Update from Eastbourne Borough Council Leader David Tutt on 20-Jun-22


The news that the Towner Gallery in Eastbourne is to host the coveted “Turner” prize in 2023 is excellent.  This is true recognition of the work of CEO Joe Hill and his team, and they are to be congratulated.  The event will coincide with the Towner centenary, with the exhibition running from September to January 2024 and the award event being held in December. 

Named after the artist J.M.W. Turner and organised by the Tate, the prize is presented to a British artist selected from a shortlist of four.  The prize is the most prestigious awarded for contemporary art in the U.K., with past winners including household names such as: Damien Hirst, Antony Gormley and Grayson Perry.  Whilst I know that contemporary art is not to everyone’s taste, the importance of this event to Eastbourne includes the fact that it will bring many new visitors to the town.  Tourism plays an important part in our local economy, with 28% of local employment being linked to it and so this is news that we should all celebrate.

An event which is aimed far more at local residents than tourists, is 999, the fantastic, free emergency-services show, which is returning to the Western Lawns on the weekend of 2-3 July.  Organised by the various emergency service organisations, this is an opportunity to speak to representatives from the: police; fire and rescue; ambulance service; the coastguard; RNLI and others and see the vehicles that they use in the line of duty. 

With the summer here, people are understandably going out and enjoying the seafront and the amazing countryside that surrounds us.  Walking up to Beachy Head is something that I have enjoyed since I was a child, but I would like to sound a word of warning.  I regularly see pictures of people dangerously close to the edge.  Whilst this might seem exhilarating, it is important to remember that large chunks of the cliff regularly collapse so please stay a safe distance from the edge.

Stay safe and enjoy summer!

David Tutt

Update from Eastbourne Borough Council Leader David Tutt on 13-Jun-22

With summer now well and truly with us, there are some great local events taking place. I was contacted by members of the PTFA at St Thomas A Becket this week, who told me about the fantastic Summer Fair and Music Festival that they will be holding at the school from 11.00-18.00 on Saturday 9 July. In addition to live bands and dance groups, there will be plenty of games and activities including dodgems, a climbing wall, an assault course and Happyjacks inflatables. With a variety of food and drink and a Gin and Prosecco van for the adults, there will be something for everyone. Tickets, which are £10 per adult, £4 per child or £25 for a family of 4 can be purchased from their website www.pta-events.co.uk/stab it sounds like a fun day out.

The Covid pandemic impacted the way we live for two years and changed some things permanently.  Sadly, for many it brought lasting sorrow as they lost loved ones. As a memorial, sculptor Louise Neter has designed a “tree of reflection” which is located at Elm Grove Park, at the rear of Park Practice in Broadwater Way. This Saturday, together with our M.P., Mayor and others, I will be attending a ceremony there to reflect on this period. This beautiful work of art situated in peaceful surroundings is Eastbourne’s recognition of this tragic time and will provide a space for people to go and remember the good times they spent with loved ones who are no longer with us.

With the start of the Rothesay International tennis tournament at Devonshire Park this week, the excitement is mounting. A star-studded line-up will see eight of the top ten women in the world competing. Jelena Ostapenko, the reigning champion, will be back to defend her title, and twice Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova will be taking part. Whilst the men’s ATP event will see Brits Cam Norrie and Dan Evans, (who has just won the Nottingham open) in town. Tickets can be purchased at https://tickets.lta.org.uk/content

Enjoy summer!

David Tutt

Update from Eastbourne Borough Council Leader David Tutt on 6-Jun-22

Well, the Jubilee weekend proved to be something special. The weather was kind to us, with the rain
mainly falling at night, which allowed celebrations to take place in the sunshine. Cllr Steve Holt and the
Eastbourne BID team did a wonderful job of decorating the town centre and organising the activities
in a car free Little Chelsea. Whilst thousands watched the carnival which was organised by Mina
O’Brien and her wonderful team of volunteers. Plenty of street parties also took place, bringing
neighbours together to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and spend time together after two
years of Covid restrictions.

This Saturday sees the return of the Youth Market in Terminus Road. The first market which took
place last year was hugely successful. I remember there was a real buzz all through the town centre.
The young entrepreneurs and traders were selling a wide variety of food and hand made gifts. With
rides for the children and live music on stage, I am sure the carnival atmosphere will be maintained.

