Seaford MP Fails To Give Answers To Planning Blight

Conservative MP Maria Caulfield has repeatedly failed to answer questions about the planning blight at Talland Parade Seaford which has now been in place ever since the Conservative administration approved the planning application in January 2012.

carolyn_lambert_insta.jpgCouncillor Carolyn Lambert explains: “Maria Caulfield and Cllr Sam Adeniji continue to claim that Lewes District Council could take action to remove the planning blight by forcing the developer to complete the project.

"However, they repeatedly fail to specify exactly what action they believe the Council could take. Nor can they give any examples of councils elsewhere with similar problems who have successfully solved them.

"If Maria Caulfield and Cllr Adeniji have relevant information, then they should pass this on to the District Council. Otherwise, they should stop misleading residents. In addition, Maria Caulfield needs to lobby her government for an answer to the letter sent by the District Council to the Secretary of State asking for enhanced powers.

"Given the proposed planning reforms, this situation can only get worse with more examples of planning blight appearing as developers rush to take advantage of the Tory licence to build and projects are left half-built”.

Local Lib Dems welcome breakthrough in Newhaven road safety campaign

Liberal Democrat councillors in Newhaven have taken a big step forward on one of the key local road safety priorities in a meeting with Highways England.

The junction of the A26 and Avis Road is a well known accident blackspot. The design of the junction has poor sight lines for pulling on to a fast road and has seen a series of accidents in recent months.

At a recent meeting with councillors, Highways England confirmed they are now carrying out a study on potential safety improvements at the junction and their initial assessment has shown that there is justification for an upgrade.

james_maccleary02_cropped_1000.jpgJames MacCleary, local Liberal Democrat County Councillor for Newhaven, South Heighton and Bishopstone, says: "This is the sort of progress we need to see on these sorts of dangerous junctions. The problem is not just cars, we also have a lot of HGVs using the road to get to the port and industrial estates on Avis Way. I'm pleased that we are now getting progress on this and that Highways England are engaging so positively. Hopefully we'll have specifics on what measures they think will be most effective in the coming months."

Sean MacLeod, Liberal Democrat District Councillor for South Heighton, says: "We've been plugging away at this for a while now. Not only have Highways England confirmed that they think there's justification for safety improvements, they have also committed to cutting back overgrowth on footpaths there which has been causing accessibility issues for residents. It's great to have some positive news to report on a junction that has generated so many negative headlines."

Julie Carr, Liberal Democrat District Councillor for Newhaven North, adds: "We were also able to confirm with Highways England that they have arranged with the District Council for a litter pick to take place when they close off parts of the road to clear the overgrown foliage later in the year. People sometimes ask what difference Liberal Democrats make and here is an example. While others make empty promises, we actually get things done for our community."

Churchill Homes Proposal Unsuitable For Seaford

Liberal Democrat councillors in Seaford are dismayed at Churchill Homes proposal for another 35 homes for older people in the town:

Councillor Christine Brett says: “The site that Churchill Homes are proposing to use was not identified in the Seaford Neighbourhood Plan for housing nor was it sent in to Lewes District Council as part of the call for sites to help prepare the next Local Plan. This is an opportunistic and cynical move on the part of a developer.

"Seaford has seen no benefit from the Hortsley or McCarthy Stone developments which have provided nothing towards the infrastructure of the town but on the contrary have put increased pressure on our hard-pressed medical services”.

Cllr Stephen Gauntlett adds: “The town is over-provided for in terms of accommodation for older people with places in the newest Hortsley development remaining unsold. We need affordable accommodation for families and young people who are struggling to find somewhere to rent in the town, let alone somewhere to buy”.

CL_Building_spree_600.jpgCllr Carolyn Lambert says: “This is a further example of the way in which Conservative government planning legislation is allowing our towns to be over-run with developments that are not needed, leaving local authorities with no power to demand improvements in the infrastructure. Our schools are full and our medical services, water and sewerage are at capacity. There is plenty of accommodation in Seaford for older people without losing more green space.

"I have already brought a Notice of Motion to the County Council about the congestion on the A259 and the dangerous junctions. This development will only add to the problem”.

Lib Dems Welcome Bus Partnership For East Sussex

brighton_bus_cropped.jpgEast Sussex Lib Dem Councillors have welcomed plans to develop an improved partnership with bus companies.

Councillor Stephen Holt says: “We all want improvements to our bus services and this partnership will be a significant step to making this happen. It will mean improved connections between bus services and will support greener travel.

