Tag Archives: East Sussex

Your County Councillor

Dear Residents,

The county election seem long forgotten now, with the snap General Election events and all the national and world events that have followed. However, local campaigners and councillors continue their work in the community and the council.  Liberal Democrat Sarah Osborne was elected for a 4 year term for our area. She represents villages on the south west of Lewes from Ditching in the north to Newhaven in the south: Ditchling ; Falmer ; Iford ; Kingston ; Newhaven (part) ; Piddinghoe ; Plumpton ; Rodmell ; Southease ; St Ann (without) ; Streat ; Westmeston

Contact Sarah: E: sarahosborne2000@yahoo.co.uk or T: 01273 401606

At the County Council Sarah is on 2 bodies:

Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee  – This committee looks at the work of the National Health Service (NHS) clinical commissioning groups, healthcare trusts, and the NHS England Local Area Team.

East Sussex Fire Authority  – The Authority was created on 1st April 1997, as a result of  local government reorganisation and has significant statutory responsibilities laid down in the Fire & Rescue Service Act 2004 and The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Sarah is also a member of the Lewes District Council and is on Appointments, Devolution, and Scrutiny Committees  and Leader of the Liberal Democrat District Councillor Group. She sits in on the powerful Cabinet meeting. Ignoring any form of proportionality the Conservatives have taken 100% of the seats on this committee. Sarah is also a current member of  3VA which is a charity that supports and develops the voluntary & community sector in Eastbourne, Lewes and Wealden.

Nationally,  Sarah is a member of the Local Government Association (LGA) and sits on the People & Places Committee which acts as the national group representing the interests of non-city areas.  The LGA is the national voice of councils and works to that ensure that local council’s voice is heard at national government level.

Sarah’s newsletter ‘Thank You’ for support in the county elections and in the general election is being delivered this summer. You can also see a copy by clicking the image to the left. The Focus newsletter covers a number of issues and here are some on them:

Tories drop plans to snatch free school meals after Lib Dem pressure

Theresa May has dropped plans to scrap free school lunches for infant pupils, after the Lib Dems criticised the Conservative plans, which would have deprived 1.7 million children of free school lunches, including 700,000 living in poverty.


Commenting over the recent schools funding announcement, Lib Dem Shadow Education Spokesperson Layla Moran said: “This is a desperate attempt to pull the wool over people’s eyes. Instead of providing the £4bn of extra funding promised, the Conservatives are recycling cash from the education budget. Schools still face cuts once inflation and increasing class sizes are taken into account.” Cllr Vic Ient said: “Whilst the the Tory Education Minister shuffles funds around to make us think the Tories are providing ‘new’ money, they are standing back and allowing services like Rodmell School to close”.


The Conservatives have also dropped plans to introduce a so called ‘Dementia Tax’. The tax would have forced the sale of family homes to fund care for the sick and elderly. “We do need to spend more on adult social care”, says Cllr Sarah Osborne. “But the Conservative plan was entirely the wrong approach and I am very pleased they have backed down.”




ESCC Election Results!

Dear Residents,

It was a great result yesterday here in the Lewes constituency for the county council elections. Lib Dems won all 4 of their target seats including the Ouse Valley West and Downs County division where our candidate was Sarah Osborne. She will now be the county councillor for our area for the next 4 years. Click here to see details of Sarah’s County ward/division.  I remain your district councillor. Click here to see: About Vic Ient’s ward. Sarah’s result was:



Party Votes Percentage
Lib Dems 1722 52% Sarah Osborne elected
Tory 1253 38%
Lab 205 6%
Greens 144 4%
Total votes 3324 100%

Lib Dems won in these wards:

  • Ouse Valley West and Downs – Sarah Osborne
  • Ringmer and Lewes Bridge – Philip Daniel
  • Newhaven and Bishopstone – Darren Grover
  • Seaford South – Caroline Lambert

Conservatives won in these wards:

  • Chailey
  • Peacehaven
  • Seaford North
  • Telscombe

Independent won in this ward:

  • Lewes

Click here for all Lewes District results.   Lib Dems gained seats and Labour lost seats in East Sussex.

