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.
Old Town's Cllr John Ungar said "Following this information I am very concerned that unless the Government bail the County Council out, it will face going bankrupt or cutting services to a point where it could be that they would be acting unlawfully."
Cllr Peter Diplock added: "East Sussex County Council must urgently outline their plan for how they will resolve this budget deficit."
Sovereign Ward Lib Dem County Council Candidate Kathy Ballard said "Without robust action, the Tory-run County Council is on the road to being bailed out by the Government. County Council fiscal probity is extremely worrying”.
Old Town Councillor John Ungar is handing a petition to a Stagecoach Director. (Pictured before Lockdown)
Councillor John Ungar organised a petition calling on Stagecoach to extend the route of the number 4 bus to Sainsbury's and the Hospice.
John has achieved a promise that, when the routes and timetables are next reviewed, the bus company will take the petition into account.
The number 4 bus has been running again for the last few weeks. Earlier in the lockdown it was temporarily suspended. It is running between the town and the DGH and taking in Hill Road and other Old Town destinations.If people want to check the times the phone number for the Birch Road depot is: 01323 416416. Or they can use Twitter@stagecoachSE.
At the beginning of the lockdown the Liberal Democrats launched the #EBtogether Community Call Centre - our telephone drive to call vulnerable Eastbournians and signpost them to the support they need.
Thanks to the passion, commitment, and determination of our team of 40+ volunteers we hit our target of contacting 5,000 residents across town, including 700+ in Old Town.
The Eastbourne and Willingdon Lib Dems' response to Coronavirus, has won the award for being the best telephone drive in the UK during the lockdown - and a place in the Liberal Democrat Community Champions Hall of Fame.
The Liberal Democrat Community Champions Hall of Fame initiative has been launched by Sir Stuart Etherington, the former Chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisation and Chair of the Liberal Democrat Coronavirus Community Taskforce. As well as helping people with basic supplies the EBtogether have been doing a range of work from sharing best practice and ideas to organising volunteers to call over 5,000 people, (700 plus in Old Town) across Eastbourne to offer assistance.
Old Town County Councillor Cllr. John Ungar said "I am so impressed at the way so many Old Town people have come together to help in our community. When I was phoning local vulnerable residents I was so pleased that people were determent to beat the virus by following National guidelines. I also heard about the high level of help friends and neighbours were providing to them. I would like to say "thank you".
If you need help and support during this most difficult time, you can contact Eastbourne's Community Hub. The hub has been working hard supporting residents across Eastbourne.
Phone: 01323 679722 (option 1)
There is also a large variety of information and links; go to https://www.eastbournelibdems.org.uk/coronavirus
If you would like to hear more about Eastbourne, you can also go to https://www.facebook.com/eastbournevoice
For all those book worms here in Old Town, the good news is that the Old Town Library is open again although with reduced hours. Library users are asked to adhere to social distancing and other protections put in place. Remember the Library has other services apart from lending books, so why not pop in and find out more?
Tuesday 10 AM - 1:30 PM
Wednesday 10 AM - 1:30 PM
Thursday 10 AM - 1:30 PM
Friday 10 AM - 1:30 PM
Residents across Old Town have mixed feelings about the demolition of the old St Elisabeth's Church on Victoria Drive. The Church is a landmark, not only across Old Town but also Eastbourne. Unfortunately, it has a number of defects which make it unsafe, it has not been used as a church for many years. The work is due to take 5-6 months. The Church Diocese, which owns the site, hopes to submit plans in due course, but it's likely that the site will be empty for a while once demolition is complete.
As the work goes on at St Elisabeth's Church we also have the rise of the new Medical Centre on Victoria Drive next to Sainsbury's where the old bowling greens use to be. The new centre is due to be completed in April next year.
One of the best ways we can band together in Eastbourne and Willingdon is to ensure that we queue apart when we’re in our local shops.
That’s why we’ve been working closely with corner shops to develop our newest initiative: #EBtogether queue markers.
These special stickers are placed on shop floors, two metres apart, to help guide shoppers to queue a safe distance apart. A simple but effective way to help reduce the spread of coronavirus.
The response from shops and shoppers alike has been incredible! Shopkeepers are telling us that they’re now better able to manage their queues, and shoppers report feeling more safe when buying essentials.
This is what #EBtogether is all about - working with people right across our community to achieve the best for Eastbourne and Willingdon.
Can you help to spot small shops where #EBtogether queue markers might be needed?
We can arrange to get some to you so that you can offer them to your local shop, and help prevent the spread of the virus. Do let us know here and we'll be in touch.
The Cabinets of both Eastbourne Borough and East Sussex County Councils have met recently by way of video conferences. Both reacted swiftly to the Coronavirus, spent large sums to address this and as a consequence have significant financial challenges ahead. For their part the Government have given some extra monies to local government but these fall a long way short of covering the additional expenditure, so how can they make ends meet? I believe that one way is to look at the differences that the pandemic has brought about in the way that we work and question, given the success that has been achieved in terms of remote working, whether they need all of the office accommodation they currently occupy. Let’s not simply drift back to the old ways of working before fully assessing the opportunities to do things differently in the future.
One of the important issues that the County considered was an inspection report into multi-agency response to children’s mental health. The inspection report made many positive comments about how this issue is addressed but also identified 18 areas for development and these have been responded to in a multi-agency action plan. It is good that mental health is now more widely understood. I believe that the long-term impact of CV19 is likely to mean an increase in the mental health challenges that people face and the more that these are discussed openly, the better.
At the Borough Council, the Cabinet considered the draft plan for the Downland estate. This sets out the vision for the downs over the next 25 years, conserving this iconic landscape and the cultural heritage of which we are custodians. To deliver this will mean working closely with partners such as The South Downs National Park; the trustees of the Beachy Head Countryside Centre and local farmers. Collectively, we can ensure the preservation of this important part of our heritage for the enjoyment of future generations.
Following a determined campaign led by Langney County Councillor Alan Shuttleworth, supported by our Langney Focus team, schools, community groups and residents, the new pedestrian crossing facilities for Friday Street have now been completed.
Councillor Alan Shuttleworth said: “This crossing will make it so much safer for people to cross Friday Street, where the traffic travels very fast. It will be beneficial for all ages but especially for more vulnerable people. It has taken a lot of pressure to get approval and it is a real relief to see the lights completed.”
Cllr Candy Vaughan added: “We thank you all those who supported the campaign. This new crossing facility will provide a much safer crossing point to the local community.”
The new post office for Langney Shopping Centre is close to opening. Following months of campaigning we are please to be able to celebrate good news for Langney.
Since the closure of the Post Office, Councillor Alan Shuttleworth has worked with the Langney Shopping Centre owners and management and the Post Office to bring it back.
Councillor Alan Shuttleworth with Anna Hooper and Stephen Lloyd presenting the petition to the Post Office representative.
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.
Cllr Candy Vaughan said, “Please support the post office. We need to use it to keep it!”
The Langney Focus Team wish Sholeh and Paul the best of luck in running the new Post Office.
As part of Eastbourne Carbon Neutral 2030 campaign, the Langney Lib Dem team are supporting the programme to plant more trees. This will include working with the Forestry Commission and a grant for planting in Sevenoaks Road Recreation Ground as well as around the street scene.
Cllr Candy Vaughan helped with planting new trees in Foxglove Road, funded from the Langney Councillors’ devolved budget.