Update from Eastbourne Borough Council Leader David Tutt on 17-Jan-22

One of the changes in my life over the past year, as lockdown restrictions have been eased and we have been allowed to spend longer outside, is to try and take a walk at least once a week, somewhere on the South Downs.  Last Sunday was a bright, sunny day and I enjoyed walking to the beach along the Cuckmere.  I find that walking is not only relaxing and good exercise but also provides me with thinking time.  As I stood, watching the waves roll in at the mouth of the Cuckmere, my thoughts were on next Thursday, 27th January, which is Holocaust Memorial Day.  This is a time for us all to reflect on the horrors which have taken place in the past.  Not only the genocide which took place during the second world war, but also in subsequent conflicts in: Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur, to name just a few.  I find it impossible to understand how human beings can persecute others simply because of their: religion, beliefs, sexuality or lifestyle.  On the 27th I will be joining others at The Congress Theatre at 7pm for a commemoration event to ensure that these atrocities are never forgotten and hopefully never repeated.  If you would like to attend free tickets for this event can be booked in advance at www.eastbournetheatres.co.uk/whats-on?page=1   

Eastbourne is of course the gateway to the South Downs and provides access to so much open countryside.  On weekdays you can combine your walk with a visit to the Beachy Head Countryside Centre and learn about our heritage with the ‘Beachy Head Story’ exhibition, which takes us right back to the formation of the Downs.  With the Beachy Head pub next door, you can also take the opportunity to recharge before the walk home.

For those with energy and stamina wishing to view the South Downs at a faster pace, entries are now open for the Beachy Head Marathon and Ultramarathon which will take place on Saturday 22nd October and Half Marathon on Sunday 23rd October.  These popular events are not for the faint hearted, but if you do not feel up to joining in why not make a note of the dates and join other spectators cheering the runners on.  I am sure that they will appreciate the encouragement.

Stay safe!

David Tutt


Update from Eastbourne Borough Council Leader David Tutt on 10-Jan-22

Secretary of State Michael Gove M.P. has said that “we need to learn to live with Covid”.  This statement comes as no surprise to me, as it is clear firstly that the virus is not simply going to disappear and secondly that we cannot continue to hide away forever.  What makes far less sense is the rumour that the Government is likely to announce an end to lateral flow testing.  Whilst it is true that due to the vaccination programme, far less of those infected with Covid end up in hospital, we must not forget that this virus has killed over 150,000 people in the UK.  This is one and a half times the entire population of Eastbourne and so to remove means by which people can freely test and if positive, isolate, in order to avoid transmission is crazy.  We are told that the justification is the cost, but if the Government put money before health, they do not deserve to be forgiven.  Whilst the infection rate remains so high, we must do all that we can to see this reduced.

Staying with Michael Gove, I was pleased to read his announcement on Monday regarding who will have to foot the bill for the removal of what, following the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire, is recognised as dangerous cladding on many blocks of flats.  Until now, the burden of meeting this cost was with the owner, not only leaving them facing a large bill through no fault of their own, but also placing a blight over the properties, making them almost impossible to sell, until remedial work is completed.  This decision will lift that pressure on the owners of thousands of flats, including many in Eastbourne.  Developers have until March to agree a deal with the Government, and I just hope that this can result in speedy action, in order to make the buildings safe.

On a positive note, huge congratulations must go to Chris Jordan and all of the cast and crew of the marvellous pantomime ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ which has just completed its run at the Devonshire Park Theatre.  I went to two performances (oh yes, I did!) and thoroughly enjoyed it.  At a time when Covid has cast a shadow over so much, it brought a moment of fun and laughter into our lives. Despite many of the cast and supporting crew having to take time out during the run and needing to isolate, the whole team rallied round to ensure that the show did indeed go on – well done and thanks to them all.  I am already looking forward to seeing Aladdin next winter and tickets for the show are on sale now.