Click image to enlarge and go to BBC table of results

Click here to see BBC report of East Sussex

Nationally, for Lib Dems,  results were a mixed picture. The headline don’t show the many council seats where the Lib Dems increased their share of the vote coming a good second place. There were also some stunning results for the Lib Dems in places like St Albans. In Eatbourne the Lib Dems won all 6 county seats. Overall the Tories gained from the demise of UKIP and the collapse of the Labour vote. Lib Dems increase their share of the vote by 7% to 18%. With proportional representation the actual council seats would be very different from those declared on Friday 5th May 2017!


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
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:

Where is ESCC Rural Cycling & Walking Investment?

Cycle Walk ImageFor a number of years I’ve been campaigning for more safety measures and improvements for cyclist and walkers. Since I became a district councillor I have continued to speak up for alternatives to simply getting in the car and driving everywhere. The car is essential but since the creation of county councils their focus has been on providing roads. The last coalition government with Lib Dem ministers in office re-balanced the focus to include provision for cyclists & walkers. Sadly now we are almost back to square one with the current Conservative government. Luckily, the Conservatives didn’t get rid of all of the Lib Dem policies. The funding grants made available by the Lib Dems in government were removed but were replaced with a ‘cycling and walking strategy.’

Albeit with much reduced funds, the government, last year, called for bids from county councils for both capital and revenue projects covering cycling and walking. Unlike West Sussex, East Sussex County Council simply did not bid for the capital funding. However they did bid for revenue funding. However, having won the money they decided to focus all of the investment in the coastal urban areas leaving out the towns and villages in our countryside.  It’s great that the County Council has been successful in winning funding for cycling and walking but I’m very disappointed to see that these funds will only be able to be spent in the Newhaven, Eastbourne, South Wealden, Bexhill and Hastings areas. Of course, I’m pleased for those areas”.

Earlier last year I met with officers of East Sussex County Council and pleaded with them to include schemes to improve safety for walkers and cyclists using and crossing the dangerous C7 road which connects Lewes to Newhaven.  Sadly they ignored my pleas leaving my rural area without funding as well as Lewes and much of the rest of the county.

I aim to continue the campaign and hope that the political composition of the county council changes in May this year so we can make some real progress right across the county. In the meantime if you agree with me and want to see funding shared between urban and rural areas for cycling and walking please write to:

Cllr Carl Maynard, county council lead member for transport and environment, and let him know that you want fairer treatment for the rural areas to improve safety for both walkers and cyclists. email: cllr.carl.maynard@eastsussex.gov.uk  You can read his press release here about the allocation to the urban coastal towns:  http://news.eastsussex.gov.uk/2017/01/26/funding-boost-for-walking-and-cycling-schemes/

Here is a copy of a recent press article about this issue. Also below is an article published last year in the Sussex Express about the same issue

Click to enlarge:


Sussex express article Feb 2017

Here is a link to an article in the Sussex Express from last year on cycling & walking: http://www.sussexexpress.co.uk/news/lewes-councillor-calls-for-urgent-cyclepath-funding-1-7493718


Future of Local Councils?

Dear Residents,

The Future of Local Councils – ‘Combined Authorities’ – So called ‘Devolution’

I attended the LGA conference on this subject this month (17th Oct, 2016). I think I was the only representative from Lewes District Council. We had a fairly detailed presentation about Cornwall and Greater Sheffield. In addition, there were a number of other speakers. I was particularly interested in the talks by:

  • Prof Jane Wills of Queen Mary University of London
  • Neil Cleeverley of NAVCA (National Association for Voluntary and Community Action)
  • Judith Edwards, CEO of the Citizens Advice Bureau

Judith Edwards said the CAB has amassed a lot of statistical information about the UK. She presented some of the sats in her presentation. I also was interested to talk to the representative from NALC. They are developing a toolkit for local councils to help them deal with these new combined authorities.

