Council attacked over Littlehampton CCTV scheme support

LG 200115 Littlehampton town centre CCTV cameras. Photo by Derek martin SUS-150120-152713001
LG 200115 Littlehampton town centre CCTV cameras. Photo by Derek martin SUS-150120-152713001

AN ATTACK on town councillors has been made for their lack of support for a crime-fighting scheme in Littlehampton.

Arun District Council’s cabinet member Paul Dendle said the town council needed to put backing for CCTV cameras ahead of its staffing expenses.

Mr Dendle, who is in charge of Arun’s leisure and amenities services, claimed the town council was spending more than £100,000 on corporate costs while it refused to increase the £2,605 it put towards the six cameras.

He appealed for the town council to review and cut its corporate costs to provide something ‘valuable for the community’

“It seems to be topsy-turvy in making sure their corporate costs are covered but not their community responsibilities,” he said.

Mr Dendle made his remarks as the cabinet agreed on Monday to extend its current deal with Sussex Police for the cameras by a further two months.

The extension takes the contract to March 31, 2016, at the request of the police, to ensure all its CCTV services run together.

There are 19 CCTV cameras in the Arun district. Of the others, 12 are in Bognor Regis and one in Rustington.

Bognor Regis Town Council is paying £4,000 towards its sites and Rustington Parish Council is putting in £600.

Dudley Wensley, Arun’s deputy leader, said the parish council’s attitude contrasted to that of the Littlehampton council.

“It is good the parish council accept their responsibility – and they are right to – to the community. It’s a pity Littlehampton don’t do the same,” he said.

Littlehampton mayor Jill Long said the town council would be considering its budget on Thursday and that no decision will be made until then.

However, she felt cabinet members’ comments were made in an effort to ‘muddy the waters’.

Mrs Long said that a reduction of cash support by Arun to parish councils within the district was having an unprecedented and major impact on the town council’s funds.

She explained that during the three-year phase out, the town council’s cash support would gradually be reduced by Arun, equating to a total loss of £147,000 per year by 2016.

She added the town council’s contributions to CCTV would be one of the packages it would need to look at to address the ‘unnecessary loss of about 15 per cent’ of its precept.

Mrs Long claimed when Arun agrees its budget in February, it could decide to pass on some of the deficit.

If this were the case, she ‘anticipated’ the council would be able to support schemes such as the CCTV and reduce council tax.