Since 1999, theUnited Kingdomhas been testing a loose form of regional government and we inCrawleyare covered by the indirectly elected SEERA (South East England Regional Assembly).  The assembly has a member from each of the 74 councils in the region alongside business, voluntary and environmental partner representatives.  It has been responsible for regional planning, housing and transport.


 Was today’s financial crisis partly driven by irresponsible lending or irresponsible borrowing?  We might expect institutional lenders generally to know a little more about risk than borrowers, conduct appropriate credit checks and offer sound advice.  The failure of this theory implies large-scale irresponsible lending on an international basis.

Runway Debate

 The changing ownership of Gatwick Airport has understandably re-opened debate about additional runway capacity.  At the council, we have enjoyed working constructively with the existing owner but we can see the reasons for introducing further competition into the operation of the country’s airports.  This competition will hopefully drive any new owner’s vision for Gatwick.  That vision should be much more creative and realistic than just adding one or two extra runways.

In The Community

 We can think of councillors as having three broad roles – representing their ward and the wider community; policy-making and their party interest.  The policy-making role is critical so that elected representatives drive the policy agenda based on a platform that they have already put to electors.  Without this feature in place, councils can become officer-led and nobody elects council officers.  Councillors are there to provide the political leadership although there will be times when we have overlap with the officers’ managerial leadership.

Conference Season

We are in the middle of the political party conference season.  This was for some time a ‘BBB’ seaside circuit with Blackpool, Bournemouth and Brighton being the favoured locations.  Times have changed and other destinations have entered the preferred list.

Brave and Bold

With the current state of the economy, who would have predicted the launch of another newspaper for Crawley?  This is a decision that has something in common with the post-war designation of Crawley New Town.  It is creative, brave and bold.