Following the General Election of 2010, it did not take long for the issue of politicians’ promises to come to prominence.  Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg continues to pay the price for the Liberal Democrat commitment on tuition fees.  Or is ‘commitment’ too strong a word?  It sounds stronger than ‘promise’ but a thesaurus suggests that the two words are close enough in their meaning.

A Tale of Several Hospitals

 Some months ago on a visit to my homevillageofCharlwood, I was able to browse varied displays about local history in the parish hall.  There were many fascinating items including records from Charlwood Cottage Hospital, built in 1872.  The records showed a lot of successful outcomes for patients and some less successful in-patient episodes.  For many of us today, it might seem remarkable that a village like Charlwood had its own hospital, but it was not so unusual.

Mixed Provision

 One of the big political topics of 2010 was the start of Crawley Council’s Review of Management Options for Leisure and Cultural Services.  This review continues and addresses a core area of Council services, which while discretionary, are hugely important and valued right acrossCrawley.  The Council’s substantial investment of public money demonstrates a clear commitment to leisure and culture in Crawley.

Freedom of Speech

 The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, has made the welcome announcement thatBritain’s libel laws are to be reviewed.  WhileBritain is a great bastion of freedom of speech, this concept is undermined by some aspects of our defamation laws that leave us open to ridicule. 

Festive Season

 For the second year running, we have had a December with ample snow, although this year we did not have a malfunctioning snow machine inCrawleytown centre.  It was good to avoid that piece of irony.  There can be something magical about a snowscape, especially in parts of the country that wear their covering really well.

Renewal, Boom and Bust

 Over the last fortnight, we saw the opening of the new Bewbush and Langley Green Centres.  I was able to attend both openings, the first only in part.  These multi-million pound regeneration schemes are the product of many years work from officers, councillors and partner organisations.


 We had a fair amount of snow on Wednesday 1st December which made it a challenging day for everyone.  I commend our Council staff for their commitment and determination in maintaining a high level of service within and outside of the Town Hall.  In that spirit we wanted to proceed with the Cabinet meeting that evening and I am pleased that this decision was well supported by staff and councillors.

How We Build the Future

 Crawley New Town came about through careful planning.  Its development was driven by a high-level master plan that specified the neighbourhoods, housing locations, employment areas and much else.  Thanks to this good and thorough groundwork, we have a thriving community within a relatively compact space inWest Sussex.


 Later this month, there will be a United Nations climate change summit inCancun,Mexico.  It is expected that 194 countries will be represented.  This bringing together of so many nations is surely a great achievement at many levels but with the potential for some embarrassment.  There are some obvious pitfalls to avoid but not everyone does.

Earlier Savings

 Crawley Council made an accurate prediction for the likely reduction in government grant over the four-year period of the CSR (Comprehensive Spending Review).  We reckoned that the annual decrease would be seven percent and so it has proved to be.  I fully understand the need to rein in public spending and the Council had laid its plans accordingly.