Following several weeks of very high rates of Covid-19 infections in Eastbourne, it is good to see a sizable reduction in the past 7 days, but at 400 there is still no room for complacency. Hopefully, this downward trend will continue with the rollout of the vaccines. I have however had a couple of concerns about this programme raised with me this week. The first from a gentleman who was given the vaccine, who was surprised that there were no posters explaining that it takes 2-3 weeks to become effective, nor does he remember being told this by staff at the site. The second from someone who doesn’t drive and has been shielding. They had a letter inviting them to be vaccinated in Brighton. When they called 119 they were told that “there were no slots available in Eastbourne, the best they could offer was 17 miles away in Ticehurst”. I find these issues concerning and am asking for them to be addressed.
Whilst much of our attention is understandably centred on the pandemic, other things are happening. One of which is a plan to improve the rail network in the South East. Although the results will probably be several years away, this sounds like good news. Better routes, faster journeys and clean trains will encourage many to leave the car behind, which in turn will improve air quality. One issue that I am pressing for as part of this work is the inclusion of a new station at Stone Cross. This is not a new idea, indeed along with my colleague Alan Shuttleworth, we have been campaigning for this for decades, as it would serve much of the eastern end of Eastbourne and help ease congestion of cars travelling to the town centre. Many years ago, we persuaded the County Council to include it as an aspiration in their transport plans, but to date the rail authorities have not agreed. The size of the population in that area has however grown considerably with the estates which have already been built on the Wealden side of the line and so with a bit of a push, maybe the time for the rail companies to take this seriously has finally arrived.
I received an email this week from a lady who was concerned about my recent remarks about visiting Butts Brow and pointing out that to do so is within the Government guidelines. To clarify in case there is any misunderstanding. I am not challenging this (as long as people are not travelling long distances to do so) but wanted people to be aware of the risk of large numbers heading to such beauty spots whilst the Covid infections rates are so high locally.