An early start last weekend in order to ‘Beat the Street’, and whilst watching the sunrise on our glorious seafront I couldn’t help reflecting on how lucky we are living where we do. This year has been both worrying and restricting as a result of Covid-19, but we are fortunate to live in an area with so much natural beauty on our doorstep. I can’t help but feel sorry for those you have spent 2020 in a tower block in an inner city!
Back to 'Beat the Street' - this has really taken off as more than 8500 people are hitting the beatboxes around Eastbourne. Let’s hope that the weather stays fine for the school holidays as this will provide a healthy activity for children at a time when many other activities have been curtailed. Someone did however tell me that during their walk they saw a car pull up, a woman jump-out and flash three cards under the scanner. ‘Beat the Street’ is suppose to be a bit of fun and to help us keep fit by walking and cycling and cutting down on carbon emissions, so it is sad to hear that some are ignoring the rules.
I was delighted to hear that The Queen’s Birthday Honours list brought the award of an MBE for local resident Ian Westgate. Ian has worked tirelessly for the local community, especially those with disabilities, for very many years without any thought of reward. He is a worthy recipient of this honour.
Looking at the number of known Covid-19 cases at the time I write, Eastbourne remains mercifully low in comparison with much of the UK. As I have said before however this virus spreads extremely fast and there is no room for complacency. A test centre has returned to the car park at Devonshire Park, so if you think that you have developed any symptoms of Covid, play safe and book a test.
Conservatives on East Sussex County Council refused to support a Notice of Motion asking them to sign up to the UNISON Ethical Care Charter as soon as possible.
Liberal Democrat and Labour County Councillors pointed to the huge contribution made by carers during the pandemic and argued that it was high time that they were properly rewarded.
Cllr John Ungar, Shadow Spokesperson for Adult Social Care, said:
“It seems that the Conservatives are happy to clap for carers but don’t care enough about them to pay them properly. There is no reason why the County Council should not sign up to this Ethical Charter as many other authorities have done, and it would give a strong message to our carers that we recognise the value of the work they are doing”.
Cllr David Tutt, Leader of the Liberal Democrat group adds:
“Boris Johnson came to power promising to sort out Adult Social Care. Signing the Charter would set a firm framework for improving conditions for hard-pressed care workers at a local level and services to some of the most vulnerable people in our community”.
Some additional context: Unison launched the Ethical Care Charter in 2013. The Charter calls for councils to commission homecare services which establish a minimum baseline for the safety, quality and dignity of care by ensuring employment conditions which:
- do not routinely short change clients, and
- ensure the recruitment and retention of a more stable workforce through more sustainable pay, conditions and training levels.
Since it was launched in 2013, 46 councils with responsibility for social care have signed the Charter.
I was very pleased to hear the announcement that Eastbourne is going to get a new hospital. If this materialises and is indeed a new hospital and not just an add-on to the existing DGH, it will be great, not just for Eastbourne, but for the surrounding countryside that looks to the town for health care. I look forward to receiving details of the plans and sincerely trust that these will include the return of Consultant led Maternity services to the town. In a new hospital serving a community the size of Eastbourne, this must be seen as an essential service and failure to include this would be something for which the Government would not be forgiven.
Massive congratulations to local entrepreneur Josh Babarinde, who has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, for services to criminal justice, social enterprise and the economy. I have been fortunate to have known Josh for over 10 years and been extremely impressed by his work and his commitment to the community. This award is richly deserved.
‘Beat the Street’ continues in town until the 4 November and has already attracted over 8,000 players, who have covered over 63,000 miles. I went out to hit a few beat boxes with Stephen Lloyd last week. It was slow progress as he stopped to talk to so many people on the way, but really good exercise. I am certain that we had earned the ice cream we stopped for at Fusciardi’s as we walked along the seafront. They make great gelato and it was good to see them doing well.
At the time I wrote my Herald column last week I had just read the news that Cineworld might close and expressed the hope that this could be avoided. As we now know that proved to be impossible. We are told that the closure is temporary and I hope that this is true and that it will be able to reopen soon. In the meantime, the Council are considering screening some films at The Congress Theatre. Whilst social distancing makes it difficult for the theatre to stages shows where margins are already tight, films have been screened there in the past and I hope that is something that can be repeated in the coming months.
