People don’t care who’s responsible for a service, they just want things fixed. I get that and as an elected representative it’s infuriating to have to tell residents that we either lack the legal authorisation to resolve an issue they’ve raised or that the Government has given the money to pay for it to an organisation which is unwilling to spend it to solve the problem.
The one which occurs most often is the division between Crawley Borough Council and West Sussex County Council, which is can be so confusing even councillors aren’t sure who is responsible for what. I often joke with people an easy rule of thumb in Crawley is if there’s a problem, it’s probably the county council’s fault. Sadly, when I talk to residents that’s almost always true.
The confusion over who’s responsible probably isn’t helped by Crawley stepping-in to improve services where West Sussex are responsible but under-performing, with Crawley tax payers essentially forced to pay twice for the same service and Crawley getting the blame for ongoing county council cuts.
Nonetheless, we’ll always do what we can to resolve issues with the money and powers Government allows us to have, regardless of who’s technically responsible. Two proposals coming to the next Cabinet meeting highlight this.
The first is a measure to try and tackle the blight of abandoned shopping trolleys. For years we’ve encouraged supermarkets to take responsibility and some have tried, yet the problem persists. So, we’ve dug through old legislation and found an alternative, enabling council workers to collect the abandoned trollies and return them to the supermarkets with a fine.
The second is an Order which will ban the car cruising which has turned Crawley’s streets increasingly dangerous and noisy at night. This is an issue the Police have been struggling to tackle using existing laws, but following Crawley’s decision here-on-out anyone participating in any such gathering will be eligible for an on-the-spot fine. The behaviour of such groups is a risk to the public, is causes disruption for residents in neighbouring areas and it’s time it came to an end.
Cllr Peter Lamb
Leader, Crawley Borough Council