This Week at Worthing Borough Council (17th-23rd September 2012)

Holidays are over, back to work… 🙂

Meetings:

September 17th Licensing Control Committee

6.00 p.m.; Town Hall, Worthing

Full agenda and reports at: http://bit.ly/OwPSfA

 

1 application for a Private Hire Driver’s License. Normally these would be delegated to officers, but there may be some specific information in the application that would require more consideration.

 

 

Cabinet/Cabinet Member Decisions

Leader of the Council:

Remembrance Sunday Reception – location: decision due after September 24th

It might seem that deciding where to hold the traditional reception after the Remembrance Sunday service and parade would be uncontroversial and straightforward, but not really. The council has managed to allow almost every possible location in the town hall complex – the committee suite, the Gordon Room, the Assembly Hall – to be booked up for other purposes, or in one case, filled with stored documents. It would seem difficult to be taken by surprise by Remembrance Sunday, but Worthing BC have managed it.

 

Deputy Leader/Cabinet Member for Regeneration:

Portland House/Town Hall Car Park – Marketing Brief: decision due after July 2nd, but still not recorded as made!

 

Cabinet Member for Resources:

Irrecoverable Debts – Council Tax and Non-Domestic Rates: decision due after July 6th, but still not recorded as made.

 

Cabinet Member for Customer Services:

none

(last decision 30/7/12 – joint decision with Adur)

 

Cabinet Member for Health & Wellbeing:

none

(last decision 16/5/11)

 

Cabinet Member for Environment:

none

(last decision 31/5/12)

 

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Best Foot Forward? Setting an Example on Transport

Our last county council meeting, on May 18th, fell on the last day of Walk to Work Week, and it got me thinking about how I, and other county councillors, get to County Hall for meetings; do we set a good example to council officers, and West Sussex residents, for using alternatives to the car?

Most of the time I cycle to Worthing railway station, take the train to Chichester, and walk from there to County Hall. It’s perfectly feasible to get to County Hall for 10.00 a.m., even gtting an offpeak fare. With the mileage rates councillors get for driving, I save the council money as well as feeling virtuous, or possibly smug, about my choices.

Could others do the same? Well, with a list of county councillors’ addresses from the WSCC website, Google Maps, and a website for checking train times, it turns out to be quite easy to work out who (in theory) should be able to use public transport for their trips to County Hall. Note that this does not take into account individual circumstances: there are at least two county councillors I know of who would find it physically difficult, if not impossible, to walk/train/walk to Chichester. They both do good jobs, so this is not intended to impugn them directly or indirectly; but they are included in the figures I give. There may well be other cases where personal circumstances make it difficult or impossible to use public transport.

The parameters I set for this are:

  1. Is it possible to walk directly to County Hall in less than half an hour.
  2. If (1) isn’t possible, is there a nearby railway station from which it is possible to get a train after 9 a.m. to arrive at Chichester by 10 a.m.?
  3. If (2) is true, could someone walk from their home to that station in 20 minutes or less?
  4. If it’s not possible to walk to a station in 20 minutes (3), can you drive in 10 minutes or less?

I’ve ignored the possibility of cycling, either directly or to a station, as I’d have to start making my own calculations of cycling times. I’ve also left out the option of getting a bus to Chichester; you can do this on Google Maps, but I’m not convinced the timetables are up to date, nor that it would make much of a difference to the overall figures.

Using Google Maps, you can enter two postcodes and ask for walking directions between them. It doesn’t take account of pedestrian short cuts, only using paths beside roads, so some of these calculations could possibly be slightly shorter; I’m also a little sceptical about the projected walking times in Google Maps, as it claims that my walk to Worthing station should take 18 minutes – in fact I can do it in 12 minutes, and my 3 year old can scoot it in 18. So I’ve split the difference and called my walk to Worthing 15 minutes, and hence adjusted down elsewhere by a similar factor of 5/6.

There are 71 county councillors, but only 70 give a full address on the WSCC website: still a pretty good sample.

