VOTE: Would you like to see district councillors’ votes split into east and west?

Demands have been made for decisions about Bognor Regis to be made by the town’s district councillors.

The calls for Arun District Council to be split into west and east voting were made at Bognor Regis Civic Society.

All the some 60 people at last Friday’s meeting voted to scrap the council’s current system where councillors from around the district make the decisions.

Laurie Barnes, the society’s chairman, said a geographic split in decision-making worked in Chichester District Council. “It’s quite possible to have two different committees at which councillors who actually live in an area make decisions for that particular area,” he said.

Deputy chairman Hugh Coster said: “This would allow the decisions for the western area of Arun to be made by the councillors that represent this area.

“If the councillors for Bognor make a faulty decision, Bognor people will have the opportunity to vote them out at the next election, which they can’t do with councillors from Littlehampton.”

Arun’s cabinet system, in which seven councillors had most of the power, should be replaced by a return to the committees in which decisions were made by all council members, he said.

Ian Harding, Bognor Regis Chamber of Commerce’s deputy chairman, said: “The problem is the people with power don’t want to give it up.

“We are going to have to kick some backsides out at the next election.”

But Cllr Norman Dingemans, Arun’s cabinet member for customer services, said making the matter an election issue would be the most effective way to get change.

He stated the structure at Chichester still left decisions in the hands of its cabinet.

“I disagree with Mr Coster. Having committees split into east and west would not work,” he said.

“It would put costs up instantly. We would be printing three lots of agendas for all the areas.

“When you are elected as an Arun councillor, you are elected as a district councillor.

“You have to represent everybody in the district and make decisions for the economic and social wellbeing of everybody in Arun.”

He said the district council had pioneered the setting-up of three area committees. These brought together county, district and parish councils to discuss and vote on some matters in the downland, western and eastern areas.

What do you think?

Have your say in the voting panel to the right, and leave your comments below.