The future for food, farming and the environment in Sussex

Click this photo to read the Campaign to Protect Rural England’s (CPRE) initial reaction to the publication of the consultation

Defra (the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) is seeking views on proposals for future agricultural policy in England. This a golden opportunity for farmers, those associated with farming and food production as well those concerned with our rural environment to have their say on creating a farming policy which works for the farm industry, rural communities and improves the environment.

The consultation closes at 11:45pm on 8 May 2018. See:

Budget success at the Lewes District Council for the Lib Dems

Lib Dem leader Sarah Osborne (centre) arriving at the LDC budget meeting on Monday night with some of her fellow councillors L to R: Will Elliott, Steve Saunders, Sarah Osborne, Olivia Honeyman & Graham Amy

Budget success at the Lewes district council for the Liberal Democrats and their leader Sarah Osborne!  All 5 of Lewes District Council Liberal Democrat Leader Sarah Osborne’s amendments to the Lewes District Council budget were approved with cross-party support this week. Measures include:

  1. Special fund of £2.2 million to provide new temporary accommodation for the homeless
  2. Introduction of on-street recycling bins
    Feasibility study to create a trade waste
  3. recycling service for small businesses
  4. A major environmental initiative to develop new standards in relation to new planning applications & building regulations which will include a range of sustainability measures such as renewable energy for new developments and ‘green corridors
  5. A series of events during 2018 to celebrate the Representation of the Peoples Act 1918 where women began to get the vote for the first time. The events would also promote equality and diversity in our society.

Councillor Osborne said: “Punch and Judy politics doesn’t achieve anything for the people who elected us. All Councils face huge financial and social challenges, so we must work together were we can to deliver more housing and a cleaner environment and deliver the services our residents rightly expect from us.



Lib Dems campaign in by-election in Newhaven and Peacehaven

Dave Twaits and Matthew Milligan have been selected as the Lib Dem Town Council candidates for Newhaven and Peacehaven Town Councils in by-elections set for 8th March; and are already out knocking on doors. In a busy weekend of campaigning, local volunteers joined the candidates to speak to residents and share key priorities.


Dave Twaits said, “I have lived in the Denton Ward of Newhaven most of my life and I now want to give something back to the community as a Town Councillor. The issues I feel most strongly about in Newhaven are regeneration of the town centre, youth employment, adult social care and the worsening traffic congestion which affects the area. Having lived in the area for many years I know how great the community of Denton is and I very much look forward to working with the local Lib Dems and fellow residents to keep it that way.”

The Lib Dems are the strongest group on Newhaven Town Council, where they stand up for local residents and fight for investment in Newhaven, which the Conservative-led District and County Councils have failed to deliver.

Meanwhile, standing for Peacehaven Town Council, Matthew Milligan said, “On the doorstep I have heard a number of issues that the residents of Peacehaven care about that are being neglected by the Tory-run council. Peacehaven has been run by the Conservatives for years. I think its time for something different, I want to bring fresh energy to a stagnant council.”

In Peacehaven, the Lib Dems offer a real alternative to the Conservatives, they are pushing for improved infrastructure and renewal of local priorities.

Funding for the Voluntary Sector

Funding for 2018-2019

The Lewes District Council have this week (February 5) agreed on funding proposals that will see the council remain the largest funder to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) amongst district and borough authorities in East Sussex.

Lewes District Council has also earmarked £30,000 that voluntary organisations can bid for in their work to support people through the rollout of Universal Credit which starts in the Lewes district later this year.


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:

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: