Today I was interviewed by BBC Radio Sussex where I commented on the rail timetable changes. I said that GTR had not paid attention to the detail of which services would be affected in the Lewes area in their efforts to produce more trains on the Brighton mainline. Stations like Plumpton, Lewes and Berwick are suffering with less train services than before. You can listen to my broadcast by clicking below:
The new Southern Rail timetable which comes into force on 20 May sees extra trains, new carriages, new connections and other welcome improvements to train services for commuters. The good news seems to be spread right across the country – except in Lewes, which loses out under the new timetable.
Vic Ient, Lib Dem District Councillor and transport spokesperson said: “It seems the rail network is to see big improvements all over the place except for rail travellers in the Lewes constituency. Here, far from improvements, we are going backwards.
“The shortened journey times from Lewes to London, down to 61 minutes in the off-peak, which Norman Baker secured, have been reversed, with journeys now lengthened to 70 minutes. And the Ashford service, which Southern have long wanted to cut but which Norman fought successfully to keep, has been chopped, now he is no longer there to stop them.
Sarah Osborne, Lib Dem Group Leader on the District Council said:
“It is clear that the Tories, including our Councillors and MP Maria Caulfield have been asleep on the job. While in other areas, local representatives have been successfully fighting for their patch, here they have let this series of cuts go through. This is another sign of how the Conservatives are not listening to the needs of the people of Lewes.”
From 20 May the town suffers the following:
* The ending of through services to Ashford International
* The halving of trains to and from London Bridge
* Lengthened journey times
* Connections between Glynde and Berwick severely cut
* Reduced weekday services to other neighbouring villages including Plumpton
* No end to the splitting of trains at Haywards Heath, although splitting has been much reduced elsewhere
Also see this article in Sussex Express 18th May 2018:
For residents in Ouse Valley West and Downs county division: (North: – Ditchling; Plumpton; Streat; Westmeston; South: – Falmer; St Ann Without; Iford; Kingston; Rodmell; Southease; Piddinghoe and Newhaven
Sadly the news from County is grim. The Conservative administration put up council tax by almost 6% and there will be cuts of over £17m this year and even bigger cuts in the following 2 years at least. The Chief Executive (Becky Shaw) summed up the challenges: “The reductions being put forward for 2018/19 and beyond will increase the longer- term demand and costs facing the East Sussex public sector. They are, therefore, not those Chief Officers would choose to make; If there are no new resources from Government, by 2021/22 the Council will be left with a minimum service offer”
This means that central services will be reduced to a democratic core with minimum support for departments and more self-service. County will not be able to fund early intervention or prevention services in Adult and Children’s Social Care or support schools to improve attainment. Also, management in highways will be towards more reactive maintenance, leading to long-term deterioration of condition.
My grave concerns
I am really worried about the proposed major cuts to community-based support services, refuges for those experiencing domestic abuse and to the Discretionary East Sussex Support Scheme, which supports the very poorest residents. I fear the enormous cuts will not only increase the suffering of those residents in our area that need our help most but will result in a false economy as many people will instead need help from other higher cost services (such as the health and adult social care and children’s services sectors) These vital community support services currently enable people to continue to live independently and without them many will not be able to manage.
Examples of cuts already decided or being consulted on presently or in the near future:
- Library Closures: ESCC are to close 7 libraries
- Cuts in funding for The Stroke Association.
- Cuts in Day Centres: We are awaiting decisions on cutting or closing 4 day centres for the elderly and disabled including The Phoenix Centre in Lewes.
- Cuts to support services for carers.
- Cuts in funding for the Home Works service by 50%: Home Works is a crisis support service for people and families in East Sussex, aged 16 to 64, who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
- Cuts in funding for STEPS: This service plays a key role reducing demand support with many of our customers continuing to live independently despite significant health problems rather than requiring care.
- Cuts of 70% proposed for the Discretionary East Sussex Support Scheme (DESSS): The main cause of homelessness is the termination of private tenancies with most people becoming homeless through no fault of their own. A large number of those who become homeless do not have the savings required to meet the demands for rent in advance and deposits and are completely reliant on the loan schemes supported by the DESSS.
- Cuts to East Sussex Music Service, which will close the music instrumental service by 2019. If you are concerned about the cuts to the music service please CLICK HERE to sign the petition my group support.
Given that the Centre for Public Scrutiny considers it ‘best practice’ for Scrutiny Committees to be Chaired by members of the opposition I proposed a motion to Council that ESCC should follow the advice. Unfortunately, even though the Conservatives have a large majority and Scrutiny recommendations are only advisory, they still voted it down.
In my role on The Health Overview Scrutiny Committee, I have raised the difficulties we are experiencing locally in retaining and recruiting staff in the health and care sectors because of Brexit.
I have continued to raise and successfully resolve problems for residents faced with problems with Adult Social Care, got the restoration of school bus transport for several families and lost count of the number of highways problems I have reported!
