Category Archives: ESCC

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

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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”.

C7 Safety Campaign

Dear Residents,

Here is an update for on the C7 Safety campaign group. In July 2015 I reported that the Parishes of the Lower Ouse (POLO) had supported me in the setting up of a working group for all of the residents in the parishes in the lower Ouse Valley to investigate solutions to the problems of safety and traffic calming all along the C7 road. During 2015/2016 a number of workshop meetings were held with residents & parishes to document the issues. Comments and suggestions were documented in a series of drawings and list. I circulated and publish this information in January 2017. Click here to see the charts and report.

During the autumn of 2016 ESCC Highways met with POLO and positively responded to the research work we had been carrying out. Earlier this year I met with the ESCC Highways Department and discussed in what way they could assist the community in improving the traffic calming and safety measures along the road.  This report summarises my discussions with ESCC and proposes further steps towards pulling together a fully documented and costed plan to tackle the road issues. Here are my notes:

East Sussex County Council:

  • Are willing to help the community find a suitable highways design consultancy who could put together a safety and traffic calming strategy for the C7. ESCC have promised to send a list of consultants we may wish to work with.
  • Are going to carry out a survey this summer of the whole road detailing minor improvements and maintenance upgrades for things like signs & markings. This survey will also refer to possible other minor improvements for safety purposes. Once this survey is complete quotations will be obtained from their approved contractor and a proposal for implementation will be submitted (internally in the ESCC) so that work can go ahead.
  • Have now made detailed comments on our list of proposed safety and traffic calming measures. Here is a copy of that list, (click to download): C7 List of Comments 2016 POLO with ESCC info
  • Are willing to attend one of our workshop meetings to discuss their comments. We have agreed a date of the 2nd August at  6 PM. Please join us. please send an email to me & I will confirm the venue.  This meeting is open to all the parishes and residents in the valley.

However we can’t just rely on progressing things through one small department in the ESCC. As I have said before, the community needs to lead on this issue and produce a strategy and a plan for implementing safety and traffic calming measures. I have already proposed the production of a safety strategy document for the road which should be accompanied by a design/finance plan. As members of POLO may remember a proposal to engage a design consultant was discussed last year and the POLO Clerk put out a request to the parishes to support the cost of producing the design document bearing in mind that the district council (click here for further info) had agreed to fund 50% of the £2000 cost. I am not sure which parishes agreed to help with the cost or if the particular consultant proposed is still the preferred supplier.

Rationale behind a strategy & financial plan: Some improvements will come through the normal county council maintenance budget. Residents just need to make sure they report maintenance items but other measures will be more costly and will require funding from the county council, parishes or/and from a combination of organisations, possibly including the Local Enterprise Partnership (which deals with applications for funding locally on behalf of the government) or/and from special charities and other organisations. all of these organisations will require an application proposal and an estimate of costs. That is why we need a strategy plan and financial costings . Once we have these we can approach the organisations for funding . Hopefully we will be able to do this in by this autumn such that funds can be allocated in the next financial year ( 2018/19).

I will continue to work on the C7 safety issues and I am pleased to say that Joe Attwood (joe.attwood@btinternet.com) has volunteered to become the C7 Safety project coordinator. I’m looking forward to working with him to produce the safety plan for the road. We have set up a workshop meeting for 5 July at 6 PM. Please join us.  Please send an email to me & I will confirm the venue. This meeting is open to all the parishes and residents in the valley.

In parallel with the continuing work we shouldn’t forget that there’s always an opportunity for everyone to help improve things on the road. Here is some information:

Sources of Finance: Hopefully we will be able to find a volunteer who can research the different sources of funding. There may be just a short window of time available for applications to the EU as existing programmes run to the year 2020. However, apart from the county council, we will need some research into how one makes applications to the Local Enterprise Partnership.

Parish Councils: In parallel to this initiative the parishes (​Kingston, Iford, Rodmell, Southease  & Piddinghoe) and residents association (Kingston Road) continue with their own actions. I hope residents will discuss safety and traffic calming measures with their own parish council or association.

Report it: If you see a sign, pothole or verge which needs repairing or maintaining please use the automated reporting system. Click here for information and links

Accidents: Many people are keeping a log of accidents along the road and I hope you’ll share this at the workshop meeting

Speeding –  This is of concern to many people, the question is proving it! I hope we can get police, albeit with their scarce resources, to devote some time to the C7. In addition, there are a number of ways to kick off an initiative in your area. Here are some websites which may be of interest: Information on reducing speeding

Enforcing the weight & width restriction: Luckily past councillors for the ward got a weight restriction implemented for the C7.  A width restriction exists on the C324 through Kingston. Some residents feel these regulations are being broken. Ways of reporting and enforcement could be discussed by all the parishes.