Stay safe!                                                                                                

David Tutt


Update from Eastbourne Borough Council Leader David Tutt on 3-Jan-22

With the dawning of the new year, our minds focus upon the challenges ahead.  Covid is clearly still with us and there is real concern over the rapid increase in cases and the ability of the NHS to cope with the pressure, not only in terms of beds and the postponement of other medical treatments, but also the number of staff who are unable to work due to having contracted Covid themselves. 

Another key concern for many is the rate of inflation.  As credit card bills which include Christmas expenditure hit the mat, the level to which prices have increased considerably over the past year becomes clear.  The November inflation rate stood at 4.6% and looks set to continue to rise.  This invokes memories of the 1980s, when mortgage rates went above 15% and caused misery to many who saw their homes repossessed.  Clearly, action is needed now if we are to avoid a return to those days. One of the key causes of inflation is the increase in energy costs.  These went up several times last year and some predictions are that an average household will see a further £700 p.a. increase.  The Government could and I believe should take immediate action to address this.  As energy prices increase so does the amount that the Government earn as these costs are subject to VAT. They could therefore cut the rate of this tax and still continue to earn the £135bn this brings into the exchequer, whilst easing the impact of these price increases on the consumer.

A group who are amongst the hardest hit by inflation are those on fixed incomes such as pensioners.  During the coalition government, the Liberal Democrats pressed successfully for a triple lock on pensions, thus ensuring that pensioners would not fall further behind in real terms if inflation took hold.  Despite a manifesto pledge by the Conservatives before the last election to maintain this policy, this promise has now been broken, meaning that instead of receiving an 8.1% increase in their pensions which the triple lock would have guaranteed this year, pensions will only increase by 3.1%, meaning that they are once again being left behind when inflation bites.  Sadly, it looks like there are hard times ahead for most of us.

Stay safe!

David Tutt


Update from Eastbourne Borough Council Leader David Tutt on 27-Dec-21

As we prepare to welcome in the new year, I cannot imagine that too many of us will be sad to see the passing of 2021.  It has by any measure, been a fairly tough year and whilst the majority of us have been jabbed two or three times in the past 12 months, the Covid virus still remains very much with us. A year ago, the vaccination programme was in its infancy and we were wondering whether it would work.  Well, it has certainly made a big difference, and whilst not providing guaranteed protection against catching Covid, the impact if you have been vaccinated is clearly less.  My understanding is that unvaccinated people with Covid-19 are up to 60 times more likely to need intensive care treatment.  A pretty powerful statistic if you are still trying to decide whether to have the vaccine.

The highlight for me in 2021 was the sense of community.  This is something that Eastbourne always does well.  So many volunteered to assist at vaccine centres, help with taking food to those who were isolating and ensuring that the lonely and vulnerable in our community were cared for.  Our thanks go to all of them, along with those who work for the NHS and other key workers who helped us get through these difficult times.

As we move into 2022, it is possible that the year will begin with fresh restrictions, aimed at slowing the speed of transmission of the Omicron variant, but there is good cause to be optimistic for the future.  Medical science has acted with remarkable speed in addressing the challenges presented by Covid, and as a result the overall impact has been less than the Spanish Flu pandemic 100 years earlier.  Despite this, many people have died or been seriously ill and my thoughts are with them and their families. 

The Eastbourne Covid-19 Community Hub which has been in operation since March 2020 remains in place to provide help and support.  Other than being closed on 3 January, those seeking help can make contact on weekdays by ringing           01323 679722.

I hope that you have a safe and healthy new year.

David Tutt


Update from Eastbourne Borough Council Leader David Tutt on 20-Dec-21

One of the effects of climate change is raising sea levels as the polar ice caps melt.  Over recent years the rate of erosion has increased rapidly and is already resulting in higher sea levels which threaten many countries, including the UK.  Without enhanced sea defences, here in Eastbourne as a coastal area, much of the town is at risk of flooding.  This is recognised by the Environment Agency, who are planning to spend in excess of £100m to develop a flagship coastal flood and erosion risk management project for Pevensey Bay and Eastbourne.  In order to assist them in planning the scheme they are keen to consult with local residents and learn more about how we wish to use the seafront. In conjunction with Eastbourne Borough Council, they will be holding 3 online webinars:

Tuesday 30th November 18.30 – 19.30

Wednesday 1st December 10.00 – 11.00

Thursday 2nd December 14.00 – 15.00

If you would like to learn more about the plans, please join one of these sessions.  You can register at https://consult.environment-agency.gov.uk/solent-and-south-downs/pevensey-bay-to-eastbourne/ where you can also complete a 5 minute online survey to share your views and concerns about our coastline.

