REVIEWING Mr Edwards’ and Mr Coster’s contributions last week, I feel bound to point out that not signing the Civic pledge on free parking in Bognor does not mean it can be taken one is against.
I rather feel sympathy with the former that he feels strong-armed by Civic. Had they given me something where variation was allowed I might have signed it. On free parking I would have been able to sign to a proposal that, when/if funding becomes available, I would sign to that but I wrote to him that in the year after this forthcoming election the new council at Arun will be bound by the budget set by the outgoing council, which has no such provision and, as Mr Edwards says, there is no allocation either in the town council’s budget.
As an incoming councillor I would want to see the books first, and examine priorities.
I would support free parking at Arun; similarly at the town council I’d support the same sort of arrangement which enables our neighbours on Littlehampton Town Council to co-fund their free parking in partnership with Arun and local traders there. The latter in Bognor might like to start to think whether they also would join such a tripartite arrangement here. Has Civic lobbied them?
Now does that qualify me to appear as signing Civic’s pledge? I think not. That is hardly reflective of my position and I suspect that of other candidates.
As for transparency, I have issues with Civic which I feel personally is dominated by Mr Coster. Last year, I was agent for the Labour Party’s general election candidate, Michael Jones, and he refused to share a platform with the BNP candidate at Civic’s hustings meeting. A bit of a row followed. I asked to be able to answer questions on the matter at Civic. They voted not to accept this. They should consider transparency as all they seemed to want to do was to hear only Mr Coster’s view. Based on that, I will not attend their meetings until they apologise.
If I were elected, that would be the voice of the ward where I am standing, based on whatever electoral system is used. That is where councillors can claim mandate which Civic cannot.
Yes, I suspect Paul Dendle is on a bit of a wind-up but is he simply pushing at Hugh Coster’s inflated pomposity? Civic is too much of a one-party state for my taste, no matter how much it claims internal democratic process.
Jan Cosgrove (Mr)
Labour Party candidate, Hotham Ward, Arun and Bognor Regis Town