Herald Column February 7th 2019

Over the last 10 years or so Shoreham has gradually been transformed and is now at risk of becoming a victim of its own success as more people look to move into this once quiet and largely bypassed town. One thing that hasn’t changed however is the eyesore in Pond Road that is the former Burrscroft Residential Home, empty and unloved for some 11 years now.

I am regularly approached by constituents wondering why nothing is happening to it and there have been several false dawns about a refurbishment of the GP surgery triggering a redevelopment of the whole site, which I have been involved in. At last that prospect has moved a step forward and I brought together a roundtable of all the interested parties at the Shoreham Centre earlier this week to plan a way forward. It is never easy when dealing with the NHS as it has so many different branches with an interest but with NHS England, NHS Property, the CCG and the GPs represented I covered as many bases as possible.

I was joined by the Leader of West Sussex County Council, Shoreham County Councillor Kevin Boram, councillors and officers from County and Adur and the Rector of St Mary’s for good measure. I am really pleased with the consensus to move things on and I am delighted that Kevin Boram will be heading up a project management taskforce to scope out proposals, so watch this space.

On Friday it was wellies at the ready when I joined Sompting parish councillors, environment agency staff and other environmentalists for a site visit to see the plans for Broadwater Brooks in the gap between Sompting and East Worthing. The charity the Ouse & Adur Rivers Trust have just received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to undertake a project to move the course of the
Broadwater Brook from underground (under Deacon Way Industrial Estate and
Decoy Farm landfill) and put it through the land at Sompting Brooks. The site will then be
open to the public for the first time and involve large amounts of community engagement, raising awareness of environmental issues and aiming to inspire people to connect with greenspace and
nature. Away from the beach this will become the largest area of accessible
greenspace in the District.

The 3 year project will be starting soon, before residents get worried that bulldozers on the site signal that the Sompting West housing development is going ahead when in fact it has not yet even submitted proposals for planning approval, and is a separate scheme. It will be good to bring this area of green space back into public access having been owned by the Tristram family since the 18th Century.

On Tuesday I presented a petition to Parliament on behalf of parents and supporters of the excellent Boundstone Nursery urging the Government to renew the additional funding received by maintained nurseries when the current scheme comes to an end next year. I was able to raise the future of the nursery in a debate last week and I was pleased to receive the support of the Education Minister involved.