Dear Residents, April 2018
For Residents in Kingston Ward (Falmer, St Ann Without, Kingston, Swanborough, Iford, Northease, Rodmell, Southease, Piddinghoe)
Friday, 4 May between 6 and 8pm, Kingston Parish Hall, The Street, Kingston
We will both take the opportunity to report back to you on the past year, however, the focus will mainly be on current issues in the ward, at the Lewes Racecourse and generally in the district but you can raise any subject. Here is a list of subjects we hope to cover:
- Publication of the South Downs National Park Local Plan – see notes below.
- Consultation on the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) closes on 10th May
- Iford farm estate plan – recently approved by the National Park
- Lewes Racecourse planning applications and enforcement matters
- Shooting on the Downs – progress on the Lawful Development Certificate application
- New Transport Vision for the Sussex Coast by SCATE
- Government plans for the A27
- C7 Road safety and the effect of increased traffic caused by developments in Newhaven and Peacehaven etc
- Highways repairs and safety projects
- Bus services and tourism
- Rail services and the campaign to restore the Lewes to Uckfield railway line
- Footpath, bridleways and multi-user paths developments associated with the Holiday Lodge development
- Bridleway and footpath issues
- Cycling and walking investment proposals to be considered by ESCC
- Waste, Recycling & Litter and the campaign for a plastic-free Lewes District
- Air Pollution
- ESCC Cuts
- Funding of local projects including applying for funding via the Community Infrastructure Levy grants
Sarah and I are looking forward to discussing these and other issues concerning the ward with you. I’m hoping I can help you campaign on some of the issues which are of concern to you and also to use my influence as your councillor to represent you on these and other issues.
Notes (item 1):
It is anticipated that the South Downs National Park will have published the final version of their plan and submitted it to the Government for approval by the end of April 2018. The Government will then appoint an inspector who will hold a hearing/s to review the plan. Following this, the inspector will make a recommendation to the government. From what I hear the whole process is likely to be over by September 2018.
We look forward to seeing you.
PS: If you’d like to catch up with all my news please follow my website, Facebook or Twitter:
Lewes District Councillor – [Kingston Ward: Falmer – St Ann Without – Kingston – Swanborough – Iford – Northease – Rodmell – Southease – Piddinghoe]
T: 07788720929 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: https://sussexcampaign.com/
https://www.facebook.com/CllrVicIentLibDem/ https://twitter.com/victor_ient Google: SussexCampaign
EU referendum: the UK result would have been REMAIN had the vote been allowed for 16 and 17-year-olds. These young people are now, in 2018, eligible to vote. Since this business started with a referendum it should end with a referendum where people decide on whether they like what the Conservatives have negotiated. That vote should include 16 to 17-year-olds! For more information on what the Lib Dems policy, see: https://www.libdems.org.uk/europe
According to the BBC the final figures were 16.1 million people voting in favour of staying in the EU. I think these people need representing as well as the 17.4 million. I hope you would agree. I campaigned for the 16 to 17-year-olds to get a vote in Brexit referendum. They should have been allowed to vote as it’s their future even more so than the older people who seem to have mostly voted to come out. In 2016 there were 1.46 million 16 to 17-year-olds and if they had voted in accordance with the opinion polls at the time we would not be coming out of the EU. The majority for coming out of the EU was about 1.27 million.
Thankfully we still live in a democracy and I believe it’s the right of myself and organisations like the Liberal Democrats to put forward proposals and suggestions, and indeed campaign on these matters. Would you rather we and the 16.1 million are silent? We have seen what happens when democracy is suppressed in places like Russia, Turkey, Syria and Zimbabwe to name just a few.
In most organisations, including all FTSE 100 companies, require a two thirds or three-quarter majority to change the constitution/articles of association. Why should that have not been the case with regard to such an important decision as our trading arrangements with 27 other countries? The decision by the Conservatives to operate on a simple majority could have meant we would be coming out of the EU if there was just one vote difference! Ridiculous!
The amount of misinformation promulgated before the Brexit vote was shameful including the promise by politicians such as Boris Johnson (now Foreign Secretary!) that £350 million a week would go to the NHS if we come out of the EU!
Only a few days left to have your say on the government’s plans for a major road network. The consultation closes on Monday 19th at 11.45pm. Respond to the consultation online at: https://www.gov.uk/dft#consultations
or by email to: MRNconsultation@dft.gsi.gov.uk
The government says that £1 billion will be available! They say it will: reduce congestion + help build more houses + support cyclists, pedestrians & disabled people. I’m puzzled as to how they think building motorway style roads will help cyclists pedestrians and disabled people! Also, the proposals say nothing about road/rail integration or bus services.
In Sussex, the proposal is to include the whole of the A26 in the trunk road network and also include the A22 . There are also proposals affection Brighton and Hove City Council area. Nothing is said about the A259 on the coast from Newhaven to Brighton via Peacehaven where there is very serious congestion!