Last Sunday, following months of speculation, Sir Graham Brady, Chairman of the 1922, announced
that he had received 54 letters from Conservative M.P.s calling for a vote of no confidence in the
Prime Minister. The vote which took place on Monday evening saw Boris Johnson win but only by
211 votes to 148. Conservative party rules mean that he will not face another vote for at least a
year, but with more than 41% of his own M.P.s wanting to see him replaced, his authority must be
considerably weakened, which is not only bad news for him, but also for the country. Judging by the
reception that he received when arriving at the Queen’s thanksgiving service, when he was met with
boos and jeers from the crowd, those M.P.s who voted against him are much more in tune with the
public mood than those who saved his political skin. With former party Leader William Hague calling
Johnson’s position ‘unsustainable’, I don’t see this issue going away.
Stay safe!

David Tutt

Update from Eastbourne Borough Council Leader David Tutt on 30-May-22


Last week saw the long-awaited report on what has been labelled the “Partygate” investigation by Sue Gray. In it Gray clearly stated that she had “found failures of leadership and judgement at No. 10” and “that the events investigated were attended by leaders in government”. Gray went on to say that there were “multiple examples of a lack of respect and poor treatment of security and cleaning staff”.  Despite this and the fact that the police issued 83 individuals with Fixed Penalty Notices, including one to the Prime Minister himself, Boris Johnson stands by his statement that he does not believe that any parties took place and remains in office.  Only the current Conservative M.P.s can now remove him. I applaud those who have had the courage to call on him to resign.  This is probably career limiting for them in the short term, but they realise that it is important for the British people to have faith in their elected representatives.

Far from appearing contrite over the “Partygate” affair, Boris Johnson’s latest act has been to weaken the rules on standards in Government, so that ministers found guilty of breaking the ministerial code will no longer be expected to resign, but instead be required to apologise and may face a fine. Surely, we deserve better than this.

As part of the long weekend of celebrations for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, Saturday sees the Jubilee Carnival. Departing from the Western Lawns, opposite the Grand Hotel at 2pm, the procession will travel along the seafront to Princes Park. With: floats, drummers, dancers, and bands, the Carnival is once again a highlight in the Eastbourne events calendar. Thanks go to Mina O’Brien of Ditzy Media who has taken over the organisation of the event from Stephen Lloyd and has been working tirelessly with her team of volunteers to make this a spectacular day. It is advisable to get to the seafront early to ensure that you have a good view of the fun.

Have a fantastic weekend!

David Tutt

Double Honour for St Anthonys Councillor in Eastbourne

Eastbourne Borough Councillor and former Deputy Mayor Councillor Helen Burton has been honoured with a British Empire Medal in the Queens’ Birthday Honours, and the community interest company she set up, Volunteers Network has also been awarded a Queens’ Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a local voluntary group can receive in the UK and equivalent to an MBE. Helen has been awarded the BEM for services to the community, particularly during Covid-19.

Volunteers Network manage Pevensey Community Library, Langney Community Centre, Grow Eastbourne (encouraging food growing and sharing), Langney Community Cafe (a non-profit cafe supporting the community) and Eastbourne’s first community fridge, Langney Larder. During the first lockdown Helen was amongst the first in the country to establish a telephone befriending service responding to the pandemic and reducing isolation for some of the most vulnerable members of our community. Her work was mentioned in much of the National press and inspired many other services to form. You can find out more about her organisation’s work at www.volunteersnetwork.co.uk

Cllr Helen Burton said:

‘The Queens Award for Voluntary Service is testament to the hard work undertaken by my two co-directors and all of the volunteers who have ever supported us. We have dedicated teams at both Pevensey Community Library and Langney Community Centre, and Grow Eastbourne also has its own band of volunteers who meet weekly to garden and grow food. We would be nothing without our volunteers, so a massive thank you to everyone who has given their time to our work over the last six years.

When asked about the BEM, she said ‘so many people gave their time to support the community during the most difficult period of the pandemic. To be awarded for the work I did is astonishing! It’s been a tough couple of years but I’m so grateful for this honour. I believe in living Liberal Democrat values every day, and the BEM reflects our ethos.

Volunteers Network is one of 244 local charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. Their work, along with others from across the UK, reminds us of all the ways in which fantastic volunteers are contributing to their local communities and working to make life better for those around them.

Helen is pictured with Josh Babarinde OBE, Parliamentary Spokesperson for the Eastbourne & Willingdon Liberal Democrats, and Daisy Cooper MP and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats

Update from Eastbourne Borough Council Leader David Tutt on 23-May-22

Whilst the war in the Ukraine does not appear to be going the way that Vladimir Putin expected, sadly it continues, with a devastating impact - as some areas have been completely destroyed.  Millions of Ukrainians have left the country in search of a safe haven, and a small percentage have come to the UK.  Here in East Sussex, we were expecting around 1350 guests and approximately half have now arrived, with 78 of those being in Eastbourne.  Many will have suffered considerable trauma and it is important that we do our best to make them welcome.