Here’s what I found:

2 County Councillors live within 30 minutes walk of County Hall

42 live within 20 minutes walk of a station

8 live within 10 minutes drive of a station

18 really have no option but to drive

So nearly 75% could avoid car use without too much personal disruption. And happily, in all but one case the train fare would be cheaper than the mileage allowance – so, given the disruption we’ve asked council staff to put up with pay freezes, job cuts and reorganisation – perhaps even a little disruption to councillors’ lives would really show that we’re ‘all in it together’.

Breaking it down by district:

Councillors Walk Walk/Train Drive/Train Drive No Address
Adur 6 6
Arun 13 9 3 1
Chichester 10 2 8
Crawley 9 6 1 1 1
Horsham 12 8 1 3
Mid Sussex 12 5 3 4
Worthing 9 8 1

Unsurprisingly, it’s the rural areas of Chichester and Horsham, and the farther reaches of Mid Sussex, where councillors don’t have much choice about their travel mode, whereas in the coastal region from Southwick west through Worthing and Arun it’s much easier for people to choose the train.

Perhaps if more people travelled by train, there might be a keener sense of the worth of public transport? And if the bus was a feasible option, perhaps the council might have done more to protect bus service subsidies?

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Directing King Lear, Part One

This will be the first in a series – an irregular series – over the next eighteen months on putting together and directing a play.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine confirmed something we’d discussed some months back: that he wanted me to direct him in King Lear.

This is the third time over nearly a decade that we’ve attempted to get a production of King Lear organised together, but on each previous occasion events have conspired to prevent us; this time, however, there’s nothing in either of our lives likely to be an obstacle to actually making it happen. We have a play, a venue – the King’s Theatre, Southsea, and a time – November 2013.

The company is called One Off, and was started by David Lippiett because he was frustrated at not being able to get ‘classic’ drama – Shakespeare, Ibsen, Chekhov, Miller, and so on – on to the amateur stage in Portsmouth. David knows just about everyone on the amateur drama scene in the Portsmouth area, and his simple rule was to decide what play to do, and then pick the best people he knew for the cast. I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved in a handful of One Off productions, and in each one I’ve felt very lucky to be among a people who know their craft and art so well; it gives a huge level of comfort to know that everyone knows what they are doing and is going to be able to pull you out of a hole if necessary.

Our first step will be putting together a cast for the production: David (who’ll be playing King Lear, but is also the producer) has some ideas, as do I, as to people we’d like to have on board, and we’ll be meeting in a couple of weeks time to see how well those lists marry up, and how we fill the gaps. Then of course, once we start contacting people to ask them, we’ll find out some people are unavailable because of commitments to other plays or for ‘real life’ reasons; or unwilling to be in the production, or to take the part we want them to play – we’ll try to persuade people, but in the end it will be up to them. So there will be more holes to fill, even before we get to the start of rehearsals (by which time we’ll probably have lost a couple of extra people to unforeseen circumstances).

Meanwhile, I’m going to be working on a script. King Lear runs to nearly 3,300 lines – that’s roughly 3 hours 40 minutes performance time, so cuts have to be made, and sizeable ones, to get it down to a reasonable running time for a modern audience, and theatre, and a cast that would like a post-performance drink: rule 1 of directing – give your actors time to get to the bar after the curtain’s come down, and they’ll be halfway to being on your side before the first minute of rehearsal.

Here’s a funny fact I’ve learned from directing and acting in Shakespeare’s plays over the last 25 years: 15 lines equals 1 minute. A friend once laughed when I told her that my production of The Taming of The Shrew would finish at 10:17; we were within 1 minute every night, except the performance when the bar as overcrowded and the interval was extended by five minutes – we finished at 22:22. Overall, it doesn’t matter how much business you throw in, how the actors deliver their lines (as long as they do deliver them, of course), or how the production is blocked (i.e. how the actors move around, on and off the stage):

15 lines on the page = 1 minute on the stage

So if we begin at 7.45, and finish at 10.30, with a twenty minute interval, that leaves us with 165 minutes of performance time, or 2,475 lines. So I need to cut around twenty percent of the play to get it to a reasonable length; a big job when you’re messing with Shakespeare’s lines, and one I’ll come back to in a later instalment.

