Local shopping centres and post office update

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The new post office for Langney Shopping Centre is close to opening. Following months of campaigning we are please to be able to celebrate the good news.

Since the closure of the post office, Liberal Democrat Councillor Alan Shuttleworth has worked with the Langney Shopping Centre owners and management and the Post Office to bring it back.

Alan said, “This has been a tortuous wait and we have also seen Barclays Bank closing, but I am pleased that we have finally achieved a new post office for the Centre. Thank you to Anna and all who signed the petition. We wish the post office a long and successful future."

As your Sovereign County Candidate Kathy Ballard is happy to work closely with Alan on issues that affect Sovereign Langney Point.

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An update on the old Cineworld building at the Crumbles: Liberal Democrats are in contact with the owners M&G. There has been some interest in the building but the coronavirus lockdown has put action on hold. As your Sovereign County Candidate Kathy Ballard will be keeping up to date on this issue and keeping you informed.


Lib Dem council re-opens Sovereign Centre

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After 15 years of managing the Sovereign Leisure Centre, SERCO handed over its management to Eastbourne Borough Council on 14 June 2020. The Centre reopened its doors on 25 July 2020 for use of the gym and the Council report that this is going very well as social distancing measures are effective when using the sports hall in addition to the gym.

The Gala swimming pool will reopen in September but the fun pool will have to remain closed as the changing room facilities and close proximity of people there will not be Covid safe.

A further update is on the building itself. The building of the new Leisure Centre which was due to be constructed has been put on hold. This is because the design for the changing room facilities is not Covid secure and will have to be redesigned.

Councillor Margaret Bannister, Cabinet portfolio holder for Tourism and Leisure, said “Eastbourne Borough Council is pleased to have taken back control of the Sovereign Centre and are looking forward to running it again.  We are committed to ensuring the continuation of our leisure services, so it is essential the council steps in to maintain the running of the centre, for the time being.   We want to reassure staff, residents and visitors that we are doing everything we can to minimise disruption and ensure a smooth transition.”

County Council Candidate for Sovereign Kathy Ballard said  “It is welcome news that the leisure centre is providing its services again to residents and that Eastbourne Borough Council is acting so responsibly in the planning for the new building.”


Councillors take action over anti-social behaviour in Gildredge Park

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Over the past few weeks Gildredge Park has been in the spotlight due to 2 illegal raves being held there, the latter being on 24th July.  The police had received warnings from local councillor Robin Maxted, via a local resident who’d been tipped off,  that a rave was being planned for that evening.  A police spokesperson said there were ‘plans were in place’ but it seems they were not expecting as many as the 450 who turned up.

The police initiated a dispersal order and the park was cleared by around midnight, but not without incident.  2 police officers and an emergency worker were assaulted, police cars were damaged and 4 arrests were made.

According to police reports, whilst the majority of those attending acted in a responsible manner, there were a substantial number who didn’t.  That aside, this size of gathering is illegal under the Government’s  Covid-19 regulations.

Cllr Maxted attended the scene early the following morning and, whilst some litter had been properly disposed in bins and bags, there was still a substantial amount scattered around the park.  This mostly comprised plastic and glass bottles, plastic tumblers, empty Nitrous Oxide chargers and plastic drug wraps.  He said “I spent a couple of hours clearing up and managed to fill 2 large bin liners with the litter that had been strewn around the area. The most worrying aspect was finding broken glass from smashed bottles in the children’s play area”.

 

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The police were taking no chances the following Friday (31st July) and were better prepared, with greater numbers and a more visible presence than the week before.  Entrances to Manor Gardens had all been closed from 4pm and all entrances to Gildredge Park were manned by police and council security officers.  This may have put organisers off, as there was no sign of a party or partygoers.  Let’s hope that continues.

According to some local residents, anti-social behaviour in the park has been a frequent occurrence, particularly over these past few months.  Sometimes involving fewer people but, according to a local resident “much drunken shouting and sometimes music going on, sometimes until 3 or 4 in the morning”.

