Time for change on town council

IN RESPONSE to reports of the low number of present Seaford town councillors willing to stand again in the May elections, may I make the following comments?

I am one of the 13 councillors who have chosen not to stand for either Seaford or Lewes District this time.

I first stood in 1999, and in 2003 was elected, along with Tracy Willis and Ralph Taylor, both for town and district.

In 2007 we three chose, for differing reasons, to represent Seaford town only.

Now I at least - I cannot speak for others - feel I deserve a break after 12 years of campaigning.

It must be recognised by the electorate of Seaford just what a responsibility being a town councillor represents; the material circulated by the town clerk to prospective applicants in May, mentions a maximum of 45 council meetings, but that does not include informal call-overs, and meetings of the large number of organisations which appoint a representative from the council on their committee.

Unlike most town councils in this area Seaford Town Council does not pay councillors an allowance, although the town clerk has pointed out that under national guidelines we are entitled to vote for one.

I know some of the present council feel council duties at Seaford level should be unrewarded, but I happen to believe that by not paying local councillors a basic allowance - which might amount at most to £400 or so a year - we are discouraging potential new representatives.

It is no secret each election it becomes harder and harder to find worthy candidates, on both sides of the present political divide here.

Also Labour, as the main national opposition party, can apparently only field six candidates in May for 20 seats.

I would ask those elected in May, once they have come to grips with their council responsibilities, to revisit this option of an allowance payment.

May I thank the residents of South Ward who voted for me and supported me over the last eight years. It was not an easy decision to step down, and I was asked to reconsider more than once.

However I feel a fresh attitude from those elected in May will provide a way forward for the people of Seaford, particularly over the issue of replacement of the Seaford Head Golf clubhouse, which has recently been such a bone of contention in South Ward.

May I also thank council colleagues and officers past and present who have made the last eight years such an eventful, if not always totally enjoyable, time in my life.

Bob Brown

South Ward

Seaford Town Council