What I do first – don’t laugh – is write the play. I start with a base text, from one of the published versions of Shakespeare’s plays – and literally retype the whole play, to create my electronic text. The first positive point about this is that once I have made the cuts I have a script which I can email to or print for each actor, without everyone having to buy a copy of my chosen text and strike through the cuts, so everyone is literally on the same page.

The second and more important positive is that this forces me to look at every single word of the script, every punctuation mark, every stage direction. Sometimes while doing this, a word or a line will jar, or will spark a thought about how to present hat on stage, and I’ll note that for later consideration. It creates a familiarity with the text which is invaluable when deciding how to cut.

Once I’ve developed the base text, I’ll go through again comparing it with other texts that I have to hand; in the house I have the following complete works: a facsimile of the First Folio, the Norton Shakespeare, Oxford Shakespeare, a Nelson Doubleday edition from the 60s, the Irving Shakespeare works of 1897, and the Malone edition of 1786; and my single play King Lear texts include the New Penguin, Arden 2nd and 3rd editions, and Cambridge. That makes ten texts; some of these are very close (or even identical) to each other, but by the end of the comparison I’ll have read my base text in detail four or five times, paying particular attention to anywhere I’ve made notes, and adding more notes on punctuation or textual differences as I go.

Then, I’ll start work on cutting the script down to size…

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This Week at West Sussex County Council (16th-22nd July 2012)

Committee Meetings:

 

July 19th Gatwick Airport Consultative Committee

2 p.m.; Hilton Hotel, South Terminal, Gatwick Airport

Full agenda and reports at: http://bit.ly/Sudrnf

Includes first presentation of new Gatwick Airport Master Plan

 

July 19th Sussex Police Authority

2 p.m.; Sackville House, Lewes

Full agenda and reports at: http://bit.ly/MaCcnv

 

July 20th Full Council

10.30 a.m.; County Hall, Chichester

Full agenda and reports at: http://bit.ly/NuxkZg

– includes motion on fracking

 

Forward Plan Decisions (July-October FP) by Cabinet/Cabinet Member

Full forward plan available here: http://bit.ly/MIqoYa

[Note: decisions outstanding from the previous month, plus decisions made during the past week]

 

Leader

Decisions made last week:

Health & Wellbeing Strategy; call-in deadline July 23rd

 

Deputy Leader/Cabinet Member for Communities, Environment & Enterprise

Decisions made last week:

none

 

Cabinet Member for Children & Families

Decisions made last week:

none

 

Cabinet Member for Education & Schools

Decisions made last week:

none

 

Cabinet Member for Finance & Resources

Decisions made last week:

none

 

Cabinet Member for Health & Adults’ Services

Decisions made last week:

none

 

Cabinet Member for Highways & Transport

Decisions made last week:

none

 

Cabinet Member for Public Protection

Decisions made last week:

none

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This Week at Worthing Borough Council (16th-22nd July 2012)

Meetings:

July 17th Full Council

6.00 p.m.; Town Hall, Worthing

Full agenda and reports at: http://bit.ly/NAPntH

 

 

Cabinet/Cabinet Member Decisions

Leader of the Council:

Mayoral Support – Budget for staff overtime payments: decision due after July 12th

 

Deputy Leader/Cabinet Member for Regeneration:

Portland House/Town Hall Car Park – Marketing Brief: decision due July 2nd

 

Cabinet Member for Resources:

Irrecoverable Debts – Council Tax and Non-Domestic Rates: decision due after July 6th

 

Cabinet Member for Customer Services:

none

(last decision 17/8/11)

 

Cabinet Member for Health & Wellbeing:

none

(last decision 16/5/11)

 

Cabinet Member for Environment:

none

(last decision 31/5/12)

 

Joint Cabinet Decisions with Adur:

none

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West Sussex County Councillors on Twitter

Following on from last week’s post which included a list of Worthing Borough Councillors on twitter, here is the equivalent list for West Sussex County Council.

