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 Cabinet Member Responding

Councillor Sudan to the Leader of the Council


I thank the Leader for his response to my question. I do recall that the reason for joining the Greater Brighton Economic Board was so that we could have our feet on the lobbying soapbox. The cost to the public of us joining has been £55,000. In the light of the Leader’s reply please can he explain the comments he made to the Greater Brighton Economic Board in July in which he said that (and I quote) Crawley Borough Council is not receiving any economic benefits through membership of the board.  My question was asking about material benefit that had come to Crawley as a direct result of membership of the board. I’m not asking about benefits that would have resulted of the lobbying or whether Crawley was involved, nor am I asking about benefits that have nothing to do with lobbying by CBC or anyone else.  In other word,s I wanted to know, how would we be worse off if we withdrew?

Councillor Lamb, Leader of the Council



I set out at the time of our joining the case for why I thought it would make sense for us to join, based around that lobbying. If you wish to say what are the benefits, other than all the things that have already been listed, then the answer is going to be nothing as they’ve already been listed and discounted. In practice, my argument for the Greater Brighton Economic Board in that instance was more about policies moving forward. The biggest concern at the time (although diminished due to the pandemic) was the fact we had 20 years to get Brighton mainline improvements through before we were going to run out of capacity of the railway line ie the train leaving Brighton is full, prior to it reaching Three Bridges. That is one example that would be catastrophic for the economy. Being part of a larger economic entity is that it can argue the case for that investment which makes significant amounts of sense and looking forward to the future of the town which needs to look after its residents.


Councillor Crow to the Leader of the Council


Just over 48 hours ago we heard from the Prime Minister about his roadmap for re-opening Britain. I appreciate it only happened a couple of days ago, but does he have any indication of the impact on council services and when we are likely to be opening up, thinking in particular of leisure facilities, tennis, MUGA and the town hall. I am keen to see no unnecessary delay which is later than the government’s guidance, particularly as opening up in line with the guidance would assist in generating some income again.


When plans are devised and drawn up please can members be informed as soon as possible.


Councillor Lamb, Leader of the Council


I welcome the more cautious approach the Prime Minister now appears to be taking.  We need to bear in mind that Crawley’s numbers are still in proportionately higher in terms of infection rates than other areas and higher than the national level.  If they do not decrease we may need to have restrictions for longer. I am hopeful that with vaccinations the numbers and levels will drop quickly, and we will be able to open but at the moment I am not planning one way or another.  But I do welcome a cautious approach.

Councillor Brenda Burgess to the Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Development


How are the Station Gateway, Eastern Gateway and redevelopment of Three Bridges Station progressing please?

Councillor P Smith, Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Development



It is going to be hard to provide short answers to those projects. But Station Gateway reserved matters application is potentially heading to Planning Committee on 6 April.  On Three Bridges station, there is a review of the scheme costs and also, we are having to look at the air quality management information due to the revised AQMA. In terms of Eastern Gateway, this is being led by WSCC and which has had a couple of issues such as Covid costs and original estimates but they are working with the supplier. You will have seen the notice about the demolition of the county buildings and work is due to start in the summer.


Councillor Purdy to the Leader of the Council


Whilst we’ve seen the new town hall going up in 2020, there have been delays and construction increases in other areas of the country due to the pandemic.  The new building will include 5.5 floors of grade A commercial space which the council is relying upon for future income. Given the previous discussions on budget challenges and income can the Leader give an update on when the building will be ready for occupation on the date?


Are there any cost increases associated with Covid?

Councillor Lamb, Leader of the Council



We are running ahead of schedule. It helps everyone working from home as it assists coordinating on site.  We are looking at early 2022 to be relocated into the new building.  The Chief Financial Officer is very diligent and takes a cautious approach and therefore the model of estimated rents coming in is pessimistic so it is hoped we will exceed that.




I’m not aware of any associated with Covid.  There are some associated with the DHN which is work that had to be done.


Councillor Bob Burgess to the Cabinet Member for Public Protection and Community Engagement


Thanks to all those involved in change to the way grants are awarded. A large piece of work in a short amount of time.

Going forward how confident are you that this new way of working will be successful?






I fully agree that those that need it should be getting it.  There are those that have been receiving it that may longer require the funding, but there are those that do need our support and they should continue to receive help where possible.

Councillor B Smith, Cabinet Member for Public Protection and Community Engagement


I don’t think we’d have introduced the new system if we weren’t hopeful of it being successful. It was discussed at great length and officers have put a lot of work into the scheme.  The processes will help to support those organisations that we desperately need to support and assist others in need to find alternative sources of funding. And in the end provide a better service.


Some of the awards we have been making have been historical and the groups are now sustainable.  The funding can be used in a different way, which is substantial – twice the amount of the county council – and I would hope we would be able to continue to support organisations that need it.


Councillor Mwagale to the Cabinet Member for Housing


Some residents in Tilgate were panicked at the prospect of a development being squeezed into a small piece of land in Shackleton Road next to the community centre. Having successfully fought the council from building on Ely Close, what is the plan for scrutinising this please?

Councillor Irvine, Cabinet Member for Housing


I am sorry to hear the people of Tilgate are alarmed.  There are plans afoot, nothing further. However, consultation with ward members and the public will be instigated when necessary.



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