A couple of years ago amid a fanfare of publicity, the Government announced a project to build 48 new hospitals.  At number 16 on that list was East Sussex NHS Healthcare Trust who were promised that there would be a new hospital for Eastbourne and refurbishment at the Conquest in Hastings.  Since then, things have gone very quiet.  We understand that the Healthcare Trust are making plans but fear that these may only result in upgrading of the existing facilities at the DGH.  Despite Freedom of Information requests from members of the “Save the DGH” campaign group, who aim to see all core hospital services restored in Eastbourne, the Trust have not responded with details of their plans.  Because of this silence, Eastbourne Borough Council are calling on the Government to honour their promise of a new hospital and for the Trust to share their plans.

I am aware that there have been stories about the difficulty in accessing a dentist in various parts of the country.  In the past week, a couple of people have contacted me to say that they have been unable to obtain a dental appointment here in Eastbourne. I don’t have any direct input to the health service, but I am keen to understand how widespread this is. So, if you are finding it difficult in accessing dental care, I would be grateful in you would let me know by emailing me at [email protected]

Stay safe!

David Tutt

Eastbourne’s Lib Dems call on Johnson to resign amid Sue Gray report

Eastbourne’s Lib Dems have today called on Boris Johnson to resign as the damning Sue Gray report is published and the Partygate scandal comes to a head. 

The local Liberal Democrats have accused the Conservatives of “failing the country” and added that while thousands in Eastbourne made sacrifices, Boris Johnson’s Number 10 partied. 

The Liberal Democrats have also branded Conservative MPs supporting Boris Johnson as “insulting local people’s sacrifices.”

Today, the Sue Gray report includes pictures of Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak together at a birthday party. The report came with a damning line to Boris Johnson’s Government saying, “the senior leadership at the centre, both political and official, must bear responsibility for this culture.”

Responding to the news, Cllr Josh Babarinde, Liberal Democrat Councillor and Parliamentary Spokesperson said: 

“Our area has been completely taken for granted. While local residents made sacrifices, Johnson’s Number 10 partied. They think it’s one rule for them and another for the rest of us. 

“The Sue Gray report is an insult to local people’s sacrifices during the pandemic.  We have all seen the pictures. It’s clear they think they can take the British public for fools. 

“Whilst people in Eastbourne were making heart-breaking sacrifices, we know Boris Johnson’s Downing Street was the scene of raucous parties and disgraceful behaviour. It is time Johnson did the decent thing and resigned. 

“At the next election here it will be a clear choice between Boris Johnson’s Conservative candidate and the hard working local Liberal Democrats. It is time we restored decency and integrity to our politics and finally get rid of this out of touch Conservative Government.”

Responding to the Sue Gray report, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey added:

“This report lays bare the shocking failures of leadership by Boris Johnson and shows why he's not fit to be prime minister of our country.

“Johnson has dragged his entire government through the mud to protect his own job. 

“He didn’t care while he laughed and broke the rules while the country was in lockdown. And he doesn’t care now when every household in Britain faces eye-watering costs at the petrol pumps, sky-rocketing food prices and massive energy bills.

"Any other Prime Minister would be forced to resign by a report as damaging as this, yet still Conservative MPs defend the Prime Minister and allow him to cling on.”

Eastbourne Declares Cost of Living Emergency

Cllr Josh Babarinde OBE on the Cost of Living Emergency:

"It breaks my heart that Eastbourne’s Foodbank has become the busiest in the country, according to the Trussell Trust. The Foodbank does incredible work but, in this day and age, it shouldn't need to exist in our town.

"It’s clear that the cost of living is spiralling out of control, with energy bills skyrocketing and so many struggling to make ends meet. For local pensioners like Jeanne (below), who I met with earlier in the week to hear her concerns rising bills, this is made worse by the pension triple lock being broken by the government – she’s been left even more out-of-pocket.

"For months, I’ve been campaigning for the Government and our MP to step up and make a dramatic intervention to support struggling families and pensioners. The response from Conservative MPs: ‘earn more money’, ‘work more hours’, ‘buy cheaper food’, ‘learn how to cook’. This demonstrates an appalling lack of awareness and compassion when it’s needed most.

"That’s why, this week, I led the charge to officially declare a ‘Cost of Living Emergency’ in Eastbourne to force the Government and our MP to wake up and act immediately.

