Article date: 26 April 2023
Reading time: 5 minutes
As a Bexhill resident, have you ever found yourself perplexed by the intricate network of council responsibilities? You're not alone! It's time to demystify the inner workings of Rother District Council and East Sussex County Council. After all, while Rother collects your council tax, they keep just a tiny 10%, while a whopping 75% goes to East Sussex.
So, who's responsible for what services, and whom should you approach to address your pressing concerns? Let's take a look. We'll begin with a handy checklist...
Let's look at each of the councils in more depth:
East Sussex County Council oversees the entire county of East Sussex, encompassing 692 square miles, and is accountable for a whole range of services. These include educational institutions such as schools and colleges, children and family services, fostering and adoption, libraries, street parking, waste and recycling processing (excluding collection), road and pavement maintenance (potholes!), youth services, transport, and Trading Standards.
To report concerns related to drainage and flooding, pavement and cycleway maintenance, rights of way, signage, or street lighting, the East Sussex Highways website can be your first port of call. For reporting potholes, the Fix My Street website is recommended.
For other areas of concern, the council provides a dedicated compliments and complaints section. The general switchboard can be reached at 0345 608 0190, and emergency contact numbers are available for social care and children's services.
It is worth noting that there are areas where county and district council responsibilities intersect, such as waste management. Rother District Council handles rubbish collection, while East Sussex County Council is responsible for waste disposal and the management of the county's household waste sites. Together, they ensure efficient waste management in Bexhill.
Rother District Council oversees a wide array of services within the 197 square miles of Rother. Its duties include managing housing, processing the majority of planning applications, environmental health, organising rubbish and recycling collection, maintaining parks, gardens, and seafront areas, administering housing benefits, maintaining public toilets, supervising car parks, and promoting leisure and economic regeneration.
For reporting issues such as fly-tipping, missed bins, neighbourhood problems, graffiti, or housing-related concerns, the "Report It" section on Rother's website serves as a convenient and centralised platform. To contact Rother District Council directly, their switchboard can be reached at 01424 787000. Additionally, an out-of-hours care line is available for emergencies occurring outside of regular working hours.
Bexhill-on-Sea Town Council is the smallest among the councils, and exclusively governs the 12.5 square miles encompassing the town. Bexhill's Town Council was established in 2020 following a long-standing campaign to reinstate local democracy. Bexhill once had its own Borough council from 1902 until its dissolution in 1974 during the Big Reorganisation.
Although the new council currently only has direct responsibility for allotments, it possesses the General Power of Competence, granting it the authority to undertake any task in any sector, provided it adheres to the law.
Upon inception, the Bexhill Town Council conducted a comprehensive household survey to identify residents' priorities, leading to the development of a Five-Year Plan. The council promptly declared a climate emergency, hosted a public meeting, and formulated an approved Climate and Nature Action Plan. A proposed Nature Domesday Survey aims to involve scientists, enthusiasts, and young individuals in mapping and monitoring the town's wildlife and nature to safeguard it for future generations.
In addition to establishing five Happy to Chat benches, the council has subsidised nine fitness trainers for obtaining a Level 3 qualification in Fitness for the Active Elderly, initiated a dementia project, and held meetings with Southern Water executives to address sewage concerns. Moreover, the council annually allocates £30,000 to support local voluntary organisations and grants civic awards to key contributors within the town.
Where your council tax goes:
Rother District Council is responsible for collecting council tax payments from residents, which is subsequently divided among various authorities to deliver the services we all rely on. The distribution is as follows: 75% to the county council, 10% to the district council, 2% to Bexhill Town Council, 8% to the police, and 5% to the fire authorities.
For the 2023/24 financial year, the precept for Bexhill Town Council amounts to £38.31 or 74p per week. In comparison, Rother's precept is £198.60 or £3.81 per week.
The overall council tax bill for a Band D property, encompassing contributions to East Sussex, Police, Bexhill Special expenses, social care, and fire authority, totals £2,314.91. This figure represents a 5.6% increase compared to the previous year.
You can also call the county council on 0345 608 0190 or the district council on 01424 787000.
Article by Alastair Hazell.
With thanks to Viv Taylor Gee, Lucienne Corner, Philip Baker and Christine Bayliss.
I always love to hear your comments, so please feel free to comment below. Note that you can post without having a login - simply select the 'guest' checkbox.