Lewes District Recycles More! Recycling up from 22% to 38%!

The new recycling scheme in Lewes District is having a real effect! At the recent Plastic Free Lewes event ‘The Truth About Plastic’ (Lewes Town Hall, 24th October), Scot Reid (Head of Customer and Neighbourhood Services at Lewes District Council) announced that the new recycling scheme, introduced in the past year, has significantly improved recycling rates in Lewes District, they are now up from 22% to 38%.

The new scheme was introduced following a long campaign by Lib Dem District Councillor, Vic Ient. Cllr Ient said “It’s great that we have been able to respond to public calls for better recycling and I will continue to push the District Council to be more ambitious”.

Cllr Vic Ient with Oli Henman at recycling site

Environmental campaigner Oli Henman said “The improved recycling rates provide very welcome news given the challenges of plastic pollution in our countryside and our seas; we hope to see this level grow further. Now, we are calling on the District council to get on with rolling out the on-street recycling bin pilot which was put forward by Lib Dem Council Group Leader, Cllr Sarah Osborne.”

Cllr Sarah Osborne with a new on-street recycle bin in Seaford

Local campaigner Kevin West said, “Lewes residents are very active on the issue of recycling and have responded in a really positive way to the new scheme. According to Viridor, the contractor who sorts the recycling, we have very low rates of ‘contamination’ – only 2% of the recycling is rejected,making the quality 98%. This shows that small changes can have major effects,we should all be proud of this achievement.”

Lib Dem Campaigner Kevin West with on of the new garden waste bins

Plastic Free Lewes is a campaign group in Lewes that raises awareness of the impact of plastic pollution and helps people to take real action to resolve the issue. It is supported by multiple political parties as well as the Town Council. Lewes Lib Dem campaigners Kevin West and Oli Henman have been key members of Plastic Free Lewes since its inception

Fairer Train Fares?

Lib Dem County Councillor Philip Daniel (Left) with District Councillor Vic Ient

The Rail Delivery Group (made up of Train Operating Companies)  along with the rail passenger organisation, Transport Focus are asking for public comments on how to restructure and simplify train fares. The consultation is open and runs until 10 September 2018. I think it is very important that everybody who uses the railway whether regularly or occasionally makes their comments.

This is the first major review of how train fares are structured and how train fares can be purchased since the early 1990s. That’s before the Internet became widely used and before contactless payments were invented. The rail fare system is still based on a clunky magnetic ticketing system which is very difficult to modify and change.

Recommendations will be made to the government in the autumn following the consultation which could bring about a much fairer, more equitable and easier fare system. However the computer experts and ticket administrators sitting in their offices don’t necessarily have all the best ideas so this is our opportunity to tell them what we want. Please make your comments:

Click HERE to give your views

This consultation is not about the quality of service or lack of it, getting rid of GTR in the southern railway network, overcrowding or resolving the chaotic way in which the rail companies introduced timetable changes. Yes, all these things need to be dealt with but I think it is really important to take advantage of making suggestions to improve the rail ticket system. Please do tell them what you think by clicking on the above link.

Continue reading Fairer Train Fares?

Lib Dems Win Renewable Energy Vote!

This week at Lewes District Council’s Full Council meeting I had another go at getting renewable energy higher up the planning agenda when it comes to building new homes. Last  October I proposed that all new housing and commercial developments incorporated renewable energy. The proposal was lost by just one vote and so I have had wait 6 months in accordance with the rules of the council to put the motion again!

We won! Now the planning applicants (from the 1st Sept 2019) for housing & commercial development will have to work with the officers of the council to include a renewable energy scheme. Also the South Downs National Park are being encouraged to do the same.

Any form of renewable energy scheme can be proposed to provide all or some of the electrical power supply, heating and hot water.  Of course new homes and businesses could power their building from an external renewable energy source but in practical terms there are 3 main systems (see diagram above) which are readily available:

  1. Solar panels which could just provide electricity but also can be used to provide hot water and heating. photovoltaic (PV) cells used on solar panels can also be used in conjunction with power storage battery systems and for charging electric cars.
  2. Air source heating which can be used for both hot water and heating.
  3. Ground source heating which can be used for both hot water and heating. Often this is used for underfloor heating as well.

Continue reading Lib Dems Win Renewable Energy Vote!

More ESCC cuts! – now it’s the music service

The Liberal Democrats on East Sussex County Council are campaigning to save East Sussex Music Service. Sadly the Conservatives seem set on pushing this and other cuts through.

Let them know what you think… please signing the petition Click Here. The petition closes on the 20th July 2018. Please add your name. ALSO please give your comments on the consultation – it closes  on 27 July 2018:

East Sussex Music (Instrumental Teaching)

This consultation has a special Young Person’s consultation – Click Here

————

Opera star lead an Ouseday protest over proposed music service cuts:

Allan Clayton and his fellow ‘pirates’. Photograph by Willie Robb

Read more in the Sussex Express – Click Here

Read more in the Argus – Click Here

What ESCC say about the cuts the Conservative have imposed on the county:

“£10m cuts are also proposed for Adult Social Care, seven libraries and the Mobile Library have closed, £400k has been cut from the budget for grass cutting and Early Help services for vulnerable families are being reviewed with an expectation of £2.6m savings being delivered. The Director of Children’s Services has made it clear that he does not think it is right to identify additional funding for East Sussex Music by cutting other statutory services”.

