Both the South Downs National Park Local Plan and the Lewes District Council Local Plan Part 2 are in focus as 2018 closes:
The District Council have just approved their controversial in parts, Local Plan Part 2. Now it will be sent to the Secretary of State for examination. A planning Examiner will be appointed, who will hold public hearings later on in 2019. Residents will have an opportunity to submit evidence if they are opposed to the plan, either wholly or in part, and there will be an opportunity for the public to attend the Examiner’s public hearings.
The National Park are one stage ahead of the Lewes District Council as their plan is already being examined by the government, and there are currently public hearings taking place where those who wish to give evidence against the plan policies, either in part or wholly, will be able to submit their views. I asked the Government’s Examiner to ensure that there would be public hearings local to the Lewes area and not 45 miles away in Midhurst! He agreed with me. This local hearing will take place between the 11th and 12th of December. Click here for more information.
Here are my comments on the district council’s local plan, part two, and some further information on the National Park plan:
East Sussex County Council set to cut services to bare legal minimum!
As The Guardian said in August when the dire financial situation emerged: ESCC are ‘set to cut services to bare legal minimum’. ‘The Tory-run authority reveals plan to avoid following Northamptonshire into bankruptcy!’
Despite the Chancellor saying in his budget statement that austerity is ‘finally coming to an end’ the Conservatives are ploughing ahead with these cuts!
During the autumn things have moved on considerably and now the Conservative group who run the ESCC have agreed major budget cuts. They have come up with what they consider to be the ‘core offer.’ I don’t know why they call it an ‘offer’ as they aren’t offering any other choices! However, they have put out a consultation document which I recommend everyone responds to. Click here to go to the ESCC’s explanation of the core offer and a link to the public consultation page. The consultation closes on 26 December.
Also a petition (also closing on 26 December) has been raised in protest against these cuts, – click here to sign up.
Despite the Prime Minister’s announcement on 15th Nov that she has negotiated a ‘deal’ and whether or not we agree with it; there is still much uncertainty around the ‘Brexit’ issue. Amidst ministerial resignations, Conservative MPs apparently signing ‘no-confidence in the Prime Minister’ letters, including the MP for Lewes who, by the way, is also saying she will vote against her own government on the proposals, chaos reigns in Parliament! Thus, we still don’t know how the Conservatives will take us out of the EU. The possibilities still range from ‘crashing out’ through to various forms of ‘soft exit’ only just over 4 months before the ‘leave’ date!
designated date for leaving the EU is March 29, 2019. There has been much talk
about the effect on our airports and at the port of Dover. However, to my
knowledge, there has never been any discussion on what risks affect the local
people in Lewes District caused by an exit. I am especially concerned with Newhaven
port. I believe we need to form a Task Force jointly with:
AppropriateUK government departments
The UK Border Force and Police
Quasi-Governmental Local Organisations, like theLEP’s
Business organisations like the Newhaven Port Authority – Newhaven Port & Properties Ltd
Force is to look into the risks and what can be done to alleviate the problems
for the residents of this district.
Motion relating to the EU by Lib Dem Cllr Vic Ient which is to be debated at the Lewes District Council Full Council Meeting on the 26th November 2018:
“The Lewes District Council form a Task Force and invite the County Council and other appropriate public & commercial organisations to participate in assessing the risks and developing proposals to limit the difficulties which may be faced in relation to the import-export location of Newhaven”.
The new recycling scheme in Lewes District is having a real effect! At the recent Plastic Free Lewes event ‘The Truth About Plastic’ (Lewes Town Hall, 24th October), Scot Reid (Head of Customer and Neighbourhood Services at Lewes District Council) announced that the new recycling scheme, introduced in the past year, has significantly improved recycling rates in Lewes District, they are now up from 22% to 38%.
The new scheme was introduced following a long campaign by Lib Dem District Councillor, Vic Ient. Cllr Ient said “It’s great that we have been able to respond to public calls for better recycling and I will continue to push the District Council to be more ambitious”.
Environmental campaigner Oli Henman said “The improved recycling rates provide very welcome news given the challenges of plastic pollution in our countryside and our seas; we hope to see this level grow further. Now, we are calling on the District council to get on with rolling out the on-street recycling bin pilot which was put forward by Lib Dem Council Group Leader, Cllr Sarah Osborne.”
Local campaigner Kevin West said, “Lewes residents are very active on the issue of recycling and have responded in a really positive way to the new scheme. According to Viridor, the contractor who sorts the recycling, we have very low rates of ‘contamination’ – only 2% of the recycling is rejected,making the quality 98%. This shows that small changes can have major effects,we should all be proud of this achievement.”
Plastic Free Lewes is a campaign group in Lewes that raises awareness of the impact of plastic pollution and helps people to take real action to resolve the issue. It is supported by multiple political parties as well as the Town Council. Lewes Lib Dem campaigners Kevin West and Oli Henman have been key members of Plastic Free Lewes since its inception
The Rail Delivery Group (made up of Train Operating Companies) along with the rail passenger organisation, Transport Focus are asking for public comments on how to restructure and simplify train fares. The consultation is open and runs until 10 September 2018. I think it is very important that everybody who uses the railway whether regularly or occasionally makes their comments.
This is the first major review of how train fares are structured and how train fares can be purchased since the early 1990s. That’s before the Internet became widely used and before contactless payments were invented. The rail fare system is still based on a clunky magnetic ticketing system which is very difficult to modify and change.
Recommendations will be made to the government in the autumn following the consultation which could bring about a much fairer, more equitable and easier fare system. However the computer experts and ticket administrators sitting in their offices don’t necessarily have all the best ideas so this is our opportunity to tell them what we want. Please make your comments:
This consultation is not about the quality of service or lack of it, getting rid of GTR in the southern railway network, overcrowding or resolving the chaotic way in which the rail companies introduced timetable changes. Yes, all these things need to be dealt with but I think it is really important to take advantage of making suggestions to improve the rail ticket system. Please do tell them what you think by clicking on the above link.
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:
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.
Air source heating which can be used for both hot water and heating.
Ground source heating which can be used for both hot water and heating. Often this is used for underfloor heating as well.
Let them know what you think… please signing the petition Click Here.The petition closes on the20th July 2018. Please add your name. ALSO please give your comments on the consultation – it closes on 27 July 2018:
What ESCC say about the cuts the Conservative have imposed on the county:
“£10m cuts are also proposed for Adult Social Care, seven libraries and the Mobile Library have closed, £400k has been cut from the budget for grass cutting and Early Help services for vulnerable families are being reviewed with an expectation of £2.6m savings being delivered. The Director of Children’s Services has made it clear that he does not think it is right to identify additional funding for East Sussex Music by cutting other statutory services”.