PROFILE: Sovereign Ward candidate Dr. Kathy Ballard


After growing up in London, I went to Liverpool University to study Medicine. When I qualified I worked in an A&E Department in London treating people from many walks of life and ethnic backgrounds. Working 100 hour weeks in the NHS, I realised I had to choose between having a family or working full time. I devoted my time to bringing up my two daughters.

I moved to Sovereign Harbour in 2004 and my children had the privilege of growing up in the wonderful community of Eastbourne (I used to live in Dominica Court).

I was originally elected a Conservative Meads Ward Borough Councillor in 2015 and became an Independent in 2017, as it was my wish to follow my conscience with integrity and passion.

In 2018-19 Eastbourne’s Liberal Democrat Council appointed me Deputy Mayor and I was so delighted by this openness and inclusion that I became a card carrying Liberal Democrat in 2019.
I have an understanding of the moderate Tory voter (I used to be one) and I know they care about a lot of issues that we Liberal Democrats are also concerned with - the environment, preserving frontline council services, fiscal responsibility and protecting and supporting our wonderful Eastbourne community.

My contribution as a Meads councillor has helped many and includes presenting a motion to full council passed unanimously to align the council with the principles of a Plastic Free Eastbourne.

I am currently a Trustee of a local charity and Chair of Upperton Neighbourhood Panel (where I currently live). I listen to people involved in community led groups and by taking what residents have to say to the heart of Council I make sure wheels are set in motion for action and change. Working with leaders from all areas of the community enables me to bring them together to address specific problems that need local solutions. In doing so they build trusting networks which makes a real difference on the ground as people start to look out for each other. Covid 19 has shown us Eastbourne’s remarkable community spirit which we must continue to nurture.

I am delighted to have been chosen to fight the County Council seat for Sovereign Ward in 2021.Sovereign is a very special place and the people living here often feel separate from the rest of the town. As the Liberal Democrat candidate I will be able to work closely with the Borough Council and bring Sovereign closer involvement and influence within Eastbourne community championing its issues both in the town and at County level. Its time for a new approach at ESCC and if elected I would aim to be a part of the solution.

I pledge to the community to continue to answer the phone and email to residents as a priority and to put public service first. I really look forward to the challenge of fighting for Sovereign as their Liberal Democrat County Councillor.

If you need to contact me I can be reached on:

[email protected]

Local shopping centres and post office update


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.


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


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


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”.



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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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