"However the Government’s ambitious plans need to be backed with proper financial support to make this a reality. We also need to ensure equity across the region to make sure that there is full connectivity across our towns, along the coast and in our rural areas. Creating new greener routes will not only help the travelling public but will also deliver our goal of carbon neutrality.

The proposals also make clear the importance of partnership working and in particular, the work and information provided by the Eastbourne Eco Action Transport Group.”

Cllr Colin Swansborough adds: “My concern is that the walking and cycling strategy has been kicking around for 20 years. What we want is a commitment from the Conservative Lead Member that this is going to happen quickly – so that we can get a functioning bus partnership plan together quickly.”

Petition Leads To Pledge For Road Safety Measures On Ditchling Road

rob_banks_ditchling_road_plumpton_600.jpgLocal Councillors have welcomed a pledge to tackle road safety - but have warned more needs to be done to tackle a notorious accident hotspot on the Ditchling Road near Plumpton.

This follows a petition collected and handed in by Cllr Rob Banks (Lib Dem District Councillor for Plumpton and East Chiltington) and Cllr Sarah Osborne (Lib Dem County Councillor for Plumpton) after a coach crashed into a field, injuring 12 students from Plumpton College.

While some remedial work was carried out following last year’s crash, Cllrs Banks and Osborne are urging the County Council to do more.

Speaking to a Transport and Environment meeting of County Councillors, Cllr Banks said: "The B2116/Ditchling Road has a history of accidents, but this particular hotspot has several incidents to its name with a number of vehicles coming off the road over the years.

"For example just a month or so following the coach crash, a recovery vehicle came off the road at the same point. When they hear of another accident, local residents will raise their eyebrows and say 'did it come off at the usual place?'

"Luckily no lives were lost in the coach crash but we need to make sure lives are not put at risk in the future. The measures taken last year to highlight the edge of the road and to address the undulation in the road will help but needs to go much further.

"The road has a steep drop into the field where vehicles routinely come off - so a bank needs building up.

“A speed limit reduction for that stretch of the road could help. And the width of the road at that point is narrow, making it difficult for large vehicles to safely pass each other.

Speaking after the meeting, he added: "It is proof that the infrastructure in our rural area is utterly unsuitable for large scale proposals such as the potential Eton College site - the transport system just wouldn't be able to cope".

sarah_osborne_02_600_cropped.jpgCllr Osborne added: “I welcome the steps taken to ensure better safety at the junction with the A275, and while it is good to see there could be safety improvements along the Ditchling Road as a result of this petition, I look forward to hearing the detail. This must include building up the bank at the spot where so many vehicles have come off ”.

Ban On HGVs No Good Without Enforcement Powers

sarah_osborne_02_600_cropped.jpgCouncillor Sarah Osborne, Liberal Democrat County Councillor for Ouse Valley West and Downs welcomes powers to enforce weight limits on HGVs but points out that these are meaningless without the necessary support from CCTV cameras or Enforcement Officers, both of which will cost councils money. Cllr Osborne explains:

“HGVs have been a cause of misery to village residents in Ditchling and elsewhere for many years. The narrow high street is frequently blocked by large unsuitable lorries and pedestrians report many near misses as these vehicles mount the pavements in an effort to navigate the narrow street.

I successfully lobbied the Secretary of State for powers to enforce weight limits on HGVs despite all the Conservative County Councillors voting against this. However, in the four years it has taken the government to act, the problem has got worse.

Passing enforcement powers onto councils will only work if they are given the funding to enable local authorities to use them. For offences to be detected, they would need to be witnessed by a Civil Enforcement Officer or CCTV cameras, both of which would require significant set up costs.”

Councillor Osborne also points out that further powers are needed to stop HGVs accessing unsuitable roads. She explains:

“Lorry satnavs are like normal car satnavs, but they include bridge heights, narrow roads, and roads unsuitable for trucks. In addition, they allow the driver to enter the lorry’s dimensions - height, width, weight and load – so they are only guided along suitable roads. I welcome extra enforcement powers for councils but I am concerned that those alone will not solve the difficulties our residents are facing. The government needs to do more to help.”

Petition East Sussex to stop using glyphosate

Olivier Colas (Photographe viticole :, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia CommonsWe have started a petition on East Sussex County Council's website calling on them to stop using glyphosate.

Sign it here.

The text of the petition is below:

In 2015 the World Health Organisation declared that glyphosate, the world's most commonly used herbicide, was a probable carcinogenic in humans. There is little debate that it is a carcinogenic in animals.