Click here for the full list of speakers and attendees: LGA – Seminar Oct 2016

It’s interesting they weren’t just talking about the main subject of this conference but lots of other things to do with the state, the citizen, neighbourhoods, participation, scrutiny, data about communities to name just a few. I also attended the workshops where there was much more participation with other council officials and councillors from around the country. I attended the Democratic Engagement and Scrutiny workshops. Here is the link to copies of the slides used in the main presentations: Click here  Also you may be interested in the main LGA devolution website: Click Here

It seems to me that the so-called government ‘devolution’ via ‘combined authorities’ is a juggernaut moving inexorably on without any consultation with local residents. I wanted to find out more, so I attended and indeed what I did find out was very concerning. We had a detailed presentation about ‘Greater Sheffield’ which has been working at their set up for over four years. I met a councillor from Gloucester County Council who said they had been working at it for 18 months and seem to be getting nowhere. The only new combined authority that seemed to be operating currently is Cornwall.

Words like: confusing, time-consuming, potentially undemocratic and without significant benefits for the local community come to mind when thinking about this government’s approach to this so-called ‘devolution.’

If you would like any further information about this conference please let me know.


  1. The joint arrangements between Lewes and Eastbourne councils should not be confused with the government’s proposals for ‘combined authorities’ and ‘devolution’. Both councils maintain their sovereignty. The objective of the exercise with Eastbourne is, amongst other things, to share staff and resources this reducing overheads for both councils.  Click here for details (as of May 2016)
  2. For completeness, I summarise below, the current local situation:

Three Southern Counties (3SC): There are a number of ‘partners’ in the Three Southern Counties (3SC), (East Sussex, Surrey and West Sussex) devolution group. The aim is take ‘greater control’ over their road and rail network, provide confidence in housing delivery, pioneer new digital technology and launch University Enterprise Zones to support high-tech businesses. The ‘devolution’ prospectus, was submitted to the UK Government in Sept 2015. There appears to be 44 ‘partner’ organisations. These include 23 district and borough councils, three local enterprise partnerships, 12 clinical commissioning groups and two police forces, as well as the South Downs National Park and East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service. A formal ‘concordat’ with neighbouring Brighton and Hove Council is also being/has been drawn up. Click here for more details. The main 3SC website is:


Greater Brighton City Region: A ‘City Deal’ for the Greater Brighton City Region was agreed with government in 2014. For more information click below:

The joint council web page

The Government’s document




Report back September 2016

Dear Residents,

Here is my report back for Sept 2016. I hope you find this newsletter and my website useful. (Click here for previous reports). There are quite a few subjects covered  so here is the index (just click on a title to go straight to the item)

New Chief Exec at the Council    —    Rail dispute    —    Planning     —      Planning complaints

Local Plans   —      EU    —     Funding for Footpaths & Cycleways    —       C7 Road

Rodmell school   —   Bus services   —     Falmer bus   —    Parliamentary Boundary changes

Kingston school  —   A27  —       Broadband   —    Liberal Democrat Conference

Climate change   —   Linked to my reports   —    Questions?

Continue reading Report back September 2016

Finding Funds for a Community Project

With government cuts,  funding for local projects seems more unlikely but all is not lost. There is still a chance that your village or organisation could find help with funding.   Here are five possible ways to get funds that could help your community, rural business or parish council. Below I provide information and links on – LEADER grants (EU Fund for Rural Development),  grants from the Community Safety Partnership,  Sustainable Communities Fund from the South Downs National Park, Matched Funding, Funding from our LEP and some useful links:

EU RuralLEADER grants (EU Fund for Rural Development)

In January this year I  wrote about funding for rural communities available from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. It goes under the name  ‘LEADER.’   Grants are available to promote the rural economy. The awards have just been made for Sussex, click here to see the article. These grants include:

  • Renovation and conversion of a disused farm building into bunkhouse style accommodation for cyclists and walkers using the South Downs Way;
  • Forestry equipment to help meet the increasing demand for woodchip for biomass boilers;
  • A new website and e-commerce system to improve the customer experience and increase online sales;
  • Expansion of a micro-brewery to enable increased production of their specialist craft beers.

In the recent period grants worth almost £153,000 have been awarded! If your village, community, business or organisation want to apply visit the website at www.businesswestsussex.co.uk/leadergrants

The Central Sussex and Sussex Downs & Coastal Plain Local Action Groups (LAGs) have a total of £2.5 million to support projects in rural West Sussex and Lewes District.

