‘No confidence’ vote over Arun council duo

Councillor Ricky Bower
Councillor Ricky Bower

ARUN District Council leader Gill Brown and cabinet member Ricky Bower face a no confidence vote on Tuesday over ‘continued failures’ of the local plan.

Opposition Liberal Democrat councillors have tabled the motion, to be debated by full council.

It follows the latest rise in the district’s housebuilding targets in the local plan, now set at 845 homes per year.

Multiple calls for the duo to resign have been brushed off in the past six months – with outside factors cited as reasons for delays in adopting the plan.

The motion, proposed by Dr James Walsh and councillor Dan Purchese reads: “This council has no confidence in the leader of the council, councillor Mrs Brown and the cabinet member for planning and infrastructure, councillor Bower.

“The council’s lack of confidence is the result of the continued failures by the said members to deliver a sound local plan, the Planning Inspectorate’s recent decision that compels Arun to now deliver 845 new homes per year and the aforementioned members’ continuing failure to take any responsibility for their actions.”

The motion is unlikely to be carried, as the Conservatives have an overwhelming majority.

But it builds on previous resignation calls made by Dr Walsh and numerous residents.

In August, an open letter signed by 159 residents was submitted, with instigator, Westergate resident Tony Dixon, following it with a public question in September.

In response to the letter, Mr Bower said: “I like to see things through and I am going to see it through.”

Mr Bower has often stressed that numerous changes of government and legislation has frustrated the local plan process.

He has also said Arun is not alone in its struggles, with many other authorities yet to get a plan in place.

Mrs Brown is working at a national level to change the way plans are put together.

Responding to Mr Dixon’s call last year, she said: “You asked if I want what is best and the answer is of course I do.

“At the election last May residents recognised we both had the best interests of the district and both myself and councillor Bower were re-elected with overwhelming support. Residents didn’t have the same confidence in your ward.”

The motion will be debated at the civic centre, in Maltravers Road, Littlehampton, from 6pm.

The council’s annual budget will be the main topic of discussion.

Further homes pressure on Arun. Click here for the full story.