I would like to congratulate Sandy Medway for her letter in The Herald last week, in which she highlights what she describes as ‘a once in a lifetime chance for Eastbourne Hospital services.’  Like Sandy, I am a member of the ‘Save the DGH’ Group.  This group, led by local campaigner Liz Walke, is made up of members of all political parties, medical professionals and concerned local residents.  Our aim is to ensure that all core hospital services are provided here in Eastbourne.  As Sandy (a former non-executive director of Eastbourne Hospitals NHS Trust) highlights, ‘we have already lost in-patient beds for orthopaedics; obstetrics; paediatrics and general surgery.’  There are plans to move more services away from the town and despite huge protests, we lost consultant-led maternity services many years ago.

Eastbourne is a large town of over 100,000 people and our General Hospital serves a much larger population extending along the coast and into South Wealden.  The Government made a great fanfare of their announcement that we are to have a new hospital and now they must deliver on that promise.  This does not mean some refurbishment of existing facilities, but new state of the art provision, with 24/7 access to A&E and all core services included.  The once in a lifetime chance is now and as Eastbournians we need to ensure that our voices are heard.  If the new hospital is not provided, the town will suffer for generations to come.

Stay safe!

David Tutt


Update from Eastbourne Borough Council Leader David Tutt on 13-Dec

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the shock announcement by The University of Brighton, that they plan to move out of Eastbourne and concentrate all of their activities upon their Brighton campus.  This news, which came out of the blue, was followed by a period of public consultation which ended last week.  The university occupies a vast number of buildings and sporting facilities in Meads and if they leave, I believe that this will have a very negative impact on the town.  I therefore responded strongly to the consultation, opposing their plans.  I pointed out:

  • the economic impact that this will have, not only in terms of the money that the students spend locally, but also the number of people who rely either directly or indirectly on the University for their employment. This includes all of those who work for businesses that supply them with goods and services
  • the change that this will bring in terms of the age demographics to the town, as 1500 predominantly young students move to Brighton
  • the lack of clarity over the future of the sporting facilities if the university continue with their plans. Many of these were formerly part of Chelsea College and not only serve the students but also provide an excellent programme for the over 60s in the town

In meetings with representatives of the university, they state clearly that they must put their students first, but I would question whether these proposals do that.  The cost of living in Brighton is much higher than in Eastbourne and if the university wish to be inclusive, they need to take into account those from the east of the county, (not just Eastbourne) who can attend courses here by way of daily travel, but for whom Brighton would be too distant. 

The Borough Council are not the only organisation to oppose these plans.  All the Liberal Democrat County Councillors representing the town, spoke at a meeting of the Lead Member for Economy at East Sussex and I am grateful to Councillor Rupert Simmons for adding the weight of the County Council to this cause.  Team East Sussex (TES), who are a group of local councils, businesses and community bodies, have also called for the Eastbourne Campus to be retained.  The decision is now in the hands of those who run the university, but I hope that they will see the wisdom and benefits of retaining a wider geographical base for their activities.

Stay safe!

David Tutt

Pictured L to R: Councillors Pat Rodohan, Colin Swansborough, Rupert Simmons (Cabinet member for Economy at ESCC), John Ungar, Stephen Holt, David Tutt (Leader of Eastbourne Borough Council) and Alan Shuttleworth.


