Throughout lockdown, Motcombe Pool remained closed as it was impossible to make such a small venue Covid-safe. The opportunity was taken to conduct a full survey of the 100+ year old property, and unsurprisingly, a long list of maintenance challenges have been uncovered.
Councillors from Old Town and Upperton are unanimous that the pool WILL reopen, it is a question of when, and what work is required. There will also be a role for the local community.
Motcombe Pool has been in Old Town for generations, and several of your councillors learned to swim there, as well as their parents and grandparents!
We are in talks with officers and specialists to decide a way forward, and will keep you updated.
A Community Fridge has opened in Old Town, helping to tackle food waste and food poverty. Based in Victoria Baptist Church on Eldon Road (opposite Cavendish school), the Community Fridge takes food that might otherwise be wasted and provides it to the local community. For a suggested donation of £2, you can fill a basket with up to ten items.
Cllr Peter Diplock who worked with Eastbourne Food Partnership, Victoria Baptist Church and others to bring the fridge to Old Town said:
“This is such a simple, yet great, idea. Local shops supply the produce, and it gives another option for those who might be struggling to make their shopping budget stretch from week to week.”
Cuts to Universal Credit plus an increase in your National Insurance payments have created a double whammy for many working families here in Old Town. Many people in work also receive Universal Credit. The changes from PM Johnson and the Conservative government mean that some working families will be hundreds of pounds worse off every year.
For a Healthcare Assistant working at the DGH, the Universal Credit cut combined with NI tax increase will leave them around £900 worse off (https://bit.ly/NHSpaycut). This, despite Johnson promising not to raise taxes at the last election. Who do Johnson and his government really represent? Certainly not working families.
The Old town Fridge follows the Community Fridge model used by fellow Lib Dem Cllr Helen Burton in Langney and elsewhere.
The Old Town Community Fridge is open on Wednesday mornings, 8.30-10.30am, at Victoria Baptist Church, opposite Cavendish school. More info can be found here: www.facebook.com/OldTownCommunityFridge/
With December just a matter of days away, the Christmas season is fast approaching. Twelve months ago, this was a somewhat subdued affair as a result of the pandemic. Covid is still with us, and we must not be complacent, as the number of infections remain high. However, we hope that due to the impact of the vaccination programme, we will be able to meet in larger numbers this year. After what has been a fairly difficult time for everyone, it will be good to get together with friends and family again. We will also remember those who are sadly no longer with us. Here in Eastbourne, we are fortunate to have the wonderful St Wilfrid’s Hospice, who have cared so well for many as they have approached the end of their lives.
Now celebrating their 40th year of providing support to our local community, St Wilfrid’s will once again be holding their “Lights of Love” event on the 11th and 12th of December. This is an opportunity for those who lost loved ones to come together and make a dedication to them by creating a star and hanging it on the hospice Christmas tree. Remaining understandably cautious, the event will take place outdoors this year, in the hospice garden. It will as always be free to attend, but numbers will be limited. If you would prefer to join from a distance, the events are being filmed and will be available online. If you would like to: make a star, reserve a place for one of the events or make a donation to this important local charity, you can do so at www.stwhospice.org/lightsoflove
Following a few years on tour around local pubs, or being cancelled due to the pandemic, the Eastbourne Beer Festival returns to the Winter Gardens this weekend. With expert selections from CAMRA there are plenty of cask ales, ciders and perries to choose from. There are evening sessions from Thursday to Saturday and an earlier Saturday session beginning at 11.30. Tickets can be purchased at https://www.visiteastbournetickets.co.uk/beerfestival so why not go along and find your favourite drink?
25,806 pensioners in and around Eastbourne are being let down.
The Conservative Government - including Eastbourne & Willingdon's Conservative MP - have broken their election promise to protect the yearly rise in the state pension.
The 'triple lock' on pensions - introduced by the Liberal Democrats in 2010 - meant that the state pension rose each year in line with inflation, average earnings or by 2.5% (whichever was highest). This guaranteed more money in the pockets of 25,806 pensioners across the Eastbourne & Willingdon constituency.
The Conservatives have broken their promise on pensions - turning their back on some of the most vulnerable in our community.
Now more than ever, so many people in our community are struggling to get by - with rising price costs and the impact of the pandemic. By breaking their pension promise the Conservatives are showing once again how little they care.
Lib Dem MPs in Parliament pushed for more support for the two million pensioners across the UK living in poverty. But the Conservatives voted these plans down - and Labour MPs sat on their hands and abstained.
The Liberal Democrats are fighting to get a better deal for pensioners - stay tuned to developments on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/EastbourneLibDems.
Last Saturday I joined with hundreds of others to take part in the march from Bankers Corner to the Wish Tower slopes. This was the part that Eastbourne played in the Global Day for Climate Justice. This demonstration of public concern was replicated by events taking place across the world as more and more people recognise the impact of climate change upon our planet. It was a day for individuals to speak and for politicians to listen. I was particularly moved by the children who voiced their concerns. Their generation will be living with the consequences of the decisions made at COP26 which has been taking place in Glasgow. Some progress was made by world leaders in terms of agreements at this conference and it is vital that they deliver on them, but much more action is still needed.
