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Lewes council elects Conservative leader

Huw Oxburgh

Local Democracy Reporter

The Conservatives have taken control of Lewes District Council's cabinet after the Liberal Democrats abstained from electing a co-operative alliance leader.

After the local elections, the council had 19 Conservatives, nine Green councillors, eight Liberal Democrats, three Labour and two Independent members, but no political party had overall control.

Green Party group leader councillor Zoe Nicholson had called on other opposition parties to form a co-operative alliance and back her leadership bid in an effort to block the Conservatives.

But while her plan was backed by the Labour and Independent groups on Monday, Liberal Democrats abstained from voting, leading to the election of Conservative Isabelle Linington as council leader.

Today's local news website headlines

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Kent Online: Self-harm at record level in Rochester Prison

The Argus: Lion and Lobster pub in Brighton to host beach themed street party

Get Surrey:Cystic fibrosis University of Surrey student studying to find a cure for her condition

Hastings Observer: Historic buses roll into Hastings

Mid Sussex Times:Warning over toxic caterpillars across Sussex which can cause a painful rash

Chichester Observer:Chichester community spaces given a £19,000 funding boost

Worthing Herald:Shoreham Airshow Memorial: Pictures show the story so far as the 11 arches are erected

West Sussex County Times:Thieves steal village brownie pack’s scarecrow

Brighton & Hove Independent:Fundraisers abseil for Blind Veterans UK

Eastbourne Herald: Road closed for more than five hours after serious accident on A27 Pevensey Bypass

Brighton and Hove News:Planning inspector overrules council on seven shared houses in Brighton

Lewes Greens propose alliance

Huw Oxburgh

Local Democracy Reporter

Lewes District Council’s Green Party group is to call for a co-operative alliance when the authority meets to elect a new leader this evening.

In a statement released on Sunday, Green Party group leader Zoe Nicholson said she would be calling on Liberal Democrat, Labour and Independent councillors to support her bid to become leader of the council.

None of the council’s other political groups have confirmed their support for an alliance however, with Liberal Democrats saying more work would be needed for it to support such a move.

In her statement Ms Nicholson said: “Over and over again people told me that they are longing for a new way of doing politics, and are inspired by those that work hard for their local communities.

“I have met and talked with all the leaders of all the opposition groups and independents. I have listened to what matters to them and we have developed a proposed alliance agreement that is fair, balanced and critically where leadership is shared and rotated with us and other parties.

The Liberal Democrat group confirmed it has been involved in discussions with the Green Party about an alliance, but said no agreement had been reached.

Lib Dem group leader James MacCleary said: “The clearest test tonight of the appetite for cross-party working will be the election of the Chair of the Council who has the casting vote, which is likely to be crucial with the margins being so small.

The Labour group has been approached for comment but has yet to reply.

If combined, the three groups would have 20 of the 41 votes cast in the leadership election – one more than the Conservative party’s 19.

The alliance would also require the authority’s independent councillors – Ruth O’Keeffe and Steve Saunders – to either support the alliance or both abstain from voting.

Silt plan given go-ahead

Huw Oxburgh

Local Democracy Reporter

Planning permission to dispose of silt from a lake on the Kent-Sussex border has been renewed by county council planners.

On 15 May East Sussex County Council’s planning committee considered an application to create an on-site silt disposal area at the Bayham Lake Estate near Lamberhurst.

Bayham Lake, Lamberhurst

The application had been a resubmission of an earlier scheme, which had been approved in 2016 but was delayed as developers sought planning permission for a spillway elsewhere on the estate.

Frant Parish Council had objected, saying the location would be inappropriate for the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and be out of character with surrounding area.

However, officers told the committee the dredging of silt from the lake would be necessary to maintain its character while ecological surveys had raised "no significant issues".

Today's local news website headlines

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Kent Online: HGV trainer still going strong aged 82

The Argus: Daredevil risks his life as he scales high-rise crane for 'selfie'

Get Surrey: Record numbers of people being admitted to Surrey hospitals due to being obese

Hastings Observer: Hastings man guilty of dangerous driving

Mid Sussex Times: Gatwick Gary: Man abandoned as a baby at airport finally traces birth parents

Chichester Observer: Sussex father's shock after catching a 2ft-long rat in his back garden

Worthing Herald: Southwick allotment holder in land dispute with ‘totally irresponsible’ council

West Sussex County Times: Warning over toxic caterpillars in Horsham area

Brighton & Hove Independent: New Labour leader elected in Brighton and Hove

Eastbourne Herald: Serious decline in performance’ at Lewes Prison despite special measures

Brighton and Hove News: CCTV released in bid to catch motorbike thieves

Dragonfly project in Dorset extended

Melanie James

BBC Radio Solent

Dragonfly Logo
You First

A Dorset project to help victims of domestic abuse is to be extended.