Not quite so extensive, with only 17 of 71 councillors apparently on Twitter – and four of those were listed last week, being members at both County Hall and Town Hall.

Councillor Twitter name Followers
Lionel Barnard @lionelbarnard 20
Liz Bennett @lizzieannie 109
Heidi Brunsdon @heidibrunsdon 29
James Doyle @cllrjamesdoyle 240
Christine Field @cmfsussex 10
Louise Goldsmith @goldsmithlouise 142
Bob Lanzer @IO2F3 11
Simon McDougall @mcdougallsimon 17
Morwen Millson @morwenm 3
Francis Oppler @francisoppler 4
Chris Oxlade @chrisoxlade 834
Alan Rice @alanrice83 245
Brenda Smith @LabLangleyGrn 17
Bob Smytherman @bsmytherman 1775
Graham Tyler @bigggge 4
Nicky Waight @nicolawaight 36
Steve Waight @steve_waight 199

Worthing Borough Councillor Mike Donin is now also on twitter, @michaeldonin.

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This Week at West Sussex County Council (2nd-8th July 2012)

Committee Meetings:

 

July 2nd Governance Committee

2.15 p.m.; County Hall, Chichester

Full agenda and reports at: http://bit.ly/KT2PO1

– Sussex Police and Crime Panel Draft Constitution; sadly the link within the document to the actual constitution doesn’t work, but there does seem to be provision for public involvement; political balance has not been addressed, however.

July 3rd Cabinet

10.30 a.m.; County Hall, Chichester

Full agenda and reports at: http://bit.ly/N0fqxG

July 3rd East Crawley County Local Committee

7 p.m.; Crawley Library, Southgate Avenue, Crawley, RH10 6HG

Full agenda and reports at: http://bit.ly/O2pA27

July 4th Health & Adult Social Care Select Committee

10.30 a.m.; County Hall, Chichester

Full agenda and reports at: http://bit.ly/LaqdI5

  • Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust Update on Service Redesign
  • Future Model of Services for the Frail Elderly

July 4th Chanctonbury County Local Committee

7 p.m.; Henfield Leisure Centre, Henfield, BN5 9QB

Full agenda and reports at: http://bit.ly/OOGe7U

July 5th Policy & Resources Select Committee

10.30 a.m.; County Hall, Chichester

Full agenda and reports at: http://bit.ly/MIUJag

July 6th Chichester Harbour Conservancy

2.15 p.m.

This is the correct date for the meeting I published in error last week (based on the WSCC meeting calendar); however, there’s a problem with the Conservancy website and they haven’t been able to upload the agenda. I have been sent a copy however!

 

Forward Plan Decisions (July-October FP) by Cabinet/Cabinet Member

Full forward plan available here: http://bit.ly/MIqoYa

[Note: decisions outstanding from the previous month, plus decisions made during the past week]

 

Leader

Decisions made last week:

none

 

Deputy Leader/Cabinet Member for Communities, Environment & Enterprise

Decisions made last week:

Review of fees and charges for public rights of way; call-in deadline 9th July

Review of fees and charges for trade waste at Waste Transfer Stations and Strategic Planning; call-in deadline 9th July

 

Cabinet Member for Children & Families

Decisions made last week:

Procurement of a framework of providers for children’s residential and foster care (call-in deadline 5th July.

 

Cabinet Member for Education & Schools

Decisions made last week:

none

 

Cabinet Member for Finance & Resources

Decisions made last week:

none

 

Cabinet Member for Health & Adults’ Services

Outstanding from May:

Preparing for an Ageing Population (has now slipped to July)

Decisions made last week:

none

 

Cabinet Member for Highways & Transport

Outstanding from May:

Review of on-street parking charges (slipped to September)

Decisions made last week:

none

 

Cabinet Member for Public Protection

Decisions made last week:

none

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