+44 (0)1903 882954 admin@arundeltowncouncil.gov.uk

Mayor of Arundel

Our cheerful administrator contacts me via Microsoft Teams. She says that it is customary for a new Mayor to explain what they hope to achieve. It may be customary, but 2020 is no ordinary year. With the great events of the Arundel calendar, from the Castle’s Tulip Festival and VE Day celebrations to the Corpus Christi Carpet of Flowers and Festival, going down like dominos, the more relevant question seems to be “What can the Mayor and Council do for Arundel during this Coronavirus pandemic?”

Arundel’s Mayoralty is centuries old. Our beautiful town has not been immune to crises. Earlier Mayors and Councils must have asked themselves similar questions during both World Wars, during the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic, in 1803 whilst Napoleon’s army was waiting to cross the channel, throughout the fluctuations of the English civil war and probably right black to the Black Death. As our resident historian, Cllr Mark Phillips says, “Arundel always rallies in a crisis”.

In our crisis, Council members have set themselves three tasks. Firstly, In every way we can to provide support and practical assistance to all Arundel residents to get safely through the Coronavirus pandemic. We are working with the St Nicholas Arundel Community Support Hub, which has built up a list of over 170 volunteers to shop and collect medication and to act as ‘phone buddies’.  In Arundel no-one, even in isolation, should feel alone. We are supporting the Arundel Community Aid ‘virtual’ food bank. Reportedly 3m people in this country have gone hungry during this pandemic, and Arundel Community Aid are determined that this should never apply to anyone in our town. We are using the Arundel Community Network email bulletin to promote all the services and support, from retailers and voluntary organisations, that are available. The latest edition focuses on support for the mental strain and anxiety that some people are experiencing.

Now, as the lockdown eases, we are facing a new issue. In our Town Centre, as visitor numbers increase, social distancing is  hard on  narrow pavements surrounded by fast moving traffic.  So we are trying to provide more space for pedestrians, whilst making sure that reminders of the need to respect social distancing are very visible.

Our priority is making Arundel Town Centre safe for residents, but it will also help to keep visitors safe-and the survival of our Arundel shops, bars and restaurants and attractions depend on Arundel being seen as a safe place to visit. For this reason, our second goal is to support Arundel attractions, businesses, and voluntary organisations in their recovery programmes as Government guidelines enable them to come out of hibernation. So we are working closely with the Chamber of Commerce . Arun District Council has been given a grant to help the High Streets in the district start-up again, and we are already discussing with them the help that our town will need.

As  the pandemic recedes, we will take time to honour those residents whose contribution to dealing with the pandemic has been particularly deserving. The editor of The Bell has already identified many ‘Arundel Heroes’, ranging from the front-line workers to our schools that have responded so thoroughly to the needs of children. Carers, retailers, the post office, those delivering mail and parcels, and the abundant ‘good neighbours’, the Arundel roll of honour will be lengthy.

Whilst Coronavirus is the priority, we will press on with all the other objectives, which are listed HERE. During the pandemic, Arundel Town Council has adopted some new ways of working which should make it more efficient in the future.  I hope and believe that we will come out of the Coronavirus pandemic with an enhanced sense of what we can achieve when the Town Council, the District Council, the Chamber of Commerce and Arundel’s wonderful voluntary organisation all work together to serve our community.

Tony Hunt, Mayor of Arundel