The elections which took place last week elected County Councillors for the next four years. My thanks go to everyone who voted, as I believe, that to maintain a democratic society, it is important that we all exercise our right to choose those who we wish to make decisions over our lives. My special thanks go to the residents of St Anthonys ward who voted for me, I will do my very best to represent you. The outcome of the elections left the Conservatives in control of East Sussex as a whole, but with Eastbourne sending 6 Liberal Democrats and 3 Conservatives to County Hall.
During recent weeks, the rate of Covid infections has continued to fall and currently Eastbourne is amongst the lowest levels in the country. These lower rates, linked to the success of the vaccination programme, have brought greater freedoms. Last Saturday I really enjoyed being able to have lunch on the terrace of the “Beach Deck”, watching the waves roll in. If things continue to go well, we will soon be able to meet in larger groups and to go back inside pubs and restaurants. It has been so pleasing to be able to see friends and family in person again. If we continue to take precautions, such as the wearing of masks, we just might be through the worst of the pandemic in this country. Now the task becomes one of rebuilding the economy.
The Borough Council is due to hold their Annual meeting next Wednesday when a new Mayor and Deputy Mayor will be elected. Upperton lynchpin Pat Rodohan is being proposed as Mayor. Pat has been a Councillor for many years and is highly deserving of this honour. He will be supported by his wife Barbara, who will be the new Mayoress. As his deputy, Pat will have Helen Burton. Helen is already very well known in voluntary circles in the town, leading Eastbourne Volunteers and establishing the Langney Larder at Langney Community Centre. Congratulations to them both, I know that they will make a great team. My thanks go to outgoing Mayor and Deputy, Steve Wallis, and Sammy Choudhury for the splendid work that they have done over the past two years, particularly given the difficult circumstances in the past 12 months resulting from the lockdowns.
We must rebuild as a fairer, greener and more caring country in the aftermath of Covid.
In the Queen's Speech Boris Johnson has utterly failed to deliver that ambitious programme - a programme that will respond to the real challenges people are facing after this terribly difficult year.
His Government still fails small businesses and the self-employed, still doesn't address the climate challenge and still ignores millions of people caring for loved ones at home.
Ed Davey challenges an "illiberal government"; the "action of despots" who plan to take power away from individuals, undermine the rule of law and silence any opposition.
Two Shinewater Park matters currently preoccupy your Langney Councillors - the recent park fire and the lack of dredging of its waterways...
Our Langney councillors have condemned the arson attack on Shinewater Park. This behaviour is not only extremely dangerous but is also a severe threat to wildlife in the park.
Cllr Alan Shuttleworth, who is Chair of Shinewater and North Langney Partnership, has reaffirmed the good work that is going on in the park involving local groups, schools, the angling group, Friends of Shinewater Park, an ECO group called Blackberry Buzzard and local residents. Each group working hard to improve provision in this beautiful and natural watery environment.
Dredging & Flood Risk
Our councillors have contacted the Environment Agency about concerns relating to the upkeep of the waterways throughout Shinewater Park. One of the concerns that we have raised is to do with reductions in dredging and the amount of plastic pollution in the waterways. Councillor Alan Shuttleworth has been in contact with the Environment Agency throughout recent months to highlight the need for dredging work in Shinewater Park waterways to reduce the risk of flooding to nearby housing and streets.
Over the past year there has been a lot of activity in developing the links between different local community groups. Organisations have come together to form a Partnership Group which includes the local schools, Lighthouse Health, Councillors, Sports and Community Centre, police, churches, youth organisations, voluntary groups, charities particularly around mental health provision, housing organisations and local residents.
The group is working with local schools on a number of projects and also supporting youth development work in the area.
Cllr Alan Shuttleworth and Cllr Candy Vaughan are both members of Friends of Shinewater Park and are involved in a range of discussions about the park. Alan chairs the Partnership group, and says,
"we would like to bring more local residents into these groups. If you would like to join please get in touch."
Would you like to become a member of Friends of Shinewater Park or the Partnership?
Email Alan and Candy at [email protected]
Langney councillors' ongoing campaign to tackle speeding vehicles, road & pavement repairs and litter eyesores continues.
Cllr Alan Shuttleworth and Cllr Candy Vaughan joined community volunteers and the Council's Neighbourhood First team on the latest community litter pick, which links to the commitment to make areas PlasticFree.
