Seaford Liberal Democrats were saddened to hear of the sudden death of former County, District and Town councillor Jon Freeman.
Jon Freeman made a huge contribution to the life of Seaford and to the local Lib Dems. He was a fantastic campaigner, helped a great many local people in his role as a councillor, and did more than anyone else to turn Seaford into a Lib Dem town. He was quirky, funny, and a real one-off. Jon guided many of the local Liberal Democrat Councillors past and present. His advice was invaluable. It is very sad that we have lost him. We offer our deepest sympathies to his family.
Liberal Democrat County Councillors for Seaford and Bishopstone are demanding to know where the traffic lights promised by Maria Caulfield MP have got to. Cllr James MacCleary, County Councillor for Newhaven and Bishopstone explains: “Following two serious accidents which closed the A259, Maria Caulfield promised residents traffic lights which she believes will sort out the issues of these dangerous junctions at Bishopstone.
"During the election campaign, Maria said that she had met with the County Council who had agreed to look at installing traffic lights as a solution. Residents would be consulted but so far nothing has happened.
"We know that the County Council is undertaking studies of traffic on the A259 but it will take years before anything happens and meanwhile residents are having to deal with these dangerous junctions on a daily basis. It is unfair to raise expectations and make promises if these can’t be delivered.”
Councillor Carolyn Lambert, County Councillor for Seaford South adds: “We are very concerned about the length of time it will take to get any action at all to make the A259 junctions safer, let alone finding the money for the costly investment the County Council seems to be considering.
"Cllr MacCleary and I would like to see some cost-effective interim measures put in place now. These could include putting in a light controlled pedestrian crossing at the main Bishopstone junction which would also help traffic exiting from Bishopstone. We are also calling for a speed camera on the Buckle by-pass to slow traffic down, change driver behaviour and reduce the risk of accidents.”
Liberal Democrat councillors Carolyn Lambert and Stephen Gauntlett met with representatives of Barclays Bank to discuss the bank’s decision to close its Seaford branch.
Cllr Lambert says: “We made it clear to Barclays that Seaford is the biggest town in Lewes District. Barclays have told us that one in five residents in Seaford bank at Barclays and many of these are likely to be older customers who both need and value personal banking services. Many do not have access to online banking and are also very vulnerable to scams. There are other banks in Seaford who are continuing to offer personal face to face banking services so Barclays needed to consider the impact of their decision.”
Cllr Gauntlett adds: “I described the decision to close the Seaford branch of Barclays as “brutal”. I was pleased that Barclays accept that this should have been handled better and are now calling the customers who regularly use the branch to see how they can be helped to adjust to the change”.
Barclays told the councillors that they are now looking at bringing in a mobile banking van to offer some face to face advice services and that this could also be provided by them on a regular basis at Seaford library. Cllrs Gauntlett and Lambert are offering to work with the bank to assist with this provision which should help residents who will be affected by the closure.”
Liberal Democrat County Councillors say that the Conservative government is ignoring the plight of Seaford town centre which has been blighted by a scaffolding skyscraper for almost a decade.
Councillor Carolyn Lambert, County Councillor for Seaford South explains: “As residents of Seaford we are all fed up with this immoveable blight in our town centre. We have been let down by the Conservative government and by our MP. The fact that we have not even had an acknowledgement of our concerns is beyond discourteous and shows how little the government cares about places like Seaford.”
Cllr James MacCleary, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary spokesperson adds: “Lewes District Council has written to Robert Jenrick MP, the appropriate Minister to ask the government to consider changing planning legislation so that the council can take action to end this blight."
No response was received so Councillor Carolyn Lambert, as the local County Councillor wrote again. Neither Carolyn nor Lewes District Council has even received an acknowledgement. "We have asked Maria Caulfield, our MP, to intervene and help, but despite her repeated claims that the council has the powers to deal with this, she has not been able to tell us anything that we have not already tried. Her claims that other councils have dealt successfully with these kinds of issues are not supported by any evidence."
Liberal Democrat councillors are fighting to keep Barclays Bank services in Seaford.
Councillor Carolyn Lambert explains: “I have contacted Barclays Bank to point out that Seaford is not only the largest town in Lewes District but that it has a high population of older people not all of whom are connected to the internet or who are comfortable with online banking services. They value face to face contact with their bank. This group of residents are also particularly vulnerable to scams which makes it even more important that they can access bank services directly.
"I am also very concerned about this large scale building in the town centre being left empty.”
Councillor Stephen Gauntlett adds: “Local organisations such as the church use banking services provided by Barclays. It is not appropriate to ask volunteers to carry sums of cash. As we discovered during the vaccine rollout, many residents simply cannot afford to travel to Eastbourne or Brighton to access banking facilities.”
Both councillors welcomed Barclays response to their concerns and hope that a forthcoming meeting they are having with bank staff will prove productive.
Liberal Democrat Councillor Carolyn Lambert welcomed the reply to her question about trees in East Sussex.
Councillor Lambert explains: “I have consistently raised with the County Council the question of trees in Seaford. We are losing many of our lovely tree-lined roads and instead seeing unsightly stumps. East Sussex County Council has now applied for the maximum grant of £300,000 from the government’s fund for tree planting. If this is successful, the money will all be spent in Seaford.
"I am delighted by this response and very much hope that the bid will be successful”.
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.
Councillor 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”.