The absence of major polluters like Russia and China from the event was significant as was the decision by the USA not to join the 40 countries who have pledged to move away from burning coal. Discussions on the impact of climate change will no doubt continue, but the time to make a difference is running out.
This coming Sunday is of course Remembrance Sunday. I will be joining: the Mayor, Council colleagues, representatives of the armed forces, local organisations, and local residents at the War Memorial to remember all of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. I consider myself to have been exceptionally fortunate that I have never had to live through a world war, we must never forget those who did and the horrific events that they experienced.
With Christmas fast approaching, I am sure that many of us will be looking at diaries and making plans for the festive period. One of my favourite events is always the panto at the Devonshire Park Theatre. This year, panto favourites, Martyn Knight and Tucker, are back with a talented cast in a production of Sleeping Beauty. Always an event to lift the spirits and leave you laughing, it runs from 10th December to the 9th January. Tickets are on sale now and being snapped up quickly, so why not book now to avoid disappointment.
Last week was one of mixed fortunes for Eastbourne. Firstly, we received the good news that the Government has approved our bid under the Levelling-up fund, but this was quickly followed by the University of Brighton’s decision to concentrate all of their activities in the city.
The Government’s Levelling-up fund allowed Local Authorities to bid for sums of up to £20m. The time period for bids was very short, and I would like to thank everyone involved in the work that went into the Eastbourne submission, particularly Christina Ewbank, who chaired the group and the officers who ensured that our bid matched the rules set down by Government. To have been granted £19.8m will make a big difference to the town. It will: create an educational and cultural centre at Black Robin Farm, in conjunction with East Sussex College Group and Towner and, a permanent pedestrian area in Victoria Place (the seafront end of Terminus Road). One side of this road had become quite rundown until the Council purchased it from the Administrator. It now has new shops opening up, most recently a new butchers just a couple of weeks ago. This initiative will see green infrastructure installed and provide for all year-round Al Fresco dining. Several people have asked if some of the money could be spent on other schemes. The simple answer is ‘no,’ as in order to be successful our bid had to fit within the strict criteria laid down by the Government.
The announcement by the University of Brighton that they are planning to leave town and consolidate all of their activities in Brighton, came as an unwelcome shock. When they withdrew from Hastings we sought and received assurances from them that they would be staying in Eastbourne, so this news, without any prior warning came as a total surprise. They are currently one of the largest employers in town and if they depart it will have a big impact, not only on those directly employed but also on all of the local businesses that provide goods and services to them. It will also skew the age demographics of Eastbourne. The university statement explains that they will be consulting over this move, and together with local M.P. Caroline Ansell, I am seeking an urgent meeting with them.
Finally, on Monday, I heard that following an internal ballot, my friend Josh Babarinde OBE, has been selected as the next Parliamentary candidate for the Liberal Democrats. I have known Josh since he was Head Boy at Cavendish school and in the relatively short time between then and now, he has done a tremendous amount. In his own words, he is “someone who will always roll his sleeves up and work to make a difference.” He is an excellent choice and I wish him every success.
Eastbourne and Willingdon’s Conservative MP, Caroline Ansell, has voted to water down rules for dealing with House of Commons corruption.
This is despite even some Tory MPs refusing to back the vote, with one describing it as “wrong” and another as “shambolic”.
Eastbourne and Willingdon’s Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate Josh Babarinde OBE said:
“For me, public service is about honesty, decency and integrity. I’m afraid that Caroline Ansell’s actions in Parliament today fly in the face of this.
“I’m appalled that we have an MP who prioritises fiddling with anti-corruption rules over fighting for our town.
"Priorities are totally wrong here – and we all know this is not the first time.
“Eastbourne and Willingdon deserves so much better.
“Our MP should be campaigning for the new hospital Boris Johnson promised, battling against inequality in our town, and fighting against the pandemic – not covering for a colleague who was found to have breached corruption rules.
“For me, our town always comes first.”
Saturday, 6th November at Noon - Banker's Corner, Terminus Road, Eastbourne BN21 3LX
In this week of COP26 here's the Lib Dem Green Recovery Plan. Join us next Saturday 6th for the massive COP 26 March in Eastbourne, part of a ‘Global Day of Action for Climate Justice’.
We are calling on you for one day to stand up for our planet, for your future and the future of your children and grandchildren. To stand together to show solidarity and call for action on the climate crisis at COP26.
Join with peoples across the world to build power for system change. Together we can make enough noise that our voices cannot be ignored.
March starts at noon at Banker's Corner Terminus Road but join your Lib Dem friends at 11am for a cuppa at The Rainbow and get behind the Lib Dem banner for a walk down the hill to the start of the march at 12. Rally happens at Wish Tower Hill at 2pm with speakers.
See you there!