30 years ago

FROM the West Sussex County Times of Friday, April 10, 1981.

RATEPAYERS in Billingshurst may be asked to provide £7,000 for extra facilities in the proposed new sports hall at the Weald School.

At the parish council meeting, it was suggested that as the villagers were going to benefit from the hall, they might like to contribute towards it.

The cost of this facility will be about £400,000 and most of the necessary money will be provided by the county council and Horsham District Council.

Chairman of the parish council, Mr Jack Easton, said the new sports hall was to be a joint effort, and some people had wondered if they would like to take part in the scheme.

He called a meeting of parish councils in the catchment area of the proposed building to see if they were interested in clubbing together.

Twelve councils were represented at the meeting and Mr Easton said they had all expressed considerable interest.

The two possibilities open to them were to contribute £25,000 for an attractive foyer for the hall, or to raise £13,000 to build a store room for equipment.

A RUSTING footbridge over the railway line at Horsham’s Needles Estate is presenting county councillors with a big financial problem.

The rights of way sub-committee was told that a replacement could cost around £38,000. And even getting rid of the footbridge would cost £5,000.

Members agreed to spend £1,500 on a survey which will involve ultrasonic inspection of welding, by council staff, before making up their minds whether to repaint, repair, or replace the bridge – or whether to get rid of it altogether.

British Rail had asked for a more expensive survey by expert consultants, costing £6,000. Mr M J Horne, a group engineer, said paintwork on the bridge was on the point of breaking down.

Underneath the bridge, members supporting the concrete deck were showing considerable corrosion. There was a danger that a piece of steel could drop off onto the track.

“An inspection should certainly be carried out,” said Mr Horne.

Chairman Mr Granville Sharp said the county council was now “lumbered” with the bridge as a result of an agreement made by the old Horsham Urban Council.

“It’s quite clear we do not have this sort of money to hand out,” he added.

BIG PAY rises could mean cuts in West Sussex County Council staffing in education and other services, county councillors have been warned.

“The hard and fast truth of the matter is that we cannot keep going back to the ratepayers for them to automatically cough up the consequences of national pay settlements,” Mr Frank Keen told the policy and resources committee.

“We cannot continue to finance national pay settlements without serious consequences for the number of staff employed.

“It is not our wish, but if the national negotiators do this, inevitably we must freeze the amount of expenditure available, cut our cloth accordingly, and reduce numbers.”

Mr John Green said that in the past the county council had always met pay awards from its contingency fund. If any cash was left, it went for goods and services.

The council no doubt had to pay wage increases “forced through” by those who negotiated on behalf of its staff.

“Because we have employed 100 before doesn’t mean we shall still employ 100,” said Mr Green.