A number of countries around the world have now banned the use of glyphosate and numerous councils throughout the UK have now banned it also, with Lewes DC slowly fading out its use. Bayer has now had to pay out £11 Billion in lawsuits due to the effects glyphosate has had on individuals' health.

Glyphosate is a strong weed killer. You only have to see where it's sprayed to see the effects it is having on our environment.  On 07/06/2021 ESCC were witnessed spraying near a wildlife pond. When challenged on social media, ESCC confirmed glyphosate was being used, which is frightening given the effects it has on animals’ health.

We know there are links to cancer from the use of glyphosate. This is disputed but as above it has so far cost Bayer £11Billion. The WHO has said there are probable links and we need to protect our children from its potential effects, so these products should not be used in parks and public spaces including our footpaths.

This petition does not focus yet on our farming industry; we appreciate that there is a lack of alternatives and the farming industry would be affected greatly if they were banned from using it. We would welcome local farmers moving away from glyphosate based weed killers to alternatives but we appreciate the farming industry is currently badly affected by Brexit and covid19. We do believe at some point that there will be a move away but that has to be when the time is right and allows protection for the industry.

We Call on ESCC 

  • To ban the use of glyphosate across the county and follow other councils in using alternatives. 

If not willing to do the above then we ask for the below.

  • To ban its use near any water course and parks with immediate effect.
  • To phase out the use of glyphosate on pavements and in public areas.
  • To make Newhaven the first glyphosate free town and ban its use here with immediate effect and use proven alternatives that are safer.

Lib Dem James MacCleary challenges Maria Caulfield to keep election promise to world’s poorest

James MacClearyJames MacCleary, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Lewes, has written to Maria Caulfield, Lewes's Conservative MP, urging her not to break her election commitment on international development spending by voting to abandon the UK’s 0.7% of GNI target in a potential vote today.

In the 2019 General Election, Conservative MPs including Maria Caulfield stood on a manifesto promise to “proudly maintain our commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of GNI on development”. 

The Government announced plans in 2020 to cut the development budget from 0.7% to 0.5% of GNI. 

On Monday 7 June, if selected by the Speaker, a vote will be held in the House of Commons on whether to reinstate the 0.7% target. Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Lewes, James MacCleary, has challenged Maria Caulfield to follow through on their election pledge to support the 0.7%, and vote to retain the target.

James MacCleary said:

"We need an MP who will keep their word. When Maria Caulfield stood for Parliament in 2019, she pledged to support the 0.7% target on aid spending. Now she has an opportunity to deliver on that promise.

“If Maria Caulfield fails to support the target, she will be breaking a promise to constituents and the world’s poorest. Every vote will matter - so Maria Caulfield's decision could have a huge impact on the millions of people around the world that need our help. It will also reinforce the growing view amongst local residents that Maria Caulfield cannot be trusted to keep her promises to voters.

"Other Conservative MPs including Theresa May and David Davis have joined call on the government to retain the 0.7% target. It is something this country can comfortably afford to do and cutting it will cost lives and devastate some of the poorest communities around the world. The government has made a promise and, for once, I hope they will actually keep it.

“The Liberal Democrats have supported international development spending for over sixty years and enshrined the 0.7% target into law in 2015. It is the right thing to do, both for the UK, and those who need our help. Today, Maria Caulfield must vote to reinstate the 0.7% target.” 

Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs and International Development Spokesperson Layla Moran MP said:

“The Conservative Government’s decision to cut development spending has done extraordinary damage to Britain’s reputation with our allies and partners from across the globe. Now is the time for leadership - but instead, the Conservatives want Britain to hide from its responsibilities during a global pandemic.

“Every Conservative MP stood on a manifesto commitment to the 0.7% target. If they vote to cut the development budget next week, they will be breaking a promise to their constituents and to the world’s poorest. 

“Liberal Democrats will vote to reinstate the 0.7% target, which we enshrined in law. International development spending protects the most vulnerable people around the world and gives them a better chance at life.

 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The letter sent to Maria Caulfield MP.

Dear Maria,

I am writing to you regarding your party’s plans to abandon the 0.7% of GNI target for international development spending.

This month the eyes of the world are on the UK, as we host the G7 summit in Cornwall. The last two times the UK has hosted the G7/G8 - in 2005 and in 2013 - we have used our platform on the world stage to advocate that the world’s largest economies should meet their obligations to the world’s poorest. Yet this year, the Conservatives are shirking from our legal and moral responsibilities, in the middle of a global pandemic. This does huge damage to Britain’s reputation.

