Update from Eastbourne Borough Council Leader David Tutt on 25-Jan-21

Covid infection rates, whilst slightly lower this week remain high in Eastbourne and currently place us as having one of the highest levels in the country.  It is not clear why this is , as rates in other places have dropped much faster during the current lockdown.  Locally, our hospitals are stretched, and staff are working flat out to address the challenges.  I know that I have said it before, but this virus is a killer.  Already the number of deaths in the UK is similar in number to the total number of people in Eastbourne, which drives home the seriousness of the situation.  We now have several vaccination centres with the Sovereign Centre open and the Welcome building at Devonshire Park being setup.  Therefore, providing supplies of vaccines are available, local people should not need to travel too far for their injections.  Being vaccinated is an important step forward in fighting the virus, but not a licence to ignore the restrictions. Firstly, it takes several weeks for the antibodies to build-up and secondly, you could possibly still be a carrier of the virus and pass it onto others.

With so much focus upon Covid there is a risk of missing other things.  Last Wednesday was Holocaust Memorial Day.  It is important that the world never forgets the horrors of the Holocaust.  The millions of: Jews; political prisoners; members of the gay community; travellers and those with physical and mental disabilities who were killed by the Nazis, during the second world war.  I took time to reflect on how fortunate I am not to have lived at that time, but also to remember more recent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.  We must all in our own way be prepared to stand-up against oppressive regimes if such events are to be prevented in the future.

Being at home so much I have embarked upon the long-resisted task of tidying-up my home office.  Whilst doing so I came across some old copies of the Eastbourne Herald.  It was interesting to be reminded of names from the past and events such as the opening of Upwyke House.  To also see pictures from a long-forgotten Carnival.  It served to make me yearn for the return to the events that Eastbourne is famous for but cannot take place again until we are the other side of this pandemic.  I am sure that we will get there.  In the meantime,

Stay  safe!

David Tutt


Update from Eastbourne Borough Council Leader David Tutt on 18-Jan-21

As we enter the third week of the new year, it is of course also the third week of the third national lockdown and the question that people are asking me is, whether this is making a difference to the Covid levels?  The answer is that it is probably too early to say.  Levels in Eastbourne remain high but appear to have stopped increasing, hovering just under the 1000 mark.  This is a weekly figure and there are more than this number of people in Eastbourne with the virus, so the need for caution remains.  With more and more people being vaccinated there is real hope for the future.  Being vaccinated does not however bring immediate immunity, as it can take several weeks for the antibodies to build-up once you have had the injection, so even once the majority of the community have been vaccinated it will be a while before it is safe to mix again.

If you are like me, you will be working from home, spending seemingly endless hours on video conferences, staring at a screen running something like Microsoft Teams or Zoom.  This change in the way we work has been effective for many of us, but one of the challenges for many families who have children home schooling is ensuring that they have the computer equipment to enable this to happen.  Local company TechResort are working hard to help them overcome this challenge and they need your help.  They understand that quite often, with several school age children and parents working at home, a family needs more than one device. 

TechResort have therefore issued an appeal for second hand computer equipment.  Most of the functionality needed is quite basic but needs to be of a sufficiently recent specification to ensure that they can receive regular security updates.  So, if you or your company have laptops, phones or tablets which are no more than 10 years old and are happy to donate them to a good cause, please contact them at www.techresort.org they will ensure that the devices are cleaned and checked, and all data removed.  They will also update or replace the operating system and issue it together with a bag, to someone in need.  Likewise, if your children are in need of equipment for school, please let them know, they just might be able to help.

Stay safe!

David Tutt


Flooding on Friday Street Farm

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.


Covid-19: Supporting The Langney Community

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 Project Targets Food Poverty

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 [email protected]

 


New Murals For Shinewater Park

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 Support ECO ACTION Tree Planting Project

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.

 


Urgent Action Needed To Tackle Covid Pressures On Families And Schools Staff

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”.

 

Cllr Shuttleworth


Update from Eastbourne Borough Council Leader David Tutt on 11-Jan-21

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

Stay safe!

 

David Tutt


Update from Eastbourne Borough Council Leader David Tutt on 4-Jan-21

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.

Stay safe!

David Tutt


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