Eastbourne's local elections

  • 21 April 2011
  • From the section England
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With the local elections just around the corner on 5 May I travelled to Eastbourne and spent the day talking to business leaders and residents to see what they're looking for from their local politicians.

While many seaside resorts have struggled in recent years, hoteliers in Eastbourne say the town has worked hard to attract new visitors.

Marco Giorgi owns the Afton Hotel near the famous Edwardian seafront. He believes the key priority for the local council must be to improve the transport system, particularly reducing train times to and from London.

There's also cross-party support for regenerating the town centre which business leaders say is long overdue.

Bill Plumridge, who manages the town's Arndale Shopping Centre, says there's been been lots of talk about re-development but believes it's time for action, which he says is crucial for the future of Eastbourne.

How will the Lib Dems fare in Eastbourne's local elections?

Whichever party leads the council after the local elections in May, local businesses say the council must listen to residents and be proactive.

Jim McRobert owns the The Lamb Inn, which dates back to the 12th Century.

It's the oldest pub in Eastbourne - and is believed to be the oldest hostelry in the UK. He's decided to diversify his business and has a small theatre upstairs which holds plays, stand-up comedy as well as folk nights.

Mr McRobert, who owns two other country pubs in East Sussex, says what he's looking for from the local council is a 'can-do' culture.

He says it's important to engage with the young people in the town and again he raised the issue of better transport links.

Eastbourne and Lewes are the only two councils in the South East run by the Liberal Democrats. Many residents I spoke to believed decisions taken by the Government, particularly on tuition fees, will affect support for the Liberal Democrats locally.

With a large majority in Eastbourne the Liberal Democrats are very unlikely to lose control of Eastbourne council but they will be hoping they are not punished at the local elections for decisions taken nationally by the Coalition.