Category Archives: Key issues

HGVs breaking 6′ 6″ width restriction in Kingston near Lewes!?

Dear Residents,

A number of people have complained to me about the increasing number of HGV lorries coming through Kingston including grain lorries, articulated vehicles and coaches. On Wednesday, 13 September I actually caught one on camera (see below) outside the school. The lorry was on its way to Wyevale and, in my opinion, it should not have been travelling through the 6’ 6” width restriction in Kingston. I have written to the police to report the matter and to ESCC to ask them to write to the businesses along the C7 requesting them to provide information to their suppliers and drivers that Kingston via the C324 is not a permitted route for HGVs.

If you see a large lorry or coach travelling through Kingston please would you report it to the police on their 101 service. Or go to: https://www.sussex.police.uk/ It would be ideal if you could take a photo. Or you can report this incident to Operation Crackdown by clicking on http://www.operationcrackdown.org/ Here you can upload photos as well.  Please also email me with the information.

Continue reading HGVs breaking 6′ 6″ width restriction in Kingston near Lewes!?

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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)

 

ESCC Election Results!

Dear Residents,

It was a great result yesterday here in the Lewes constituency for the county council elections. Lib Dems won all 4 of their target seats including the Ouse Valley West and Downs County division where our candidate was Sarah Osborne. She will now be the county councillor for our area for the next 4 years. Click here to see details of Sarah’s County ward/division.  I remain your district councillor. Click here to see: About Vic Ient’s ward. Sarah’s result was:

 

 

Party Votes Percentage
Lib Dems 1722 52% Sarah Osborne elected
Tory 1253 38%
Lab 205 6%
Greens 144 4%
Total votes 3324 100%

Lib Dems won in these wards:

  • Ouse Valley West and Downs – Sarah Osborne
  • Ringmer and Lewes Bridge – Philip Daniel
  • Newhaven and Bishopstone – Darren Grover
  • Seaford South – Caroline Lambert

Conservatives won in these wards:

  • Chailey
  • Peacehaven
  • Seaford North
  • Telscombe

Independent won in this ward:

  • Lewes

Click here for all Lewes District results.   Lib Dems gained seats and Labour lost seats in East Sussex.

Click image to enlarge and go to BBC table of results

Click here to see BBC report of East Sussex

Nationally, for Lib Dems,  results were a mixed picture. The headline don’t show the many council seats where the Lib Dems increased their share of the vote coming a good second place. There were also some stunning results for the Lib Dems in places like St Albans. In Eatbourne the Lib Dems won all 6 county seats. Overall the Tories gained from the demise of UKIP and the collapse of the Labour vote. Lib Dems increase their share of the vote by 7% to 18%. With proportional representation the actual council seats would be very different from those declared on Friday 5th May 2017!

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:

C7 Road Safety Survey Comments!

car-overtakingDear Residents,

Re: Suggestions for improving safety in the Lower Ouse valley along the C7 road:

Following consultations in 2015 and 2016 comments from parishes and members of the public have been collated. They have been marked on detailed plans and are shown on the diagrams and links below. Please also see the notes below.

Regards

District Councillor, Vic Ient

Complete Document (PDF): Click >>  c7-plan_comments_draft-30-12-16

Individual pages. Click the image below to view/enlarge/save:

Summary Page
Summary Page

c7-plan_comments_draft-30-12-16-p2
Kingston-Swanborough

c7-plan_comments_draft-30-12-16-p3
Iford to Rodmell

Southease
Southease

Piddinghoe
Piddinghoe

 

By the way if you wish to report any highway maintenance issues: CLICK HERE

Also you may wish to have a look at the 2 videos which County Cllr Carla Butler and I have made of the journey in both directions along the C7. CLICK HERE

Explanatory notes:

  1. These comments do not form part of any policy by any group or council.
  2. These notes are relating to the C7 and its junctions. It is hoped that they will be updated to include the C324 road (Ashcombe Lane & Wellgreen Lane, Kingston) in due course.
  3. The original sketches I have made are A3 in size but you should be able to print them in A4.
  4. These diagrams and comments can be used in discussions with the ESCC Highways Department and within POLO as part of the process to produce a strategy for the future safety & traffic calming on the road. I have recently met ESCC Highways to discuss what their proposals are in the light of these comments. I will be reporting back to the parishes and to POLO on the outcome and next steps.
  5. It may be that POLO engage a consultant directly or via the ESCC. Indeed, it may be that some safety improvements can be made incrementally by the ESCC reviewing and improving existing arrangements along the road without any major cost. Typically this might include cleaning and replacing plastic reflective bollards, remarking road surfaces with MPH reminders as well as making signage more meaningful and less cluttered.
  6. After I was elected last year I asked the association of parishes (Parishes Of the Lower Ouse, POLO) in my ward if they would set up a working party to develop a strategy for long-term improvements to safety and traffic calming along the C7 road through the villages of Kingston, Swanborough, Iford, Northease, Rodmell, Southease, and Piddinghoe. The proposal was accepted by POLO and a working group was set up. Since then they and POLO have met a number of times. At the request of POLO I have collated the above inputs from parishes and concerned residents.
  7. The plans will be updated and minor errors  corrected in the next stage.

DfT & Govia to be questioned by the Lewes District Council

Update Fri 9th Sept:

southern-railwayLib Dems win motion calling for the Department for Transport and Govia to come to Lewes to be questioned by the Lewes District Council over the train service delays and cancellations

 Yesterday (Thurs 8th Sept) at the Scrutiny Committee of the Lewes District Council Lib Dem councillor Vic Ient proposed that the Committee invite the Department of Transport and Govia/GTR to come down to Lewes and meet the members of the committee so that they can present their plans for a resolution of the dispute currently running with the RMT as well as providing information on what steps they will take to significantly reduce train cancellations and late trains whether or not there is a dispute with the union.

After a lengthy debate it was clear that the majority Conservative members of the committee were not going to support Vic Ient’s motion. In the end the committee agreed a watered down version:

That the Scrutiny Committee of Lewes District Council invite both the Department of Transport and Govia/GTR to attend a meeting with members of the Scrutiny Committee so that they can present their plans to significantly reduce train cancellations and late trains.

Read more on this here:   rail-dispute-update-9th-sept

More news and information – click below:

Continue reading DfT & Govia to be questioned by the Lewes District Council

Rail Dispute

2016-07-19 14.55.29 (2)
Lib Dem Cllrs Olivia Honeyman & Vic Ient reviewing the rail despute at Seaford

Unless there is a major breakthrough this week the strike called by the RMT Union will go ahead next week affecting commuters and thousands of people who use the rail network every day across Sussex. Talks started yesterday (Wed) according to the Guardian.

Things don’t look good as the  ticket workers’ union to ballot over co-ordinated train strike for ‘maximum impact’ according to The Argus. This dispute has been a long time in the making and I have taken this opportunity to look back into how we got here and at the same time put some proposals forward to resolve things.

In this article you can see my proposals and a review of the background to the dispute:

Continue reading Rail Dispute