The campaign to stop developers from building across Friday Street Farm is hotting up. Following Wealden Council granting permission, Eastbourne councillors are trying to stop the development. Langney councillors Alan Shuttleworth and Candy Vaughan opposed the plans at the Planning meeting – citing a wide range of issues why this site is inappropriate. 170 objections had been ignored by Wealden Planners.
Eastbourne is only allowed to deal with the access from Eastbourne on Pennine Way, but we are putting up strong arguments around the lack of the full funding of required road improvements which would be needed. As Alan said, “We will not give up the fight to protect this site of special interest, with its enormous impact on the environment and likely increase in flooding issues as well as the increased congestion on the local road network and the impacts on local health services.”
Next Planning meeting is on 26th January. We will continue the fight.
Cllr Alan Shuttleworth has also made representations on the new Wealden Local Plan.
Langney councillors are continuing to support local people through the lockdown. If you would like to join a “Langney ZOOM Lockdown Club” please let us know. We are also working with schools to highlight the growing concerns around lack of Government planning which has left local families struggling to offer home learning without devices, as well as growing food poverty and mental health issues.
If you have a surplus laptop/tablet/computer we can arrange to have it cleaned and then pass to a family to support home education.
Cllr Alan Shuttleworth has led the local Schools’ campaign and also led the campaign to stop the closure of the Walk-In Health Centre at the station, which is so important for many vulnerable people. We will offer support wherever possible and are determined to achieve as fast a roll-out of vaccinations to NHS and care staff, key workers and all the most vulnerable as quickly as possible.
For help phone Community Hub: Call 01323 679722
Langney Larder has been set up in the community centre in Etchingham Road, Langney. Councillor Alan Shuttleworth said, “Even without the added pressures of Covid-19, food poverty and food waste are real issues. To follow the project’s progress and watch out for opening times you can follow Langney Community Centre on Facebook.”
It’s all good food, in date and is the surplus from supermarkets and food businesses. For £2 a visit you can leave with a large shopping basket of food!
Councillor Harun Miah commented, “If you would like to support this project or set up a fridge in your own church, community centre or another public venue, please email Helen Burton” at firstname.lastname@example.org
The new murals are under the road bridge in Shinewater Park as well as on the side of the storage container which is used by community groups.
As Councillor Candy Vaughan commented, “The young people who worked on these murals should be very proud of their achievement. I would like to express my thanks to all of them and to Eastbourne Voluntary group 3VA and Morrison’s for keeping everyone fed and watered.”
Chair of Shinewater and North Langney Partnership Cllr Alan Shuttleworth said, “This has been a great community initiative supported by a range of groups and the local schools, and everyone involved in the project should feel very proud of the achievement.”
Councillor Harun Miah added “We all look forward to planning community events when we get through this dreadful virus.”
If you would like to join the Partnership meeting please get in touch.
Langney councillors are working with Eastbourne ECO Action Network as part of the council’s target to achieve a carbon neutral town by 2030. Langney councillors Alan Shuttleworth, Candy Vaughan and Harun Miah recently awarded £1,800 from the Langney devolved budget towards ECO Action Network’s Treebourne project to plant thousands of trees in Sevenoaks Road Recreation Ground. The project is aimed at improving the natural environment while fighting climate change.
We are also working with PlasticFree Eastbourne to identify sites for Refill Stations in Langney to cut down the need for more plastic bottles, and we are supporting another environment project for Shinewater Park. We would also like to hear your ideas to promote more walking, and less use of private cars.
Langney Lib Dem County Councillor, Alan Shuttleworth (pictured left with Cllrs Vaughan & Miah) is calling for a more urgent response to the way coronavirus is impacting on families and schools. He is seeking a full review at the County Council Education Lead Member meeting next week on Monday 18th January.
Cllr Shuttleworth has written to East Sussex’s Lead Member for Education, Councillor Bob Standley, calling for a full report on the effect that coronavirus is having on families and school staff across the county.