The Dragonfly project uses the symbol of a dragonfly to show people in an abusive situation where they can find confidential support and advice.

The project trains people to become champions within communities. They're able to receive and respond to disclosures of domestic violence and abuse.

Funding has now been secured to continue the Dragonfly project in Dorset and to extend it to Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and West Sussex.

Today's local news website headlines

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KentOnline: Thieves steal hundreds of pounds from Wildwood Discovery Park near Canterbury

The Argus: The Old Market and Brighton Women's Centre team up

GetSurrey: Staines school to scan pupils for knives following rise in knife crime

Hastings Observer: Wet and windy start to day in Hastings and Rother

Mid Sussex Times:Burgess Hill town centre redevelopment: Residents invited to open day

Chichester Observer: Goodwood pilots to fly silver spitfire around the world

Worthing Herald: Adur Repair Cafe set for launch in Shoreham

West Sussex County Times: Broadbridge Heath bypass closes as downgrade begins

Brighton & Hove Independent: Trainlines between Worthing and Littlehampton blocked after person hit by a train - Chichester lines also affected

Eastbourne Herald: New drug cabinet provided to DGH by Eastbourne charity

Brighton and Hove News: Vine Street restaurant given alcohol licence despite neighbour concerns

Conservatives hold Wealden

The Conservatives have maintained a comfortable majority in Wealden.

The Tories lost six seats - four to Liberal Democrats and two to Greens - but held control of the council, winning 34 out of a possible 45 seats.

Sussex Weald Ironworking

Ian Marchant discovers that Sussex was once the epicentre of the international arms trade.
Ian Marchant visits the Sussex Weald, once the epicentre of the international arms trade, owing to its ironstone reserves and subsequent iron-making expertise.  It's a personal story too: 'Marchant' is one of the Sussex names associated with metal-working migrants from Belgium in the late 15th century.  

Hammer and furnace ponds and former forges are now dotted about the landscape, rich habitat for wildlife, according to naturalist Richard Jones.  A walk on the Weald is a treasure hunt for history-of-iron enthusiasts (of whom there are an unusual number in Sussex).  They frequently come across previously undiscovered remains, some dating back to medieval times.  

Ian takes a walk at Newbridge with Jeremy Hodgkinson and Roger Prus, who can interpret the bumps in the woodland that most people would pass without noticing.  They might be old furnace sites or even remains of buildings used by iron workers.  

He meets Emma O'Connor to explore the Anne of Cleves House collection of iron artefacts in Lewes.  These range from items with military uses to all kinds of domestic and industrial products, most of which are beautifully preserved and attest to our ancestors' habits of recycling, repairing and preserving the things they owned. 

Ian visits Glynde Forge, where blacksmith Ricky Delaney demonstrates the living craft of working with metal in Sussex.   Will Ian discover that forging metal is in his blood?  

Producer...Mary Ward-Lowery

When are your local council results due back?

Lizzie Massey

BBC Live reporter

Election count in Tandridge

Overnight we have seen the Tories lose overall control in Tandridge, Surrey.

In Kent, the Conservatives have lost control of Folkestone and Hythe but the party has held Medway and Dartford.

These are the estimated results times for each county in the South East:


  1. Maidstone 12:45
  2. Dover District 13:00
  3. Ashford 14:00
  4. Thanet 14:00
  5. Sevenoaks 15:30
  6. Swale 15:30
  7. Tonbridge & Malling 16:00 -18:00
  8. Canterbury City 17:00
  9. Tunbridge Wells 17:00
  10. Gravesham Borough 18:00

East Sussex:

  1. Eastbourne 16:00
  2. Rother 16:00
  3. Brighton & Hove 17:00
  4. Lewes 17:00
  5. Wealden 17:00

West Sussex

  1. Worthing 11:00
  2. Chichester 12:00
  3. Crawley 16:00
  4. Horsham 16:00
  5. Arun 16:00
  6. Mid Sussex 19:00


  1. Mole Valley 15:00
  2. Woking 15:00
  3. Spelthorne 15:00
  4. Reigate and Banstead 16:30
  5. Waverley 18:00
  6. Runnymede 18:00
  7. Elmbridge - Unsure

Remarkable footage shows World War Two soldiers sending messages home
Attempts are made to trace families of Sussex veterans who filmed messages in Asia.