We would like to assure local residents that we will continue to support local residents with their concerns.  We will work closely with Neighbourhood First and continue to encourage the police to be proactive in minimising anti-social activities in the park.


Timing of parking and permit charge increases angers businesses and residents

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Eastbourne’s businesses and residents are angry that East Sussex County Council chose to impose steep display Parking and on-street Parking Permit increases at the beginning of July when the town was emerging from an extended Lockdown due to COVID 19.  The Tory majority dismissed Pat Rodohan’s pleas at the last County Council Meeting that the increases were postponed until the New Year when hopefully the Town will be recovered from the effects of COVID 19.

East Sussex County Council increased on-street Parking Permits and Display Parking charges throughout Eastbourne at the beginning of July.  Display parking charges have risen between 20p. and £1.90.  An Eastbourne resident who was paying £25 for an Annual On-Street Parking Permit for the first car at the residence will have to pay as much as £95.

Residents & businesses are angry that the County Council imposed the increases at a time when the town was tentatively emerging from an extended Lockdown due to COVID 19.  Residents, shoppers and visitors are still discouraged from using buses, cycle routes and facilities in Upperton and the Town Centre are poor. 

Upperton County Councillor Pat Rodohan whose plea that the increases were postponed until the New Year was dismissed by the Tory majority at County says “It is incomprehensible that East Sussex County should increase the charges at this time.  The increases are wrapped up as helping the Environment when they are in fact lucrative income generation measures for East Sussex County Council”.


Shocking news East Sussex County Council faces shortfall of £31 million

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At an East Sussex County Council Cabinet Meeting, it came to light that the Council faces a budget deficit of £31 million.  The Council has not yet said how they will find this money.

East Sussex County Councillor Pat Rodohan said "Following this information I am very  concerned that, unless the Government bail out the County Council, it will face bankruptcy or cutting services to a point where it could be that they would be acting unlawfully".


Consultation re-opens into future of the walk-in medical centre

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NHS East Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has resumed Public Consultation on the future of the Eastbourne Station Walk-in Medical Centre.

The CCG are suggesting that the 3,400 patients registered at the Walk in Medical Centre at Eastbourne Station can easily be absorbed into nearby medical practices.  However, the Town Centre surgeries including Arlington Road, Enys Road and Grove Road which are in Upperton are telling us that they are Full or have little capacity for new patients.  Add to this the Grove Road, Enys Road and possibly Bolton Road Medical Practices will be closing and moving to the new Old Town Medical Centre in Victoria Drive.  We need a Medical Walk-In Centre located in the Town Centre area for our residents, foreign students and other visitors. 

Upperton Lib Dem Councillor Pat Rodohan said:

"The CCG must not consider closing the Medical Centre in Eastbourne Railway Station  until they have a full independent report into what effect the closure of the Walk In Medical Centre in Hastings Town Centre has had on the local community".

You can download the Consultation documents and questionnaire on their website here

Contribute to their survey here.


Ward Devolved Budget funds the re-opening of Community Wise

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Community Wise make a huge contribution to many groups and the lives of many individuals in our area.

Upperton & Old Town Lib Dem Councillors were pleased to be able to use their Ward's Devolved Budget to jointly support the Charity re-open their centre in Ocklynge Rd following the Covid 19 Lockdown.  The Funding covered the necessary alterations and changes required to satisfy Government Guidelines on making the building safe for staff volunteers and customers.

 Ward Devolved Budget  Eastbourne Borough Council allocate each Ward in the Town an Annual Devolved Budget of £10,000 so that Councillors can financially support or pump prime local projects who are otherwise unlikely to raise funds.

Upperton supported the following projects in the last Financial Year:


Upperton’s magnificent COVID 19 response

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The Upperton Community really pulled together to help those most at risk through this crisis. Community groups, churches and so many good neighbours have stepped up to help others and continue to do so.