Cllr Shuttleworth commented, “The Government handling of policies around schools and education has been chaotic throughout this pandemic. Schools are currently under additional pressures as the number of children attending is much greater than in the first lockdown. There are also huge concerns around the provision of food, and of the under provision of digital devices for those families who are in real need. Help is needed for too many families who are still unable to access home learning after months of crisis.”
Cllr Alan Shuttleworth adds: “Yet again, children and families in East Sussex have been let down by this Conservative government. Only last week I raised concerns about the chaos around Government planning for the return to school and now we see another government failure in the basic need to keep children fed.
On Monday 18th I will be looking to press East Sussex County Council to make representations to the Education Minister following a review of all these matters”.
The rate at which Covid-19 infections has increased is a cause of great concern. Eastbourne now has the highest infection rate in East Sussex, with more than 1000 people testing positive. This includes a new surge in those aged over 60. It is unlikely that the current wave of the virus has reached a peak and so the clear message at present is to stay at home if possible and only venture out if it is essential, irrespective of what the lockdown may technically allow you to do. On a more positive note, there are now three vaccination centres in Eastbourne. These have been setup by the NHS and I know that they have received offers from other potential sites. The faster the vaccinations are rolled out the safer we will all be.
I am pleased that coupled with the announcement that the country would be entering a third period of national lockdown the Chancellor has announced a further package of lockdown grants to support the retail, leisure and hospitality sector mandated to close under current Covid restrictions. The grant will be a one-off payment of up to £9,000 dependent on the rateable value of the business premises. For businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under the payment will be £4,000. Businesses with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000 the payment will be £6,000 and businesses with a rateable value above £51,000 it will be £9,000.
There have now been a total of 10 different grant schemes since the first lockdown, which can make it difficult for businesses to understand what, if anything they might be eligible to apply for. Council officers are awaiting further on the detail of the new scheme and when businesses can start applying for the grant. Once this guidance is received details will be provided on the Council website. My thanks go to the Council staff responsible for administering these schemes. Many have been working extremely long hours in order to assist local businesses and ensure that these grants get to them at the earliest possible moment.
Looking to a brighter future, the Council’s Events Team are busy planning for the events that will hopefully take place in the summer and autumn. I confess that there is an element of hope over expectation at this stage, but if there an opportunity for events to take place they need to be planned well in advance. Hopefully the vaccination programme will be successful and later this year we can return to some form of normality. In the meantime
Last year brought many difficult challenges for us all as a result of the Coronavirus and although we are now in 2021, there is no immediate prospect that things will get easier. Just when our hopes were raised by the speed that vaccines were developed to protect against the virus, it has mutated. Hopefully, the vaccines will remain effective, but the ease with which the virus is spreading is a cause for very real concern. The number of new cases has been above 50,000 a day for the past week. This is putting unbelievable strain on our health services at the time of year when they are traditionally under the greatest pressure. I am sure that we would all wish to repeat our thanks to all of those who work in the NHS and let them know just how grateful we are for the tremendous work that they are doing. The best thing that we can do to help them is to stay at home as much as possible and remember the Government messages about washing our hands regularly, not touching our face and ensuring that when we do have to go out, we leave space between ourselves and others.
My thanks go to my friend and colleague, Dean Sabri, who resigned from the Council this week. Back in 2015, Dean became Eastbourne’s youngest Councillor at the age of 21. Since that time, he: has served on the Cabinet; been the Deputy Chair of the Planning Committee and most recently Chaired the Audit and Governance committee. In addition to this he has helped very many residents who have brought their problems to him. His calm and considered approach to all that he does will be greatly missed. Many people believe that being a Councillor is a full-time paid employment, not realising that in fact Councillors receive a basic allowance of only £2808 p.a. and need other work to survive. Dean now works for an organisation which demands political neutrality, hence the reason for his resignation. He takes with him thanks for his contribution to our local community and best wishes for his future career.
