Agenda item

Councillors' Question Time

There will be a maximum of 30 minutes for Councillors’ Question Time (CQT). Councillors may ask questions relating to either a portfolio issue or with regard to the functions delegated to a Committee.


There are two methods for Councillors asking questions:


1.     Councillors can submit written questions in advance of the meeting and written answers will be provided on the evening of the Full Council.


2.     Councillors can also verbally ask questions during the CQT.


Councillors have the opportunity to ask oral supplementary questions in relation to either of the methods above.


Name of Councillor asking question

Name of Councillor responding


Councillor Piggott to the Cabinet Member for Leisure and Wellbeing (supplementary question to written question):


Thank you for your response to my written question. I understand the limitations in terms of the commercial discussions and the public comments, so thank you for those. It's extremely helpful to have this overview of the current situation regarding Goffs House which is why I asked the question as there have been many residents concerned as to what is going to happen with this property. Proactive and clear communication, as appropriate and within the limitations indicated, are important and I am pleased we're now able to share this with residents whom we represent. May I recommend that with this, as with all significant locations within the town, that clear and proactive communication with residents is maintained moving forward?








Councillor C Mullins (Cabinet Member for Leisure and Wellbeing)


In one sense I was very pleased to have Goffs Park House come back under my portfolio. The house has lots of potential in many ways - some park use, some business use. We have not made any final decisions on the house yet. I have responded to a few email queries explaining that the house itself has problems and is dilapidated. We have not managed as yet to settle the payments due from the Ministry of Justice who handed the house back to us. I wouldn't want to get into commercial discussions or ideas at the moment, but it is an ongoing situation. We are keen to see the success of the house in the longer term, that is our ambition, but it's not going to be cheap due to the state of the house. So if you're talking to constituents about this, please tell them to be patient as it will take time and we cannot rush. We need to look at our financial resources - even if we reach an acceptable agreement with the Ministry of Justice in the near future, that won't really solve the problem of the conversion needs inside - but we would like to try and get some sources of income for the house as well. It will take time and that's why it has not been put in to the Goffs Park business plan but have kept it separate as we want the plan to move ahead separately. At some point the Council's working group will be looking at the house.


Councillor Lanzer to the Cabinet Member for Housing (supplementary question to written question):


Thank you for your answer to my written question. Part of your answer refers to a private ('part B') agenda item from the Full council meeting on 17th July 2019, which means that this information is inaccessible to the public and the media. The decision was to use Housing Revenue Account funding to top-up sick pay arrangements for housing sub-contractors. If you remain proud of a decision to use tenants' money to support the terms and conditions of private housing sub-contractors, why was the answer to my question still put in private 'part B', and why was the decision ever put in private 'part B' and made inaccessible to the public?









Councillor Irvine (Cabinet Member for Housing)


It is not my decision as to whether the matter was put in private 'part B' - that is a decision for the paid service. However I would say that, in terms of the original decision, I think it was the right thing to do. We don't want people working on behalf of the Council having to come to work when they're sick because they can't afford to go off sick. I can't say whether I will still be Cabinet Member for Housing when the contracts are re-negotiated, but when that does happen I would hope that the terms of the contract could be re-negotiated to include better sick pay. However if that happens that could increase the cost of the contract, so the cost of providing it in another way might end up exactly the same. I have not received any detrimental reports about the use of the sick pay scheme since it has come into action. In the last four years we have managed to repay the overpaid rents to Council tenants from a mistake which arose from the previous administration, we have started to shift temporary tenancies back into secure tenancies, and we are providing extra staff to conduct rolling surveys of our stock. So all in all I don't think there is anything we can't be proud of.


Councillor Crow to the Cabinet Member for Public Protection


I have received an invite, as all borough councillors have, to the community safety event you are holding in early March. What do you hope to get out of the event and what do you think it can achieve that is not going to be achieved through public consultation (for example, the Safer West Sussex Partnership ran a consultation on community safety in the autumn of 2023)?







Councillor Y Khan (Cabinet Member for Public Protection)


I am really hoping that people do come forward, take advantage of this event, and raise their concerns. People do not always turn up to these things but we have had enquiries about it and I am hoping that people will come and raise their concerns. Sussex Police will also be in attendance. We are trying to get some young people involved so they can come and see the impact of things like drug taking and the effect that has on people. I am hoping that it will be a really positive event and that we can change some lives. I have been speaking with some hard to reach communities - I think I have gained their trust, so they are  willing to come forward to ask some questions and we want to see how we can help them.



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