In 2019, you stood on a manifesto promise to “proudly maintain our commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of GNI on development”. But, despite the commitment you made to the people of Lewes constituency your party has tried to force through a cut to our development spending and abandoned the 0.7% target.

However, now there is an opportunity for you to demonstrate that you will stand by the commitment you made in 2019. Today, a vote will likely be held in Parliament on whether to reinstate the 0.7% target. If selected, it is of utmost importance that this vote succeeds. How you vote will make a huge difference. You could be the person that ensures that the UK does meet its commitments to protect millions of the most vulnerable people around the world - from war zones like Yemen to supporting girls’ education.

If you vote to cut our development spending, you will be breaking a promise to your constituents and to the world’s poorest. Will you commit to vote to retain the 0.7% target today?

Liberal Democrats have been making the case for UK development spending for almost sixty years. It’s not just the morally right thing to do, it’s the sensible step to take. As the pandemic has taught us, we are not safe until we are all safe. That’s why we enshrined the 0.7% target in law in 2015. And that’s why all Liberal Democrat MPs will stand by their manifesto promises to their constituents, and vote to reinstate the target on 7th June.

I urge you to do likewise - to vote to reinstate the 0.7% target, fulfilling your promise to the people of Lewes constituency and helping millions of people around the world.

Yours sincerely,

James MacCleary

Liberal Democrat parliamentary spokesperson for Lewes constituency

Christine Brett is new LDC Chair

christine_brett_chair_200.jpgLewes District Councillors have elected Liberal Democrat Christine Brett as their new Chair.

Her Chair’s theme for the year is about improving food security for all and she will be supporting all groups and charities who aim to do this and make our District a place where healthy food for all is more accessible.

Christine was born and brought up in East Sussex where her Brett family roots can be traced back to 1530 working in the farming community. She lived in many county wide police houses including 3 in Lewes in her formative years before college and embarking on a career in teaching.

A lifelong learner who worked in the private and public sector, she taught initially in Sociology then retrained to deliver Food Technology. In a career of over 30 years she taught in many challenging city schools, latterly leading a Design and Technology faculty .

She has long been involved in community activity and support having been a Samaritan, member of a collective which established an East London Women’s centre, a Dorset Rape Crisis support group and a Food bank volunteer.

Returning to East Sussex in 2013 she settled in Seaford and became involved in community politics, joining the Lib Dems in 2017 to support a friend she had made in a local election campaign.

christine_brett_200.jpgShe cares deeply about the environment and set up the Refill Scheme for Seaford and Newhaven in 2018 to raise awareness about single use plastics. The highlight of this has been the establishment of 5 new public waterpoints in the town. She continues to engage with local environmentally based groups with a particular interest in avoiding food waste.

She relaxes by putting her nose in a book primarily historical fiction and has made many local links though her membership of The National Women’s Register where she developed a book worms group. Eating out, developing a salt wind resistant garden and fibre arts are also delights.

She has also researched her family history and spent long hours poring over Parish records at Pelham house in her youth. The development of the Ancestry website has advanced her knowledge and on getting her DNA tested she discovered she has over 30% East European Jewish genes. (presumably from her Lancastrian mother’ s side of the family). Lithuania is the source and one day she plans to visit the area.

Travel to the dark skies and wildlife of Southern Africa is another keen interest and at home she enjoys walking locally and the South Downs.

They're going to sell your data

You need to take action now.

A new register of NHS patient data has been created, the "General Practice Data for Planning and Research".

Patient data from doctors' surgeries in England will be shared from 1 July 2021 unless patients opt out by 23 June 2021.

The overt reason for this is, among other things, to "enable many different areas of research". That is laudable, and most patients will not argue with their data being used in this way. But there is no doubt that the government also plans to sell the data if it can. In 2019 the government had a meeting with Amazon, Microsoft, AstraZeneca and others in which they discussed how to package our data.

We in the LibDems have no problem with our data being used for medical research. But the fundamental principle with all data is that it should be under the control of the subject.

You are the patient. Your data should belong to you. You should be the person who gets to decide how your data is used. 

If you do not opt out by 23rd June you will lose control of your data. After that time, you will only be able to prevent the government adding new data to its database; you will not be able to liberate previous data.

medConfidential has produced a guide to opting out of the new data grab. We advise everyone reading this to go to their guide and use it to opt out. That is the only way to keep your data safe. medConfidential also has a full guide to the issue for patients, available here.

More details about this issue are available in this article by The Register.

Sign in with Facebook, Twitter or Email.