LewesTown Council elects first ethnic minority Mayor

Liberal Democrat Councillor Janet Baah has been elected Mayor of Lewes (18/01/18).

Ghanaian-born Baah is the first ethnic minority Mayor to be appointed in Lewes since the Borough Council (the Town Council’s predecessor) was incorporated in 1881.

Janet Baah with the outgoing mayor Michael Chartier

“Today you have made history in electing someone like me,” Councillor Baah told the Council after her election. “I feel very excited, honoured and grateful to live in a town where I am respected and whose councillors have elected me to serve all the people of Lewes.

“Mayoral duties can be difficult because you have to deal with issues concerning the law and individual freedom, but I look forward to supporting everybody’s democratic rights and fighting for the needs of the whole town,” She thanked councillors for supporting her in becoming Mayor.

Baah came to Britain in 2001. She obtained a master’s degree at Brighton University and is now completing a PhD at Sussex University. Her research involves a study of the education system in a slum in Accra, the capital of Ghana.

“Janet will be a great champion for Lewes, she has already made a big impact in Malling, where she is admired for her work in the local community,” said Lib Dem Group Leader on the Town Council, John Lamb. “She will do a great job as Mayor.”

Elected a Liberal Democrat councillor for Bridge Ward in Lewes in 2016, Baah also sits on a group that advises the County Council on inclusivity in social care. She is a non-executive director of Breaking Down Barriers, an organisation that provides inclusivity training.


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.


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”.

EU grants for Business Development still available!

Dear business owners and managers,

There is some good news to end the year on! EU grants are still available to help you grow your business!  Good Luck for a prosperous 2018!

Councillor Vic Ient

Capital Funding for Businesses and Social Enterprises

Small and Medium-sized businesses including Social Enterprises who earn at least half most of their income through trading can apply for two local funds. 

The ‘South East Business Boost, an EU European Regional Development Fund programme can fund up to 30% of a capital project from new equipment and machinery to new technology and processes if it helps grow the enterprise. Maximum grants are for between £1,000 and £10,000 and require 70% match funding from the recipient organisation. 

Applications to South East Business Boost can be made anytime, up until June 2019.

For more information and to apply: www.businesseastsussex.org.uk/south-east-business-boost/

East Sussex Invest 5 is also available if you require more funding for capital items that will result in job growth within the next 12 months.

  • Grants from £15,000 to £40,000 – require minimum match funding of 60%
  • Loans from £10,000 to £200,000 – require minimum match funding of 50%
  • There is an additional grant of £1,500 for a new accredited apprentice position.

There is a total of £900,000 available for loans and £300,000 for grants per financial year until 2020. 

For more information and to apply: www.eastsussex.gov.uk/business/developing/finance/grants/

Lewes: new recycling service to take more plastics!

After two years of campaigning since the election in 2015 the Liberal Democrats are finally succeeding in getting the Conservative controlled Lewes District Council to implement the  much-needed new recycling scheme.  The new scheme will allow all recycling to be put in the one bin! .  Many more plastic items can be recycled helping with the Lib Dem campaign for a #PlasticFreeLewes  Residents will have the choice of having two sizes of recycling wheelie bins plus an option of continuing to use their old containers. The Liberal Democrats want the Council to go further with curbside collections and provide gull/vermin proof bags for both recycling and general waste to those residents who can’t accommodate the large bins.  Typically this is for those who live in terraced houses, in flats and those with disabilities who can’t manage a large bin.  Vic Ient said “We have succeeded in getting a trial started in Lewes for the new gull proof bags and if successful I hope we can convince the conservative administration to include this as a standard option for all residents.”

In the photograph below Liberal Democrat District Council Environment Spokesman Cllr Vic Ient  is with District Cllr Will Elliott (Bridge Ward) and environment campaigner, Oli Henman (who is also the Liberal Democrat Candidate in the Lewes town Council elections), reviewing the new recycling scheme.

The roll-out of the new recycling service has started in the coastal towns and will come to the villages in the Lower Ouse Valley in March followed by Lewes Town in April 2018.

To find out more visit click here 

What can I recycle? click here

The new 240 litre green wheelie bins with a blue lid will replace the old assortment of boxes and bags currently used by residents for their recycling. With the new service much more can be recycled. If one of the new 240 litre bins (pictured) is too big, residents can ask for a smaller bin. The service should be completely rolled out by July 2018.

Printed, published and promoted by O Henman (Liberal Democrat) and Lewes Liberal Democrats all at Unit 2,Enterprise Centre, Denton Island, BN9 9BA.

Liberal Democrats call for a “Plastic Free” Lewes

Local Lewes Liberal Democrats are calling for a ‘Plastic Free Lewes’. They are asking for a ban on non-biodegradable coffee cups, a plastic bottle return scheme and the provision of recycling bins for the different types of plastic waste. This is part of the Liberal Democrats’ long-term national campaign to persuade the government to move over to biodegradable packaging and rid our country of the blight of plastic pollution and litter. Thankfully, in the autumn budget, the Conservative Chancellor has taken a small step forward on plastic pollution. He’s going to carry out an investigation into charging for single use plastic. Not exactly dynamic but welcomed nevertheless!

 “There is national recognition that plastic waste is a major environmental challenge, blighting our landscapes and poisoning our seas,” said Oli Henman, an environmental campaigner and Lewes Lib Dems Town Council candidate.

Lib Dem Lewes Town Council Election Candidate Oli Henman & District Councillor, Vic Ient

Continue reading Liberal Democrats call for a “Plastic Free” Lewes

Climate Change: Catastrophe or Hoax? Friday 24th Nov in Lewes

WHEN: November 24, 2017 at 7:30pm – 9:30pm

WHERE: Lewes Town Hall

CONTACT:  Oli Henman


Another crazy government proposal on housing!

Recently the government came out with yet another wacky proposal on housing. I fully agree with the comments made by CPRE Sussex “maths behind the calculations is deeply flawed.” CPRE are warning that the Government proposals would have a devastating impact on the Sussex countryside if they are adopted by the government”. The government report is entitled “Planning for the right homes in the right places”  if the government adopt the proposals the effect will be to force local councils to give planning permission for developers proposals to build up their ‘land banks’ in the countryside here in south-east. Forcing through planning permissions will further concrete over the countryside but it won’t address the problem of providing homes for those people on our council housing waiting list.

I believe there is a straightforward answer to providing much-needed affordable housing and that is to allow councils to build council houses again. It’s ironic that councils can borrow money to invest in commercial property but ever since the days of Margaret Thatcher councils have been prevented from borrowing money to provide housing!


“Hocus pocus” proposal is a formula for concreting rural Sussex

Pagam and Aldwick Greenfield Action Movement protest plans to build on farmland 

CPRE Sussex is making a formal objection to the ‘mathematical trickery’ behind a new government paper which argues that the majority of new house building should be concentrated in the South-East of England. Click here to see their report and submission to the government