authority. Their responsibility for parking is highlighted by the parking audits they are undertaking and which they are refusing to talk to the borough council about. Pretty clear division of responsibilities it would seem.
So, when we asked West Sussex to help pay for parking improvement as our Highways Authority using some of our local taxes, that seemed reasonable. Yet the Tories in response voted for no action at all on parking.
The fact that three senior members of their group occupy leading county council roles must be a coincidence, who would vote against their own area?
A chance to redeem themselves came immediately after, with a detailed motion asking councillors to support a new station at Kilnwood Vale, providing ease of access to a station for that side of Crawley and reducing traffic and parking pressures around existing stations at zero cost to Crawley. Easy decision for Crawley councillors, right?
Apparently not. The Tories abstained, needing ‘more information’ to decide between a station next to Crawley and one next to Horsham.
It is becoming increasingly clear to everyone that the Conservatives in Crawley are here to be the voice of County Hall, since that is exactly what they do every time it comes to a vote. In Crawley Labour, we know who we serve and we will always put Crawley first.
Cllr Peter Lamb
Leader, Crawley Borough Council