"I did this through a formal motion at Eastbourne Borough Council on Wednesday 18th May. Together with an official 'Cost of Living Emergency' declaration, my motion called for the Government to:

  • Immediately impose a ‘Windfall Tax’ on the super profits of oil and gas companies and use this to take an average of £600 off Eastbournians’ energy bills this year
  • Immediately reduce the standard rate of VAT from 20% to 17.5% for one year, saving the average Eastbourne household a further £600 this year
  • Immediately re-introduce the pensions triple lock to support Eastbourne’s pensioners

"Thanks to the support of Eastbourne Liberal Democrat councillors, a ‘Cost of Living Emergency’ was officially declared, with the inspiring Howard Wardle (CEO at Eastbourne Foodbank) supporting this significant measure. 

"In so doing, we have made history as the first town in the UK to make such a declaration, making regional and national news.

"Thank you to BBC NewsITV NewsThe Mirror, The Express, The Independent, Times Radio, GB News (and of course the Eastbourne Herald!) for amplifying my campaign and helping to make Eastbourne’s voice impossible to ignore. I’m disappointed (to put it mildly) that the local Conservatives refused to support this vital campaign.

"Many councils across the country have already been in touch with me to say they are going to pile on the pressure by making emergency declarations of their own.

"I’m convinced that this campaign will pressure the Government to provide more support for those struggling in this cost of living emergency. I will keep fighting for just that, as well as ensuring the Council plays its part, too.

"This declaration has also triggered the convening of the ‘Cost of Living Emergency’ summit that I am to host for our town.

"The summit will bring together those on the frontline of poverty-fighting locally to brainstorm local solutions to this emergency and speak with a united voice to push for a fairer deal for those struggling in our town. Invitations for this are already starting to go out. Watch this space."

Councillors challenge government: “Where is our new hospital?”

Liberal Democrat Eastbourne Borough Councillors called for the government to honour its commitment of a brand new hospital for Eastbourne.

The councillors advocated for this by passing a motion at Eastbourne Borough Council’s Full Council meeting on the evening of Wednesday 18th May. No Conservative councillor voted in favour of this proposal.

In October 2020, the government announced that Eastbourne was to be the site of one of the 40 new hospitals pledged in its last manifesto. This was celebrated by Eastbourne and Willingdon’s Conservative MP, Caroline Ansell.

The motion also calls on East Sussex NHS Healthcare Trust to share the plans that have ben drawn up so far.

Cllr Josh Babarinde OBE, Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate, who proposed the motion said:

“The government promised Eastbourne a brand new hospital nearly two years ago but there is no sign of it whatsoever. That is not good enough.

“Our town needs and deserves a new hospital. This will put us in the best position to bring back the critical services we have lost to Hastings and elsewhere.

“Me and my Liberal Democrat team will hold the government to account on this new hospital pledge and will not allow them to scapegoat anyone else if they fail to deliver on the promise that they made.”

Cllr Babarinde’s motion is supported by the Save The DGH Campaign group, which has been campaigning to protect local hospital services and restore core services to Eastbourne since 2006.

Update from Eastbourne Borough Council Leader David Tutt on 16-May-22

Last week, I took the opportunity to catch-up with the changes that have been taking place at the Towner art gallery. If you haven’t visited for a while, you will notice the difference as soon as you arrive. The shop area has moved, providing much more space in the foyer where groups can meet, and new signage creates a more modern environment. Most of the exhibitions are free, including the Ravilious Gallery and the current display by multi-skilled painter, printmaker, illustrator, and tapestry designer Eileen Mayo. Entitled “A Natural History”, it runs until 3 July. Towner is also the location of Eastbourne’s independent cinema. Recently reopened, this fully soundproofed cinema has extremely comfortable seating. The diverse schedule has something for everyone. “The Duke”, “River”, “Operation Mincemeat” and “Downton Abbey: A New Era” are just some of the films showing during the next 2 weeks. So, why not plan a visit?

The 2022 Springwater Festival organised by Plastic Free Eastbourne, comes to an end this weekend, but there is still time to get involved. You could help clear our beaches of plastic waste washed up on our shores between 10.00-12.00 this Saturday. Saturday also features: Mermaids Purse Challenge; Big Seaweed Search Survey; Micro and Meso Plastic Surveys and Studio on the Beach. Booking details for all events can be found at https://www.plasticfreeeastbourne.co.uk/spring-water-festival-events

The beginning of June starts with a long weekend to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and preparations are already underway to dress the town in red, white and blue. Thanks go to the Eastbourne BID, who will be putting bunting up throughout the town centre.  I know that many households will be making their own plans and that there will also be many street parties across the town.  As part of our street party, residents in my road will be making a collection for Foodbank who are in need of: tinned fruit; tinned meat; tinned vegetables (peas, carrots, sweetcorn); biscuits and tinned tomatoes. It would be wonderful if other parties could do the same.

Stay safe!

David Tutt

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