'Traitor' graffiti painted on homes of political party supporters

Police are investigating after the words "traitor" and "hypocrite" were daubed on walls outside homes displaying political posters.

Three homes in Lewes, East Sussex, were targeted overnight on Friday. Each property had a political poster displayed - one Lib Dem, one Labour and one Green.

The three local parties released a joint statement condemning the "attack" on democracy.

Sussex Police said it was investigating two reports of vandalism in Prince Edward's Road and one in Park Road.

Graffiti on a Labour supporter's wall

Today's local news website headlines

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Hastings Observer: Sussex town is the smallest in England to still have a Mayor and Corporation

Kent Online: Former Tally Ho pub in Canterbury must be converted back from house to bar

Chichester Observer: Hundreds gather for open air baptisms on Easter Sunday in Chichester

Eastbourne Herald: Police and council respond to petition to dig up garden in search of body of missing Polegate teen

Worthing Herald: Dogs Trust Shoreham dog of the week Benny acts like a giant puppy

Mid Sussex Times: ‘Wonderful news’ as Mid Sussex charity awarded £5,000

Brighton and Hove News: Police ask public to help find Brighton man missing since before Easter

Brighton and Hove Independent: Fraud investigation as Brighton women lose thousands after being promised jobs abroad

The Argus: City clean boss hits back as union holds ballot on strike action

Get Surrey: Slow M25 and M3 traffic due to crash and emergency repairs - live updates

Crawley Observer: Gatwick based trust offers bursaries for children with paralysis

Today's local news website headlines

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Hastings Observer: Morris dance set to celebrate St George’s Day.

Kent Online: Migrant's death under coach 'misadventure'

Chichester Observer:Train disruption between Gatwick and Three Bridges

Eastbourne Herald: Two cars on fire in early hours

Worthing Herald: Police warn of 'disturbing hugging scam'

Mid Sussex Times: Stephen Lawrence Day - Police officers take time to reflect

Brighton & Hove News: Councillor speaks of 'highs and lows' in office

Brighton & Hove Independent: Meet the Sussex Police cyber crime head

The Argus: Man dangles boy over cliff edge

Surrey News: Dentist to face misconduct hearing

Crawley Observer: Our shared interest in protecting the planet

Mother of 14-year-old who killed herself at the Priory speaks out
Amy El-Keria was a patient at Ticehurst House Psychiatric Hospital, which has been fined £300,000 over her death.

Cyclist seriously injured

Bob Dale

BBC Live reporter

A cyclist was airlifted to hospital in London with serious injuries after a collision.

The 53-year-old woman from Hassocks is in St George's Hospital.

She was involved in a collision with a Honda Jazz in Spithurst Road, Barcombe, near Lewes, just before midday on 12 April.

Police are appealing for witnesses.

South East unemployment picture better than national

Bob Dale

BBC Live reporter

Unemployment in the South East is at 3.3% according to the latest official figures.

Across the UK the proportion of people aged 16 and over not in work is at 3.9%, lower than at any time since the end of 1975.

Unemployment graph
Unemployment in the South East is below the national average

You can read more about the national picture here.

Today's local news website headlines

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Hastings Observer: Hastings Street Food Festival to return in May

Kent Online: Anger as parking permit fees double in Canterbury within two years

Chichester Observer: Outrage over decision to demolish 'charming' historic Selsey home

Eastbourne Herald: Bid to transform Eastbourne’s oldest building into ‘high end’ B&B

Worthing Herald: Police operation at Worthing level crossing snares 10 people

Mid Sussex Times: Bomb squad called to Mid Sussex

Brighton and Hove News: Moulsecoomb playground reopens after parents raise funds for £70k revamp

Brighton and Hove Independent: Janet Muller killing to feature in real crime TV series

The Argus: Dealer used 15-year-old boy to sell class A drugs

Get Surrey: Huge house fire at Hamhaugh Island in Shepperton

Crawley Observer: Bikes stolen after hole cut in hedge to access garden