I am writing this on Monday evening and have just heard the announcement of a third national lockdown. This is going to be tough, but with the speed that Covid-19 is spreading, is I believe the right decision. Hopefully, if we all abide by these restrictions, we will reduce the number of infections and, coupled with the vaccination programme, beat this virus which has caused so much disruption and suffering.
As the new year arrives, few will be sad to see the back of 2020. It has been a year like no other in my lifetime. The Coronavirus has impacted everyone, changing our way of life, curtailing our freedom and causing suffering to millions. More than 70,000 people have died in the UK as a result of the virus and the financial impact has hit individuals, businesses and all levels of Government. It has also hit the education of a generation of schoolchildren and whilst schools have done a sterling job providing teaching over the internet, it is not the same as classroom teaching. As I write this the Government is insisting that all children will return to school in the new year and this is clearly desirable, but despite the educational benefits of this, I would question the wisdom at a time when the virus is spreading so rapidly. I am sure that teachers will have spent much of their break wrestling with how this can be achieved, as added to the challenge of social distancing, their own numbers are likely to be depleted while colleagues are self-isolating.
On a more positive note, congratulations go to the Eastbourne Eco Action Network who are coordinating the ‘Treebourne’ project. This aims to plant 14,000 new trees at land off Sevenoaks Road and at Hampden Park. The project has received financial support from a number of sources, including Devolved Budget contributions from: St Anthonys, Langney and Hampden Park Wards. Thanks go to all of the volunteers who got this project off to a flying start by planting trees in December.
Our hopes now turn to 2021. New Year celebrations will be different as there will be no group partying, instead I am sure that ‘Auld Lang Syne’ will be sung in houses throughout the town. With vaccines having been approved and an ambitious vaccination programme planned there is good cause for optimism. The next couple of months will however be tough, the new strain of the virus is spreading at an alarming rate and the best that we can all do is to minimise the amount of contact we have with others until the majority of people have been vaccinated. We need to do this, not only for our own protection, but to ensure that the NHS is not overwhelmed during what is traditionally their busiest time of the year.
My very best wishes for the New Year – I hope that it brings good things to us all.
This Christmas will be unlike any in living memory and certainly not one that any of us would have wished for. The Covid-19 virus, which only a year ago, was nothing more than a minor comment in the news as something which had appeared in a part of China, has since swept the globe, resulting in death to millions. Distress and hardship have become commonplace and here in England, the Prime Ministerial announcement last weekend will have further disrupted the already curtailed celebrations for many. I am sure that we will all be reflecting on how life has changed so rapidly. Christmas is of course a religious festival, but it will not only be those of us who are Christians who will have the many who have suffered, in our thoughts and prayers.
Difficult times such as these do of course bring out the best in so many people. Those key workers who have selflessly continued during the pandemic: our brilliant NHS staff, who must have been under immense strain; other members of the emergency services; the refuse collectors who have kept our bins empty the whole year and those who have produced or supply food, they all deserve our grateful thanks, as indeed do the countless volunteers who have helped protect the vulnerable at this time.
Looking ahead to 2021 there is naturally concern over the future. The virus has demonstrated an ability to mutate and the new strain appears to be spreading more rapidly. As it has only recently been identified, we have still to learn what impact it will have. There is however cause for hope. With vaccines already approved and many others being developed, we can be more optimistic that by this time next year, we will be through the worst of this horrific period and that life, whilst in some respects changed forever, will have returned to that which for many years we have taken for granted. At that point, the challenge will be to rebuild our economy and create employment for those who have lost theirs as a result of the pandemic.
As I have already said, this Christmas will be very different for most of us. I send you my best wishes for an enjoyable time, coupled with hope that we will soon be able to once again meet up with friends, family and loved ones and celebrate.
Happy Christmas – stay safe!