Investigation will be launched into residents’ concerns about Seaford Town Council

Seaford Salts rec
Seaford Salts rec

An independent investigation will be launched into concerns about the operation of Seaford Town Council.

A review committee will be established by the town council to arrange an independent led review.

Last week Seaford MP Norman Baker labelled the council “dysfunctional and out of control” as he called for the district auditor to look into the finances and running of the council.

Town council leader Paul Franklin said: “Seaford Town councillors are working together to address issues that have been raised by Seaford residents.

“The council will work in a co-operative and transparent manner to ensure that the needs of residents continue to be met.”

Mr Baker said he did not normally intervene in such matters but the state of chaos at Seaford Town Council was such that it could not be allowed to deteriorate further.

Speaking at the full council meeting on Monday January 27 in the Council Chamber, cllr Alan Latham said: “I really would like to see a formal enquiry into the apparent failures in leadership and administration at Seaford Town Council.”

At the meeting councillors decided to contribute £5,000 to Lewes District Council to carry out a feasibility study into building a water sports and leisure facility on the Salts Recreation Ground in Seaford.

The council also voted for an eight per cent increase in the town council precept, which is the share of the council tax asked for by town councils to pay for the services they provide.

The rise was justified by finance and general purposes committee chairman Barry Burfield for the following reasons: paying for a ranger to manage the Seaford Head Estate which was previously paid for by the South Downs Joint Committee, increase in cost of maintaining open space and a survey which will look at the age and condition of Seaford’s open spaces, amenities, and assets. It will provide a forecast of remediation works and costs.

Cllr Burfield said he was sure the survey would identify some “uncomfortable expenditure” with some previously neglected assets, and that there was some provision in the budget to absorb some of these costs.

Amongst the councillors to oppose the rise was cllr Sam Adeniji who argued although it was only a few pounds a year, at a time when incomes were being squeezed and prices were rising, the council should ensure its rise was below inflation.

The precept for 2014/15 will be £516,194 in total, or £56.64 per annum for a band D household, which equates to a rise of eight per cent and an extra £4.26 per household per annum for a band D household compared to last year’s precept. The rate of inflation (CPI) is currently 2 per cent.

Lewes District Council submitted the proposal to Seaford Town Council for the water sports facility. The proposal is currently at concept stage so there is no plan or design at this stage. It will look at costs and demand.