Your Upperton Lib Dem Councillors joined the Eastbourne Together Community Call Centre and contacted 500 households across Upperton offering them help from the team or signposting them to the support they needed. 

Lib Dem County Councillor Pat Rodohan said " This has been a sad time and the most difficult challenge in my lifetime.  The Community response has been amazing.  Community groups, churches, individuals have worked so hard to give support to vulnerable residents and continue to do so".

Josh Babarinde, who co-ordinated the Community Call Centre said "Seeing our community  step up to support the most vulnerable is nothing short of inspiring.  The local Lib Dems are proud to have been able to play our part to support thousands of elderly residents via telephone calls and more during this challenging time."


Update from Eastbourne Borough Council Leader David Tutt

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Witnessing the sudden changes in Government policy, with regard to the need for people to quarantine when entering the UK from some destinations and the stricter measures being applied in parts of the north of England, make us aware that the Covid pandemic is far from over.  In order to prevent the spread of the virus and a return to lockdown in Eastbourne it is important that we continue to take steps to minimise risk.  One way is for those of use who have debit or credit cards to use them instead of cash.  In our town centre market, where cash is traditionally used, it is good to see that many traders have invested in card readers.  They have done this to help protect us, so let’s recognise this and for those of us who have cards, have them ready when we pay.

I am concerned that the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have decided to reopen the consultation over the future of the walk-in centre at the Railway Station.  Personally, I am strongly opposed to the removal of this important facility.  It not only provides a service to residents in the heart of Eastbourne but also: serves visitors to the town; those without a permanent address and those who need to see a G.P. urgently, but cannot get a timely appointment at their own health centre.  If the current location is a problem, I am sure that a central alternative can be found.  Without this I believe that there will be increased pressure on A&E at the DGH.  We have until 14 September to respond to the consultation.

My fears rose last week as I received a number of messages to tell me that there was a fire on the pier.  Fortunately, on this occasion it was a relatively small fire. As always, the Fire Service responded swiftly and it was extinguished. My thanks go to all concerned for the efficient way that this was dealt with.  It did however remind me of the major fire which destroyed the Blue Room in 2014.  Following that incident, the whole town rallied round in a most impressive way, but the last thing Eastbourne needs in the wake of Covid-19 is a repeat of that tragic event.

 

Stay safe

 

David Tutt


Update from Eastbourne Borough Council Leader David Tutt

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As the Covid lockdown is lifted, I believe that it is inevitable that there will be an increase in the number of cases in certain areas.  This has already been seen in Leicester in the UK.  More recently, a spike in cases in Spain has led the UK Government to reintroduce a 2-week quarantine period, for those arriving here from Spain, including people returning from holiday.  I have received a number of questions about the infection rate in Eastbourne as some people had heard that it is high.  I have checked with public health and this is currently running at a rate of 4.22 cases per 1000 of the population, which, whilst higher than the average for East Sussex, is below the 4.56 figure for the UK as a whole. 

With some swimming pools reopening around the country, I have been asked when the Sovereign Centre will be open.  During the lockdown, the Council took over the running of the centre, from The Eastbourne Leisure Trust and Serco, who have run the facility so well for the past 16 years.  We are now preparing to reopen in September. Initially, this will be the gala pool only, as it is virtually impossible to comply with social distancing in a fun pool.  We will also be revisiting the design plans for the new pool, as these will need to be amended due to the implications of Covid.

One of the few benefits from the lockdown has been the improved air quality, as there have been fewer cars on the streets.  This is of course changing as more people return to work and the highways fill up once again.  Looking ahead, “Car Free Day” will create the opportunity to enjoy less traffic once again, albeit for just one day.  This takes place on the 22nd September.  I have pledged to leave my car at home that day, will you join me?

Stay safe.

 

David Tutt

 

 

 


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