I really can’t see why spending money on the A26 north of Lewes will actually help. There is already far too much traffic funnelling down through Malling Steet, Lewes and there is major congestion getting through the Cuilfail Tunnel. I can’t imagine that the government are proposing to build another tunnel to relieve the traffic in our existing one! What is needed is a rail link from Uckfield to Lewes which will relieve the traffic on the existing A26 and help people travel to and get to jobs in Eastbourne Lewes and Brighton. In the other direction, it will help people travel to London without relying on the only rail link north to London via Hayward’s Heath and Gatwick. The BML is a high-risk strategy and the government are doing nothing to solve the problem!
New Recycling Scheme Update
The roll-out of the new recycling scheme is well underway. The coastal towns of Seaford, Newhaven and Peacehaven etc have all received a new recycling bin and are benefiting from the much-expanded recycling service. For more details of the service CLICK HERE
The Lewes District Council scheme is separate to the East Sussex County Council recycling centres where you take your recycling and rubbish including such things as electrical goods, old fridges and bikes as well as garden waste. For more information on the county services and their proposed changes click here
Current status of the programme for roll-out of the full co-mingling service:
- the new service is currently being rolled out in my council ward – Kingston Ward (Piddinghoe up to Kingston). See my recent post: click here
- The next area will be Lewes which should roll-out in April.
- All other areas will follow and be completed by July.
Some people have commented they don’t like the blue lids. I agree but I am pleased the new service is coming into operation. It has taken me over two years of badgering to get the Conservatives to implement a recycling scheme which will help us reduce the amount of plastic waste sent to the incinerator and help lift us off the bottom of the council league tables for recycling. When I joined the council we were down at 24% whereas other councils around the country were achieving around 50%. We are now steadily climbing the league tables and I’m sure we will well exceed the 30% which is where we are at the moment within the next few months!
What can you recycle?
If you can’t take the 240 L bin you can ask the council to give you a smaller bin – 140 L. If you have any queries or need assistance telephone 01273471 600 and press option 4 and then option 1.
Residents who can’t manage a wheelie bin can continue to use their existing containers (a combination of black boxes and bags) for recycling. If residents are using their existing recycling boxes and bags the advantages are that they can mix up what they’re putting in those containers after the roll-out has been carried out in their area.
So, what about the rest of the rubbish? In summary, there are two scenarios:
Those residents who can’t take a wheelie bin:
- Recycling – residents can continue to use their existing recycling bags and boxes for the full ‘co-mingling’ recycling service.
- Residents can use any receptacle for their ordinary waste but there may be an opportunity for the whole street to get a free bag (green) for their ordinary waste. This would only be issued where households cannot take any type of bin and where there is high gull/vermin activity. This has the advantage that it will be very difficult for vermin and gulls to break open the bag. This should keep the streets a lot cleaner in places where there are terraced houses and flats.
- Food waste – residents can continue to use their existing food waste bins. This service does not change.
Those residents who can take a wheelie bin:
- Recycling – residents can get a free 240 or 140 L wheelie bin (blue lidded).
- Ordinary waste – residents can continue to use their existing receptacle or buy a 140 or 240 L ordinary waste bin for £20 or £30 (see below).
- Food waste – residents can continue to use their existing food waste bins. This service does not change.
Ordinary refuse bins
- Smaller 140 litre bins are suitable for households with 1-4 people. They cost £20 including VAT and delivery.
- Larger 240 litre bins are suitable for households with 5 or more people. They cost £30 including VAT and delivery.
- In coordination with the roll-out of the full co-mingling service ‘bring’ sites are being upgraded. This has already happened in some of the coastal towns.
- ‘Bring’ sites are also being upgraded with a large bin to take tetra packs and coffee cups – see the example picture below.
- The number of ‘bring’ sites will be reviewed as part of the current review and roll-out programme.
Many residents in Kingston Ward (Falmer – St Ann Without – Kingston – Swanborough – Iford – Northease – Rodmell – Southease – Piddinghoe) will have had an envelope delivered to their homes entitled “The way you recycle is changing.” Inside there is a letter to residents saying that your new recycling bin will be delivered in the next few weeks. Yesterday I had a meeting with the recycling team at the district council and have been informed that bins will arrive very soon:
- Falmer – Monday 5 March
- Piddinghoe, Southease & Rodmell – Wednesday, 7 March
- Kingston and Iford – Monday, 12 March
The parish of St Ann Without will be split into two – the Ashcombe area (A27) is likely to be done with Falmer. The racecourse area will be done with Lewes in April.
These dates are subject to change but provided all goes well these dates will hold.
The council will deliver the 240 L bin. If you need a smaller bin or can’t take a wheelie bin at all, please contact the council on 01273 471600. Press option 4 followed by option 1 when the auto answer system starts. A 140 L bin is available but there will be a delay of at least a month. Hopefully, in the meantime, you can use the 240 L bin.
If you have any other questions or queries, please contact the council on 01273 471600 Press option 4 followed by option 1 when the auto answer system starts.
Cllr Vic Ient
Click the image below for more infromation