Category Archives: Key issues

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

Community Safety Partnership

At a recent meeting of the LDC Scrutiny Committee (of which I am a member) we reviewed the District Community Safety Partnership. This partnership includes membership from the District Council, County Council and other bodies like the office of the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner. There were a number of reasons for a review but it’s interesting to note that the partnership is to be extended over a wider area including Eastbourne, Wealden and Lewes although the local joint action groups will remain.

ThinkThere are many aspects to the partnership’s work, CLICK HERE for more information, but one is Road Safety which may be of interest to residents in the villages along the C7. Our review meeting we discussed the funds that are available to support local projects. This fund stands at £57,000. This may increase by some £21,000 as a result of the Police and Crime ESSafeCommissioner’s budget changes for the coming year. (This figures were correct as of early March 2016).  Parish councils may apply for a grant from the Community Safety Fund. A grant is intended to help pay for an initiative in your parish/area. If you have a scheme that you think is grant worthy, please contact your parish council or residents association. Please let me know if you need further information. Alternatively click the image to the left for more information:

 

Regards, Cllr Vic Ient

 

 

How easy is it to get around National Parks by bus?

123 BusOn the 23 Feb 2016 the Bus Minister Andrew Jones quietly announced there will be a Buses Bill in 2016.  At the moment it seems to be aimed at big cities and not rural counties & villages though the proposal talks about new partnerships and franchising for the whole of the UK. The Campaign for National Parks want to ensure that the Bill and any changes introduced as a result provide improved access to, from and around National Parks.

132 busIt would help strengthen their arguments if they could include some real examples of how buses, or the lack of them, have affected people’s journeys to and from National Parks, so please contact them directly. Email Ruth on ruthb@cnp.org.uk or ring on 020 7981 0890

 

 

Here is a copy of the Campaign for National Parks announcement:

How easy is it for you to get to, from and around National Parks by bus?

Continue reading How easy is it to get around National Parks by bus?

Shooting on the South Downs

What’s going on in your area behind the scenes!  Closing date for comments is Wednesday 24th Feb.

On the South Downs above the Ouse valley between Rodmell and Kingston and in Iford there have been many planning issues associated with game shooting and game bird breeding. The situation culminated recently with planning inspectors at two different ‘planning hearings’ giving permission for:

  1. An old farm building on the Downs to be used as a game shooting lodge and
  2. An area of a farm at Iford village being used for the intensive breeding of game birds.

shootBut the story is not yet over! Just recently the landowner associated with the shooting business has applied for a ‘lawful development certificate’ relating to a large area of the South Downs. See the map below. Effectively they are trying to establish that shooting has been going on in the area for over 10 years. In other words from approximately 2005 onwards.

The applicant has provided what they believe is sufficient evidence to prove that the Council must issue a lawful development certificate. Members of the public could support or oppose the application but not in the normal way. Anyone wishing to comment on the application would have to do so by providing a statement giving what they believe is their evidence of whether or not there has been shooting activity in the defined area. This application will not be dealt with like a normal planning application and it will not be sufficient to just simply say you are opposed or support the shooting activity for this or that reason. It will not be considered by a committee. The planning and legal officers of the Lewes District Council acting on behalf of the National Park will make the decision themselves. Members of the District Council can submit their own statement but they will not participate in the decision-making process.

If you would like to find out more about the application please follow the link below and enter the application number in the search box.

Application for a Lawful Development Certificate – shooting area on the South Downs

Visit: http://planningpublicaccess.southdowns.gov.uk/online-applications/

Then, enter in the search box: SDNP/15/06385/LDE   –   You will then be taken to the actual application page.  NB: Here is some advice from the Planning Department on how to support or oppose the awarding of the certificate:

Any representations should be e-mailed to planning.south@lewes.gov.uk, or to Rachel.richardson@lewes.gov.uk.

As discussed, any representations should concentrate on whether shooting has taken place on the land for 10 years before 11/12/15 (the date of the application), rather than objecting on grounds relating to the alleged impact of the use.

The area defined on the application is within the parish of Iford and borders Rodmell and Rottingdean parishes as well as Woodingdean & Saltdean (part of the city of Brighton and Hove). It encompasses the Kingston Escarpment & Iford Hill SSSI. It stretches from the C7 road to the borders of Rottingdean and encompasses a number of areas of Public Open Access land as well is public bridleways and the South Downs Way.

So far the council have notified: Kingston, Iford, Rodmell, Southease & Piddinghoe parish councils

Map – click for a larger image or see it on the planning web site:

Map Shooting

Bus Services – a little bit of good news!

123 bus001The 132 bus (Sundays only) is now diverted to run along the C7 instead of the A26! 

In September we had some disappointing news in that the  National Park subsidies for the Compass Bus 123 Sunday service ran out and the service ceased. Now, we have a little bit of good news – the CTLA 132 service has been rescheduled to run up the Ouse valley!  It is only one service in each direction but it’s better than nothing! CTLA primarily operates the service for the Lewes Town area but also serves the lower Ouse villages.

132 busThe service leaves Lower Place, Newhaven in the centre of Newhaven Town at 9:42 AM (arriving Lewes at 10:10 AM). Its return trip leaves Lewes bus station at 14:10 PM (arriving Newhaven at 14:37 PM).

The service in both directions stops at Kingston (Kingston School) Rodmell and Piddinghoe (C7 Main Road bus stop). I understand that concessionary fares are available.

 

 

Click here for a link to a  copy of the timetable

 

Bus service update

123 BusA story of good news (well a small amount!) and bad news. The bad news is that the 130 bus service, which runs once-a-day from Rodmell to Brighton, will be withdrawn unless subsidies can be found. The good news is that there is to be a small, but useful improvement made to the 123 bus service which runs between Lewes and Newhaven.

This month, in August, I met with the Managing Director, Chris Chatfield, and the Transport Manager, Barry King, of Compass Travel. I am pleased to advise you that the services, in both directions which run just after 9 o’clock, will now take concessionary fares. Great news! This new arrangement together with some other minor modifications will come into operation from about 11 September. New timetables will be available shortly. NB: The new printed timetable omits to note that concessionary fares are available after 9am but I have had an assurance from the MD of Compass Travel that this was a printing error and will be corrected. The web version will be amended asap.  

I was pleased hear that the two hourly bus service is now currently operating on a commercial basis with only very minor aspects of financial support from ESCC. Basically this means we don’t have to fear further government and council cuts to the 123 service.

Subject to the agreement of the parishes I have agreed to act as liaison between Compass Travel and the parishes. Hopefully this means we will be able to coordinate ideas and issues amongst ourselves leading to productive meetings with the bus company. However this doesn’t mean that members of the public and parish representatives shouldn’t raise individual problems with the bus company directly. Please continue to do that.

Further information:

Continue reading Bus service update

C7 Road / Safety /Speeding

At the POLO meeting on 1st June 2015 I proposed that a working group of all of the parishes in the Ouse Valley should be set up to investigate solutions to the vexatious problems all along the valley. This was agreed by POLO and each village was asked to nominate somebody to be part of the group. Carla Butler, our County Councillor, and I agreed to lead this group.

See Sussex Express article

Meeting with ESCC – On 14 July 2015, Carla Butler and I had a meeting with officers of the Highways and Transport Department of the County Council. The meeting mainly focused on the C7 (in relation to the above initiative) but also touched on the issue of bus services. In both areas we received positive support. As a result of this meeting it has been agreed that the Transport Department officers will support both the C7 group and the buses group. We can now proceed with organising the first meeting of the C7 group.

PS – I acknowledge there have been some excellent individual and parish initiatives in the past. Indeed there continue to be ongoing initiatives in each parish which should continue.