Mural and Walks in Shinewater Park
Cllr Candy Vaughan is working with YMCA and Causeway School on a youth project to paint a mural under Golden Jubilee Way, in the park. Candy leads the Shinewater Friday Walk group. If you would like to join this group please contact Candy. Councillor.email@example.com
Sevenoaks Road Recreation Ground – an 8000+ trees scheme
The plan of the Eastbourne Carbon Neutral 2030 Campaign is to reduce carbon emissions in response to the climate emergency. It includes plans to plant over 8000 trees in the Sevenoaks Road Recreation Ground as part of a project linking Eastbourne ECO Action Network & Eastbourne Borough Council with the Forestry Commission Urban Challenge Fund.
The planting will involve a variety of species and a mix of different sizes of trees, as well as hedges, shrubs and wildflowers, and creation of wildlife habitats. The bulk of the planting will be in the southern section of the park leaving a substantial amount of open space.
The scheme will involve consultation with the local community including schools and local residents. ECO Action Network volunteers will help with planting and maintenance stages of the project. Help from the wider community would be much appreciated.
Further details: firstname.lastname@example.org
A new Shinewater & North Langney Community Partnership has been formed which includes local schools, the Lighthouse Medical Practice, YMCA , churches, sports, police, council, residents and voluntary groups working together on an Action Plan.
The Partnership group is leading several new projects around Youth provision, Mental Health and park improvements.
The ACTION PLAN covers:
- Community Safety
- Youth outreach and Club provision
- Shinewater Park Mural & Oasis project
- Summer funding of park activities
- Eastbourne Carbon Neutral 2030 initiatives
- Maximising spare capacity at Shinewater
- Promotion of Events Webpage on Facebook
The Partnership has set up “The Shinewater Oasis project” which we would like your views on. What are your ideas for improving Shinewater Park?
The Partnership would like to hear your ideas. It could be educational, artistic, creative, health and wellbeing, youth, family or senior citizens or intergenerational.
If you could design a Shinewater Oasis building, what features would it contain… ?
The Partnership would like to prepare a project bid.
We believe that in these extraordinary times there is a place for an imaginative bid which puts people’s health and wellbeing front and centre, alongside community engagement.
Send your ideas to :
Cllr Alan Shuttleworth Chair Shinewater and North Langney Community Partnership
Josh Babarinde has been awarded an OBE in recognition for his social enterprise business, Cracked IT https://www.crackedit.org working with gang members to help them turn their lives around. But Josh has never forgotten where he started, in Willingdon Trees in Hampden Park. And he has never lost the passion and commitment for his home town, Eastbourne.
Former MP Stephen Lloyd commented,
“I first met Josh when he was Head Boy at Cavendish School. He was bright, sharp and a really nice kid. Josh then went on to a top university. Over the years I saw a lot of Josh as he subsequently volunteered to help me become your MP, and was also involved in many community initiatives across Eastbourne. When I heard that Josh had won the OBE I was absolutely thrilled.”
The Eastbourne Herald announced his Award
Josh led the EASTBOURNE TOGETHER as a response to Covid-19.
During the coronavirus lockdown, Josh and his firm launched a scheme to provide free video phones to Eastbourne’s care home residents so they could stay connected with their families and see their GPs online.
Josh also led the local Lib Dems’ award-winning #EBtogether campaign to telephone over 5,000 elderly residents across the town during the lockdown and connect those in need with local support.
Josh said: “I‘m so honoured and humbled to receive this OBE from The Queen and I’d love to dedicate it to our wonderful town. Without the opportunities and inspiration that Eastbourne and so many people in our community have given me along the way, I wouldn’t have been able to achieve a fraction of what Her Majesty has honoured me for today.”
Following the success of the Friday Street Crossing we are pleased to see some improvements in Sevenoaks Road but they don’t go far enough. We have been refused speed cameras and electronic vehicle activated signage. We also wanted a crossing to the children’s play park.
Cllr Alan Shuttleworth, who is leading the group commented,
“Our main concern is about the speed of vehicles who use the road as a cut through. There are 2 schools, a play park and Recreation Ground and a nature area close to the road. There have been numerous accidents and incidents including the demolition of the front of a house by one car. We desperately need measures to slow the traffic.”
Cllr Harun Miah said, “Eastbourne Borough Council backed the Schools and Traffic Calming group with a grant from the Langney devolved budget scheme. “
Cllr Candy Vaughan added, “It is wrong that we have a wait for a serious accident before action is taken. We intend to keep pressing for more improvements to make the road safer.”
TRAFFIC CALMING MEASURES ACROSS LANGNEY
We are fighting for measures to slow traffic in other routes across the Langney area.