Lewes Neighbourhood Plan – submit your views by Mon 23rd July!

The Lewes Town Plan has been sent to the South Downs National Park for approval. Once approved the plan will become a legal planning document and planning applicants should take it into account. The planning authority WILL have to take it into account when deciding on planning applications. Check it out and make your comments by Monday 23 July 2018:

Lewes Town Council have prepared a Neighbourhood Development Plan for Lewes.  Further details of the neighbourhood plan preparation are available at the Lewes Neighbourhood Plan webpage.

Here is a link to the submitted document:

Lewes Neighbourhood Plan – June 2018

Comments on the Plan can be made by:

E-mailneighbourhood@southdowns.gov.uk

By Post: Neighbourhood Planning, South Downs National Park Authority, South Downs Centre, North Street, Midhurst, West Sussex, GU29 9DH

Lewes Old Racecourse planning issues

Dear Residents,

On 14 June 2018 I attended the National Park Planning Committee meeting, over in Midhurst, and spoke on 5 planning applications concerning (Click here to see the agenda/reports) the land and buildings at the Old Racecourse, Lewes. I voiced my concern on all 5 applications. I asked the SDNPA Planning Committee to refuse them all.

This is an update from Lewes District Councillor Vic Ient for residents in Kingston Ward. It concerns planning matters in the parish of St Ann Without at the Old Racecourse. This blog may also be of interest to people who live in Lewes. 4 out of the 5 applications were refused but there is long way to go in resolving the un-authorised erection of fencing, see the report below from Lewes Eye. Footpath and bridleway rights of way issues weren’t discussed as ESCC are the responsible authority for Rights of Way.

Please also see (click to jump to these items):

Parish Boundaries

The main area of the racecourse falls within my ward, – the parish of St Ann Without. The reason I spoke on these applications is because the planning and enforcement situation have become very confused as has the footpath and bridleway issues. I opposed all 5 applications and if you click on the link below you will see me say why. You will hear me speak on the 1st item. To hear the others please just pull forward the timeline at the bottom of the screen to see each item once you have seen the first item:

Item 8: Application Nos: SDNP/18/00138/FUL
Proposal: Retention of crucifix (Approved)
Please click HERE and the recording should start at this item where I speak (at 00:43:27)
Item 9: SDNP/17/00340/HOUS
Proposal: Proposed erection of 5 loose box stables (Refused)
See my submission at: 01:10:25
Item  10: SDNP/17/05255/FUL
Proposal: Renewing existing and installing new fencing work with access gates
See my submission at: 01:36:30 (Refused)
Item 11: Application Nos: SDNP/17/02082/FUL
Proposal: (Retrospective) Retention of temporary erection of electric fencing using chestnut stakes (Refused)
See my submission at: 02:09:30
Item 12: Application Nos: SDNP/16/06136/FUL
Proposal: Construction of manege, fenced surround and shallow earth bank (Refused)
See my submission at: 02:26:00

Planning Committee June 2018 - Thu, 14th Jun 2018 - 10:00 am - South Downs National Park Authority Webcasts

Planning Committee June 2018 – Thu, 14th Jun 2018 – 10:00 am – South Downs National Park Authority Webcasts
southdowns.public-i.tv
Chris Smith of the Open Spaces Society has given an excellent report on the current situation following the SDNPA meeting on Thurs 14th June in his Lewes Eye blog. He has kindly allowed me to publish this summary:

LEWES RACECOURSE NEWS

(picture-  courtesy of Chris Smith  “permission for this track and fencing, together with other fencing erected since the picture was taken has been refused”)

By Chris Smith: The South Downs National Park planning committee has turned down a load of planning applications at Lewes Racecourse including plans for loads of fencing and a cinder road, much of it already in place.

The National Park also turned down plans for a manege (a surfaced training rectangle for horses)

The only thing that they agreed to was the retention of a crucifix that has been put up near the main track up to the racecourse.

Vic lent, the district council member for the area and Robert Cheesman of the Friends of Lewes spoke strongly against the applications being granted.  The Open Spaces Society, the South Downs Society and many others submitted written objections.

But do not get too excited.    Speakers for the applicants were able to allege that some or all of the application was existing fencing that had been authorised in the 1980s and 1990s and officers were unable to contradict them because they had not brought the relevant information with them.  Expect new applications for fencing that is alleged to be “existing” and legally erected. If you can remember the  area in the 1980s and 1990s and can say where the fences were, please get in touch. At contact@leweseye.co.uk

But there is no reason why the road shown in the picture should not now be taken up.

You can see which applications were discussed here and by copying and pasting the application numbers and pasting them into the search box here.  You can see the web cast of the meeting here

Chris Smith for the Lewes Eye

PARISH BOUNDARIES

In most planning applications and enforcement cases, connected with the Old Racecourse, we have seen recently the land ownership is spread across 3 parishes, Hamsey, Lewes (Lewes Town Council) and St Ann Without. I believe that the local authority should consult all 3 parishes. This has not been the case to my knowledge. Hopefully in future planning applications the National Park and Lewes District council will ensure they notify all 3 parishes of future planning applications.

Parish Boundaries

 

Lewes ‘losing out’ under new rail timetable

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:

Cllr Vic Ient being interviews on BBC Radio Sussex

 

 

Lewes loses out under new rail timetable, say local Lib Dems

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:

Lewes Station