A Labour proposal to give local people more of a say over their neighbourhoods was rejected by Adur’s Conservative councillors.

Labour group leader Lee Cowen told the council’s budget-setting meeting in February: “We want this council to accept new ideas and to have a willingness to do things differently.

“We want a council that is rooted in its community where its residents are able to shape the place they live in.

”There is enormous capability and enthusiasm to get involved in civic pride initiatives across our communities, which has of course been exemplified during the pandemic. We wish to make it easier for them to participate which is the basis of this amendment to the budget. It’s a very modest start but we would expect it to grow into something bigger.

The resolution said “Our residents often ask who makes decisions about how their money is spent. They are often left feeling excluded.

“We would like to empower our local communities by giving them a budget to spend in their ward, on an item or service of their choice. It could be a picnic table, a piece of art or a spend on hanging baskets.

“Each ward would have its own allocation ensuring there is a fair distribution of resources across wards, handing over decisions to hyper-local communities. Ward councillors could pull together community groups into a forum and deliberate on how the allocation could be spent.”

The council receives COVID funding to help the community to rebuild as we emerge from the pandemic. The proposal was for a total budget of £31,000 for a 12-month pilot scheme. This was rejected by the majority Conservative group of councillors.

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