Traffic calming measures are needed in several key routes across Langney. The Sevenoaks Traffic Calming Group remain committed to pressing for more effective works to tackle the problem of speeding in Sevenoaks Road. Chair of the group, Alan Shuttleworth said,
“We are convinced that it needs electronic warning signage to slow down the traffic. Vehicle Advisory Signage is the best solution as it would work as a deterrent and reminder for a significant number of drivers. East Sussex Council are still refusing these requests.”
Important footpath repairs and potholes in Langney's roads are continuously reported to East Sussex County Council. However, the council is controlled by Conservative county councillors and they refuse to change the criteria for resurfacing the worst areas of our footpaths and roads. As Cllr Candy Vaughan commented,
"We have arranged for the Highway Steward to visit, but often the response is “it doesn’t meet the criteria”. Cllr Shuttleworth raised the need for a change in the criteria at the latest County Council meeting."
Just prior to the lockdown Stagecoach buses made a decision to change the Loop bus route to take buses down Foxglove Road in Langney. Residents, many of whom have children, had drawn attention to the unsuitability of Foxglove Road because of the young children who play on the grassed area with no safety barriers, and the poor visibility owing to parked cars.
Matthew Arnold who is the Commercial Director for Stagecoach South East, and Eastbourne Stagecoach Managers met local residents who raised other issues including:
- Increased Congestion in Foxglove Road, including buses travelling in convoy!
- Damage to the road and Vibrations that shudder houses with the potential to cause damage to homes
- An inappropriately narrow road, especially with the large number of parked vehicles creating poor visibility
- Likelihood of increased accidents and incidents
- Increased pollution from exhaust fumes from heavy vehicles, and idling traffic
As we begin to move towards more normality Langney's councillors are re-visiting the issues around the changed bus service in Foxglove Road. Cllr Alan Shuttleworth has pressed for road repairs, and some have been done, but the team are still pressing for more action.
Alan said, "We have recorded our thanks to all bus drivers over recent months. It has been a challenging time for all bus operators and operatives. I know that we are all grateful that bus services have been maintained through successive Lockdowns. Our councillors have carried out a survey of residents’ views on the changed bus route, and the issues around suitability of bus stops. We will continue to discuss options with residents, Stagecoach buses and East Sussex County Council."
Alan Shuttleworth opposed the building on Friday Street Farm and is fighting the proposals to build on Eastbourne Park, adjacent to Sevenoaks Road.
A private planning application has been lodged by S.E. Homes & Land Ltd for permission to build on the Eastbourne Park side of Sevenoaks Road. The application reference is 210196 and is for 15 semi-detached dwellings with 15 parking spaces on the western side of this busy road opposite Kingfisher Drive.
Cllr Alan Shuttleworth has written to all those properties closest to the development site and many have already put in objections. Alan’s reasons for refusal are:
- its location on the edge of the flood plain which protects the area from flooding
- the detrimental effect on the local habitats including many migratory birds
- the impact on an already overcrowded and busy road, and its proximity to schools
- the inadequate provision for parking within the plans
- the impact on local services
- the detrimental effect of climate change on increasing flood risk
- the inadequacies in existing drainage and sewerage provision in the area
- the dangerous nature of introducing a new access into this busy road
At the present time we are waiting to hear if Eastbourne Borough Council Planning Department will decide to turn down this development for the above reasons, and then it will not need to go to a Planning committee.
If it is required to go to a planning committee we will inform all those living closest to the development area so that they can continue to press for a refusal. Alan will continue to oppose the development at any Planning committee meeting.
The death of Shirley Williams is heartbreaking news for the whole Liberal Democrats party.
Since the sad news was announced, Liberal Democrat members and figures from public life have been remembering Shirley and paying tribute to her.
We've collected a few of those memories here.
You can also share your memories of Shirley and add your name to the book of condolence
Shirley Williams, Baroness Williams of Crosby 1930-2021
Your Lib Dem candidates for the upcoming East Sussex County Council elections and the Hampden Park & Sovereign by-elections.
Polling Stations are open from 7am to 10pm on Thursday, 6th May. Please check your polling card carefully as there may be changes to polling station locations owing to Covid measures in place this time. Please also choose your timing carefully as there is likely to be a one-in, one-out policy. Please feel free to take your own pencil! Masks are obligatory.
Thank you for supporting your Liberal Democrat candidates!