Update from Eastbourne Borough Council Leader David Tutt on 13-Dec-21

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the shock announcement by The University of Brighton, that they plan to move out of Eastbourne and concentrate all of their activities upon their Brighton campus.  This news, which came out of the blue, was followed by a period of public consultation which ended last week.  The university occupies a vast number of buildings and sporting facilities in Meads and if they leave, I believe that this will have a very negative impact on the town.  I therefore responded strongly to the consultation, opposing their plans.  I pointed out:

  • the economic impact that this will have, not only in terms of the money that the students spend locally, but also the number of people who rely either directly or indirectly on the University for their employment. This includes all of those who work for businesses that supply them with goods and services
  • the change that this will bring in terms of the age demographics to the town, as 1500 predominantly young students move to Brighton
  • the lack of clarity over the future of the sporting facilities if the university continue with their plans. Many of these were formerly part of Chelsea College and not only serve the students but also provide an excellent programme for the over 60s in the town

In meetings with representatives of the university, they state clearly that they must put their students first, but I would question whether these proposals do that.  The cost of living in Brighton is much higher than in Eastbourne and if the university wish to be inclusive, they need to take into account those from the east of the county, (not just Eastbourne) who can attend courses here by way of daily travel, but for whom Brighton would be too distant. 

The Borough Council are not the only organisation to oppose these plans.  All the Liberal Democrat County Councillors representing the town, spoke at a meeting of the Lead Member for Economy at East Sussex and I am grateful to Councillor Rupert Simmons for adding the weight of the County Council to this cause.  Team East Sussex (TES), who are a group of local councils, businesses and community bodies, have also called for the Eastbourne Campus to be retained.  The decision is now in the hands of those who run the university, but I hope that they will see the wisdom and benefits of retaining a wider geographical base for their activities.

Stay safe!

David Tutt

Pictured L to R: Councillors Pat Rodohan, Colin Swansborough, Rupert Simmons (Cabinet member for Economy at ESCC), John Ungar, Stephen Holt, David Tutt (Leader of Eastbourne Borough Council) and Alan Shuttleworth.


Planning Applications in Upperton Ward

Upperton Councillors have been very involved in a couple of contentious planning applications within the ward - 2 Mill Road and 20 Upperton Road

Residents are concerned that the proposed demolition of 2 Mill Road, and the erection of a substantial block of 14 flats in its place, will dominate this historical and architectural part of town, which is primarily made up of large, detached houses.  It is sadly not possible for the council to prevent its demolition but, if we are to lose one of these fine buildings, then its replacement should enhance, and be sympathetic to, the area.  The application has now twice been deferred back to the developers by the Planning Committee over its proposed height and mass.

Residents of Upperton House, 20 Upperton Road, have for some time now expressed serious concerns regarding the appearance of their building. The developers have applied retrospectively to vary the conditions affecting the entrance, front parking area and perimeter fencing.  Residents are angry that these alterations are not what was sold to them, and the Planning Committee have now deferred the application back to the developers for reconsideration and negotiation with the residents.

Both these applications resulted in numerous representations from residents in the areas affected.  Upperton Councillors share residents’ concerns and will continue to listen to, and reflect, concerns about these, and future, planning applications within Upperton. 

We will always encourage residents to contact planning officers, and ourselves, wherever applications are made that would impact the amenity of their neighbourhood.


Motcombe Pool Update

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 Upperton and Old Town 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 there for generations, and several of your councillors families learned to swim there!

We are in talks with officers and specialists to decide a way forward, and will keep you updated.

 


Lib Dems Lead on Solar Energy

Eastbourne’s Lib Dem Borough Council are leading the way to help residents reduce carbon emissions and generate clean energy at home by recently running a scheme to scheme install solar panels. Lib Dem-run Eastbourne Borough Council has set a challenging carbon neutral target of 2030, in marked contrast to the Tory-run County Council target of 2050.

Upperton Councillor Robin Maxted, said:

"A key part of our Lib Dem commitment to deliver a carbon neutral town by 2030 and reduce our impact on the environment is the generation and use of more clean, renewable energy. By running this innovative solar scheme, we’ve been able to help residents install solar panels on their roof, in turn helping us move closer to our 2030 target.”

Solar Together Sussex offers high quality solar panels and battery storage to people across the county.




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