Home > Just and fair to all? > Oh dear, Cllr Mrs Brown feels insulted!

Oh dear, Cllr Mrs Brown feels insulted!


Although the Chairman very generously extended public question time at the Full Council meeting on 8th January there was still not enough time for all public questions to be put. The public were advised that a written response would be provided to any questions that could not be put. Here is one such question and the written response from the Leader.

Councillor Mrs. Brown will find that indignation is no defence when this question is put by barristers in the quasi-judicial context of an Examination in Public.

Public question to the Leader – Full Council January 8th 2014

“It is a matter of public record that the council led a campaign against the Eco Town proposals. In April 2008 a press release from the council stated: “the Leader of Arun District Council, Cllr Mrs Gillian Brown, signalling the start of a council-led community campaign against the proposal said she was appalled that no account had been taken of the Council’s consistent and overwhelming objections to an eco-town at Ford.”

It is quite clear that the findings of the Eco Town Select Committee were predetermined.

This is particularly relevant in 2014 because the council now seeks to use the findings of the Eco Town Select Committee as justification against development on brownfield land at Ford, and instead, to justify development of large swathes of greenfield land across the district.

Do you accept that by actively campaigning against development at Ford, it can now be seen that the council has wilfully disadvantaged residents in other areas?”

Response to your Second Question from the Leader of the Council, Councillor Mrs Brown

“First of all, I think that it is very insulting to suggest that the cross-party Members of the Eco-Town Select Committee did not take their responsibilities seriously and that the findings were pre-determined.

I am sure that there is not anyone who sat on that Committee who would agree with you and in fact you sat through the evidence yourself and know that was not what happened and is completely untrue.  Ford has been separately considered as an area for accommodating growth within the sustainability appraisal process used to inform the Local Plan. 

It is on the outcome of this that Ford has to date been rejected due to a lack of infrastructure and service capacities rather than solely on the basis of the Select Committee findings.  No, I do not think the Council has wilfully disadvantaged residents in other areas.” 

Readers will, of course, note that Cllr Mrs Brown has avoided the main issues, which are:

A council cannot campaign against something (the “council-led community campaign” against the principle of an Eco Town) and at the same time consider it with an open mind (the Eco Town Select Committee).

The Leader acknowledges “the Council’s consistent and overwhelming objections to an eco-town at Ford.” In other words, the council had already decided its position long in advance of the Eco-Town Select Committee.

Given that the cabinet voted to “mount a campaign against the principle of Eco-Towns in the District” those cabinet members, in effect, predetermined their position with regard to consideration of LDF option 2.

By leading a campaign against one of its own LDF options the council, in essence, favoured residents in one section of the community at the expense of residents in other locations like Angmering, Barnham/Eastergate/Westergate, Westbank, Bersted, Courtwick and North Littlehampton.

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  1. January 26, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    When I walked into the council chamber on the first morning of the Select Committee there were agendas still left on the tables from a meeting the previous Friday of the campaign group. They even left a notice on the door of the council chamber that said: “campaign group meeting in progress”. I kept it as a souvenir! So on Friday it was the campaign group and on Monday it was the Select Committee.

    What may not be so widely known is that seven Campaign Against Ford Eco-Town (CAFE) meetings were scheduled in the Arun council chamber or committee room 2 and that in an e-mail on 22nd August 2008, from Mr Derek Waller of CAFE to Ian Sumnall, Chief Executive (and acting head of planning at the time) of Arun District Council, Mr Waller states: “Dear Ian, Many thanks for, once again, hosting the CAFE meeting this morning”. The e-mail went on to thank the Chief Executive for the blind copied e-mails from one of his officers!

    In my view the whole thing was a sham.

  2. Terry Ellis
    January 26, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    Well Mr Chuckle. Mrs Brown says “I am sure that there is not anyone who sat on that Committee who would agree with you and in fact you sat through the evidence yourself and know that was not what happened and is completely untrue” She says you were there, what is your accurate view of what happened , not Mrs Brown’s version of what YOU heard.#

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