Please email your road safety suggestions to: Langneymatters@gmail.com
Cllr Shuttleworth lobbied County Council about the need for an additional pedestrian crossing facility at Kingfisher Drive by St Barnabas Church. APPROVED
Cllr Alan Shuttleworth has vowed to fight on. He is calling on East Sussex County Council to object as the road network has not been upgraded.
Wealden District Council granted permission, ignoring 170 letters of objection which cited existing flooding issues, poor drainage and inadequate water sewage facilities, increased traffic congestion and reduced air quality along with the impact on the adjacent Pevensey Levels, which is a site of Special Scientific Interest.
Cllr Alan Shuttleworth has vowed to fight on. He is calling on East Sussex County Council to object as the road network has not been upgraded.
Alan met Head of Eastbourne Planning to review what Eastbourne Council can do about the issue of access to the site. The fact that the building has been given permission by Wealden makes it difficult to present a case that would be accepted at an Appeal and would not simply lead to a heavy fine from the Government who have issued a White Paper on Planning that gives the GREEN LIGHT to developers…..which is why NONE of the 9 Tories on Wealden Planning committee supported the residents.
The weather has changed, the leaves are falling from the trees, autumn has clearly arrived and the nightmare, which is the Coronavirus is still very much with us. Indeed, much of 2020 has felt like a bad dream which we long to wake up from. Among the few bright spots have been the way that the Eastbourne community has rallied round to support those in need and the dedication of key workers to protect us and keep essential services operating. The pandemic has been extremely costly, many businesses have closed and there has been a big surge in unemployment. No layer of Government has escaped. At the Borough Council, when the cost and the loss of income are combined, they come to more than £10m, of which Government has so far paid £1.3m. At East Sussex there is a £7m gap between cost and reimbursement. At the start of the lockdown Government promised to reimburse Councils for both cost and loss of income, I hope that they deliver on that promise, but they are not without their problems as the national debt now exceeds an eye watering £2 trillion. The greater cost however has been the loss of human lives. I am sure that the thoughts of us all are with those who have lost loved ones. This pandemic is far from over. Speaking with the Leader of a Northern Council this week, he was telling me about the speed at which it is once again spreading. Clearly, we all still need to do all we can to tackle this.
Just before sitting down to write this article, I read the news that due to the delay in the release of new ‘blockbuster’ films, Cineworld is considering closing all of their cinemas. This would be a dreadful blow to the economy and result in more job losses, I sincerely hope that it can be avoided. There is however some good news as Towner are reopening their cinema. One of the films to be screened on 17th October is ‘Hope Gap’. Filmed at Seaford, the setting reminded me of one of the walks I took during my ‘staycation’ this year. It has a good storyline around relationships and if you can get tickets, it is worth seeing for the local scenery.
It is now 25 years since Eastbourne hosted the first International Children’s Conference on the Environment. This was a far-sighted event and drew together children from around the world to consider how to tackle the environmental challenges of the day under the banner ‘Leave it to us’. I was talking to Antonia Lucas this week. Together with her husband, Lord Ralph Lucas, she is working on a celebration of this event during the anniversary in November. More about this in a future article. In the meantime.
The Covid-19 news is not good. The number of new cases reported daily in the UK continues to rise and is frequently exceeding 600. This at a time when many are struggling to be tested, so the true figure is most certainly far greater. Although it can be inconvenient, I believe that this level of increase warrants tighter restrictions. I am not however convinced that the 10pm curfew of pubs and restaurants makes sense in this context. The vast majority of these establishments in Eastbourne are extremely well managed and I find it hard to believe that you are any more likely to catch CV19 after 10pm than before it. I know that it is argued that larger numbers may gather in pubs after that time, but with controls in place it is possible to manage these numbers and probably safer to manage drinkers in this environment, than drive them to illegal house parties, where social distancing will be impossible. The hospitality industry has been one of the hardest hit by this pandemic and deserves to be trusted to look after customers in a responsible way.
The consultation over the future of the ‘walk-in centre’ at the Railway Station has now closed. I have met with NHS managers a couple of times to discuss this and stress the importance of this facility for: those who live in the town centre; residents who have a need to see a doctor urgently; the homeless and visitors to our town. I hope that those making the decision on this understand the importance of the centre and decide to keep it open.
I am pleased to learn that as from the 13th October East Sussex County Council will be reopening the remaining libraries that were closed due to Covid. These include Hampden Park and whilst the facilities will be limited, it is good to know that the building will once again be accessible. For those wanting to borrow books without having to browse on site, they also offer a select and collect service.