Joined up Government

Last Friday I attended the opening of the new extension to the Little Foxes Day Nursery near Steyning.

Since it opened less than two years ago, the nursery has expanded phenomenally and opened new services.  The day nursery looks after 120 children each week and has a waiting list that continues to grow.

It's a marvellous new facility.  And it shows a real demand for nursery provision that wasn't being met.  Good local childcare facilities are so important to give women real choices about going to work.

Coincidentally, my next meeting was at County Hall in Chichester to discuss how to maintain nursery provision in Arundel.

I've been working with councillors representing the county, district and town to see if a solution is possible.

We all know about the contentious issues which local councillors have to face, but we're stronger when we work together for the community, as when we united against plans to downgrade our hospitals.

Now it seems we are going to have to mount another campaign.  As I write, the Government has just announced that Ford is being shortlisted as an eco-town.

In fact I'm just about to have a conversation with the Housing Minister, Caroline Flint, about it.

I'll ask her why, when Arun District Council, Arundel Town Council and local parish councils have all objected to development on this scale, the Government thinks it's right to over-rule them.

What's ‘eco' about building 5,000 to 10,000 houses on a green field site - on top of the 58,000 already planned for West Sussex?

I think it's ludicrous that while Arundel still awaits its bypass and our local hospital services are being downgraded, housing numbers are rising dramatically.

West Sussex Primary Care Trust admitted to me that they haven't yet factored this huge potential new demand in.

Is this what's known as joined up government?

Michelle Taylor