ESSafeGrants from the Community Safety Partnership

Earlier in March this year I wrote about the Community Safety Partnership.  It is possible to apply for a grant from this scheme to help fund a local ‘safety’ project in your community or area. Projects could include road safety, buying a defibrillator or crime prevention. I believe funds are still available for this year so it you want to help your community click here  or contact me click here

SDNPSustainable Communities Fund

Grants are available from the South Downs National Park under this heading.  Any group or other ‘not for profit ‘ organisations which include social enterprise, community interest companies or voluntary organisations can apply for funding if they believe their project is bringing social, environmental, economic or cultural benefits to a community within the National Park. Grants are available up to £10,000. Click here for more information

Matched Funding

With the reduction of Government funding for highways and associated footpaths more responsibility falls on parish councils. ESCC operates a ‘matched funding’ scheme. This scheme helps parishes part pay for improvements with the balance coming from the County Council.

coasttocapital-logoFunding provided by Coast to Capital LEP

County Councils are not the main organisation for funding of road and transport infrastructure any more. The Government are now channelling new infrastructure investment through Local Enterprise Partnerships – the one for our area is Coast to Capital LEP. They say good transport networks are vitally important for a high performing economy. They also say that they want to help people to get to work, to the shops and to school and that they are committed to improving public transport, walking and cycling.  I believe local communities should contact our LEP to try and get them to fund schemes in our local area. For more information click here


Useful links for funding (click on the headings for links)

The Institute of Fundraising is the professional membership body for UK fundraising. Their mission is to support fundraisers.

Lottery Funding 

Action in Rural Sussex – contact them for help and advice

Heritage Funding Directory

Countryside Rights of Way and Public Access

ESCC CountrysideGive East Sussex County Council your views on future plans for public rights of way and public access countryside sites.  In East Sussex there are  2,000 miles of public rights of way (PRoW), made up of footpaths, bridleways, byways and restricted byways. The ESCC are also involved in managing ten open access countryside sites across East Sussex.

ESCC  have produced a ‘strategy’ document which, when approved, will guide their investment and policy plans over the next three years. Click the image  to the left to go to the ESCC consultation page. For anyone that is interested in the countryside I recommend reading this document. If you want to submit your comments you can do so from now and until 29th of July 2016. 


You can also phone or email ESCC on this consultation:  0345 60 80 193

I believe it is important to comment now in order to show the County Council what are are our priorities for maintaining public rights of way (PRoW) over the Downs and in the countryside as well as for open access countryside. The report also covers ten special areas of access including places like the Seven Sisters County Park and Riverside Park (in the lower Ouse valley between Piddinghoe & Newhaven). For a map of PRoW click HERE

If we don’t comment and budgets get cut then there won’t be money there in future years to carry on this important work. To see the full strategy document click: countryside-access-strategy



Report Back Cllr Vic Ient – Winter 2015

VicBike-SmallDear Residents,

My last newsletter was at the end of Aug 2015– three months ago. Much has been happening during that time in local government and in my own ward, – Falmer, Kingston and the villages of the Lower Ouse Valley. I continue to work closely with our County Councillor, Carla Butler, who has a ‘Report-Back’ section in this newsletter. I’m also trying to keep in touch with all the parish councils in my area.

I hope you have time to look around my web site – the ‘Links’ page has links to our local MP and Neighbourhood Policing details. The right had side of every page has links to bus times information & link to reporting pot holes etc.

Whilst writing Carla & I would like to wish you a very happy Christmas and best wishes for the New Year!




We have lots of issues to report on – this issue covers:

Waste, Cockshut Lane, Newhaven, Housing, Council Tax, ‘Greater Brighton’, Planning Appeals & Issues, National Park, Major Developments in Newhaven – effect on C7? Local Transport Plan – consultation, C7 update, Roads in the South Downs, Buses, Power to the Parishes.

And also Carla Butler’s report (click here) covers:

ESCC Consultations(Adult Social Care) [until 18 December], Newhaven Fire Station – East Sussex Fire Authority, Apprenticeships, Riverside Park, Saving Our Bees, County Council Assets, Get Inspired! Events, Connexions 360 – Careers & Training,

Firstly, here are some updates on some overall government/local Council matters:

Click below to read the newsletter in full: 

Continue reading Report Back Cllr Vic Ient – Winter 2015

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