Traffic Calming:  Volunteers are needed to research traffic calming measures. Here is a link of what I have found:   https://www.evernote.com/pub/vic182/trafficcalming

Other initiatives?

Road: I’m following up on the future of the A27 especially the section from the Ashcombe roundabout to Beddingham. Whether or not the A27 is turned into a motorway east of Lewes changes are needed to the three roundabouts at Ashcombe, Southerham & Beddingham to encourage the traffic to take the A26 to Seaford and Newhaven rather than the C7. I’m attending a seminar with Highways England on 10 July in London to follow this up.

Rail: I’ve already put my views forward concerning the reopening of the Lewes to Uckfield line. I am continuing to follow this up and support the initiative by Railfuture. Also I would like to see, linked parking/ticketing initiatives at stations in Sussex to persuade drivers to take the train.

Bus: I would like to see the introduction of Sunday services and an extension to their 123 service along the valley. To persuade drivers to take the bus instead of the train I would like to see an express coach service operating between Brighton, Lewes and Eastbourne along the A27 rather than just the busy coastal road

PS:  Swanborough

As some of you will know a planning application has been submitted and approved for holiday lodges next to the fishing lakes in Swanborough. Click here to see my report.

One of the good things that come out of this development is that the National Park have made a condition that a section 106 agreement must be signed before the development can start. We hope this will provide for some footpaths and safety measures on the C7. Here is the latest map showing the developers proposals for cycle/footways: (click to enlarge)

 

Elections! May 4th and June 8th!

Dear Residents,

The surprise general election called by the Conservative Prime Minister means to say that we have two election days coming up  – one on 4 May to elect a new county council and one on 8 June to elect a new MP.  Next week on Thursday, 4 May we have elections for the East Sussex County Council. There will be 50 councillors on the new council and they will serve for a 4 year term until 2021. I remain as your district councillor  until 2019 when the Lewes District Council comes up for re-election. The new county ward which include the villages on the western side of the lower Ouse in situated is now called Ouse Valley West & Downs.  It includes the villages of:

Click to enlarge/download: County wards in Lewes District

Falmer, St Ann Without, Kingston, Swanborough, Iford, Northease, Rodmell, Southease, Piddinghoe,Ditchling, Westmeston,  & Street

Our candidate for this area is Sarah Osborne who already has experience as a councillor as she has been on the Lewes District Council for 10 years.

 

 

 

 

 

Sarah’s contact details are:

sarahosborne2000@yahoo.co.uk    phone: 07986776105   Twitter: @sjo400  Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sarah.osborne.9406

Sarah’s recent newsletters:   Mid April Campaign Newsletter          April/May Campaign Newsletter

The LibDem are fielding candidates for all 8 county wards/divisions in the Lewes Constituency area. Click below for some links to info about them:

Currently the make up of the Council is:

21 Conservative
10 Liberal Democrats
7 Labour
6 UKIP
5 Independent

Whether we’re talking about the general election or the county council election the fight is between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives in the Lewes area:

Conservative 19,206
Liberal Democrat 18,123
UKIP 5,427
Labour 5,000
Green 2,784

There is only just over 1,000 in it!  In the 2016 referendum the majority of people in the Lewes Constituency voted to Remain in the EU.

General Election

Kelly-Marie with ex MP Norman Baker

On June 8 the whole country will vote to choose their new member of Parliament. Kelly-Marie Blundell is the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the Liberal Democrats in the Lewes constituency.  Kelly-Marie lives in the constituency at Seaford. The daughter of a farmer and a teacher, Kelly-Marie Blundell read Law at the University of Kent before going on to work as a Citizen’s Advice Bureau advisor. She now runs her own consultancy firm, advising charities on communications and fundraising.  Click here for more information

Kelly-Marie’s contact details are:

Telephone (Office): 01273 615075   Email: kelly-marie@kellymarieblundell.co.uk     Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/kellymarie.blundell   Twitter: @KellyMarieLD    Web: http://www.leweslibdems.org.uk/

Lewes constituency Liberal Democrat Perspective Parliamentary Candidate, Kelly-Marie Blundell is interviewed about the upcoming general election.

More information?  sign up for the Lib Dem Newswire:

Where is ESCC Rural Cycling & Walking Investment?

Cycle Walk ImageFor a number of years I’ve been campaigning for more safety measures and improvements for cyclist and walkers. Since I became a district councillor I have continued to speak up for alternatives to simply getting in the car and driving everywhere. The car is essential but since the creation of county councils their focus has been on providing roads. The last coalition government with Lib Dem ministers in office re-balanced the focus to include provision for cyclists & walkers. Sadly now we are almost back to square one with the current Conservative government. Luckily, the Conservatives didn’t get rid of all of the Lib Dem policies. The funding grants made available by the Lib Dems in government were removed but were replaced with a ‘cycling and walking strategy.’

