Category Archives: Key issues

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!

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

 

Report Back – by Cllr Sarah Osborne Spring 2018

Report Back by County Councillor Sarah Osborne

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

County Report:

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. 

Other matters

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!

Regards

Sarah Osborne

Email: sarahosborne2000@yahoo.co.uk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sarah.osborne.9406

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/sjo400

 

 

 

Report Back & Discussion on Local Issues evening

Dear Residents,                                                                                                April 2018

For Residents in Kingston Ward (Falmer, St Ann Without, Kingston, Swanborough, Iford, Northease, Rodmell, Southease, Piddinghoe)

Join Councillors Sarah Osborne & Vic Ient for a Report Back & Discussion on Local Issues on:

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:

 

 

  1. Publication of the South Downs National Park Local Plan – see notes below.
  2. Consultation on the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) closes on 10th May
  3. Iford farm estate plan – recently approved by the National Park
  4. Lewes Racecourse planning applications and enforcement matters
  5. Shooting on the Downs – progress on the Lawful Development Certificate application
  6. New Transport Vision for the Sussex Coast by SCATE
  7. Government plans for the A27
  8. C7 Road safety and the effect of increased traffic caused by developments in Newhaven and Peacehaven etc
  9. Highways repairs and safety projects
  10. Bus services and tourism
  11. Rail services and the campaign to restore the Lewes to Uckfield railway line
  12. Footpath, bridleways and multi-user paths developments associated with the Holiday Lodge development
  13. Bridleway and footpath issues
  14. Cycling and walking investment proposals to be considered by ESCC
  15. Waste, Recycling & Litter and the campaign for a plastic-free Lewes District
  16. Air Pollution
  17. ESCC Cuts
  18. 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:

https://sussexcampaign.com/     https://www.facebook.com/CllrVicIentLibDem/     https://twitter.com/victor_ient

For all my past news and updates, click here: blog news.

Regards

Vic Ient
Lewes District Councillor – [Kingston Ward: Falmer – St Ann Without – Kingston – Swanborough – Iford – Northease – Rodmell – Southease – Piddinghoe]
T: 07788720929     E: vic.ient.libdem@gmail.com    W: https://sussexcampaign.com/
https://www.facebook.com/CllrVicIentLibDem/    https://twitter.com/victor_ient      Google:  SussexCampaign

Lib Dems propose £2.2M ‘House the Homeless’ Scheme in Lewes District

Lib Dems at Lewes District Council are to propose a new housing scheme in the up coming budget council meeting on Feb 19th 2018.
 
Lib Dem Group Leader Sarah Osborne will be asking Councillors to support Lib Dem plans for 24 2-bed units or a mixture of 1-3 bed units that could be delivered quickly to provide new accommodation in the district for people who are otherwise housed in B&Bs in Eastbourne.

Cllr_Osborne_2.jpg

Councillors will be asked to back ring-fencing of £2.2m from the “acquisition of Land and Property” capital programme. The scheme has been shown to be viable and self-financing and would not increase council tax.
 
Cllr Sarah Osborne said “There is a massive shortage of affordable housing locally and homeless residents end up in B& B outside the district. This is a bad solution for anyone. It means people are a long way from jobs, schools, friends and family and it’s harmful to their wellbeing. It is also expensive for taxpayers. In last years budget, I secured funding for a feasibility study for better housing for those needing emergency accommodation. It shows it is possible and affordable to provide temporary, decent housing locally “.
Cllr Osborne added:
 
No specific site has yet been chosen and if councillors approve the funding Lewes District Council would still follow all appropriate procedures and consultations before moving ahead”.

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!?

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)