Albeit with much reduced funds, the government, last year, called for bids from county councils for both capital and revenue projects covering cycling and walking. Unlike West Sussex, East Sussex County Council simply did not bid for the capital funding. However they did bid for revenue funding. However, having won the money they decided to focus all of the investment in the coastal urban areas leaving out the towns and villages in our countryside.  It’s great that the County Council has been successful in winning funding for cycling and walking but I’m very disappointed to see that these funds will only be able to be spent in the Newhaven, Eastbourne, South Wealden, Bexhill and Hastings areas. Of course, I’m pleased for those areas”.

Earlier last year I met with officers of East Sussex County Council and pleaded with them to include schemes to improve safety for walkers and cyclists using and crossing the dangerous C7 road which connects Lewes to Newhaven.  Sadly they ignored my pleas leaving my rural area without funding as well as Lewes and much of the rest of the county.

I aim to continue the campaign and hope that the political composition of the county council changes in May this year so we can make some real progress right across the county. In the meantime if you agree with me and want to see funding shared between urban and rural areas for cycling and walking please write to:

Cllr Carl Maynard, county council lead member for transport and environment, and let him know that you want fairer treatment for the rural areas to improve safety for both walkers and cyclists. email: cllr.carl.maynard@eastsussex.gov.uk  You can read his press release here about the allocation to the urban coastal towns:  http://news.eastsussex.gov.uk/2017/01/26/funding-boost-for-walking-and-cycling-schemes/

Here is a copy of a recent press article about this issue. Also below is an article published last year in the Sussex Express about the same issue

Click to enlarge:

vic-ient-sussex-express-fri-03-02-17

Sussex express article Feb 2017

Here is a link to an article in the Sussex Express from last year on cycling & walking: http://www.sussexexpress.co.uk/news/lewes-councillor-calls-for-urgent-cyclepath-funding-1-7493718

 

Rodmell School success – but it’s not over yet!

There was good news back in July for Rodmell School. The all powerful ESCC Cabinet agreed not to close the school.  Thanks to the efforts of parents, governors, members of the public and ward councillors Rodmell School won a reprieve! However we are not at the end of the road yet, the County’s decision has a specific condition:

Extract from ESCC Cabinet minutes:

Rodmell School (2)

Rodmell School (3)

As you will see, there is a requirement for the governors to produce an acceptable long-term plan during term 5. That means they have to submit a plan between 18 April and 26 May 2017!  I’m sure this will become a hot topic during the county council elections which are due to take place in May 2017.

2015-09-05 11.57.06In the meantime, I would like to thank County Councillor Carla Butler for her hard work to keep the School open.  Here is what she said after the decision:

Carla Butler Article
Extract from Sussex Express article dated 22 July 2016 by Reporter Joshua Powling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click below to see my plea to the ESCC:

Cllr Vic Ient 27 May 2016 Submission to the ESCC on Rodmell School

 

Kingston School expansion get the go-ahead!

As many may already know, the planning application for improvements and expansion of Iford & Kingston School got the go-ahead at the May meeting of the East Sussex County Council Planning Committee. Whilst I’m sure we all support better facilities for the children at the school, I was saddened by the County Council’s decision not to include any significant funds for highway and footpath improvements to try and alleviate the traffic problems caused by parents from outside the village having to drop off and collect their children. The County Council’s policy of expanding the school will add even more rush-hour traffic problems to Kingston. (click below to read more)

Continue reading Kingston School expansion get the go-ahead!

Future of Rodmell School?

PhotoScanHave your say on a proposal to close Rodmell CE Primary School!   As many will know there is a proposal by ESCC to close the school. Currently the Council are running a public consultation, part of which is a public meeting. It will be held at The Church of St Peter, Rodmell on Tuesday 3 May, 2016 at 6:30 to 8:00 pm. Come along and put your views.

If you can’t make it you can still put forward your views – the consultation doesn’t close until the end of this month – 27th May 2016. You can:

  • Complete the on-line consultation – CLICK HERE
  • Sent the ESCC an email – CLICK HERE
  • Or fill in a consultation form – these are available at County Hall & Lewes Public Library. Copies may be available at the meeting on the 3rd May.

Rodmell SchoolThe Rodmell Village website has more information – CLICK HERE  Please follow the link on the page to some corrections to several statements given in the ESCC consultation paper, by Anne Roberts, Vice Chair of the School Governors for Rodmell School.

For more information from the County Council – CLICK HERE

In addition there is a petition running about the closure – PETITION

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