East Sussex County Council

Election 2017 Results

CON GAIN FROM NOC
Party Seats 2013 Seats 2017 Change

PartyConservative

Seats 201322 Seats 201730 Change+8

PartyLiberal Democrat

Seats 20139 Seats 201711 Change+2

PartyIndependent

Seats 20134 Seats 20175 Change+1

PartyLabour

Seats 20137 Seats 20174 Change−3

PartyUKIP

Seats 20138 Seats 2017- Change−8
Change compared with

Latest Updates

Council promises no more cuts

Huw Oxburgh

Local Democracy Reporter

County Hall
BBC

East Sussex County Council says it will not be looking to make any new cuts next year, as the authority begins its annual budget-setting process.

According to papers to be considered by the county council’s cabinet on Friday, the authority says it has no plans to identify further savings in 2021/22 "due to the considerable level of national funding uncertainty and the ever-changing requirements to meet the response to Covid-19".

While it may not be looking at any new savings, the council says savings already in the pipeline from previous budgets will take it down to its core offer – described as its minimum reasonable service – within the next three years.

In a recent newsletter, council leader Keith Glazier said it was "not the time" for further service cuts.

He said: “Every home and every business in East Sussex has been hit by Covid-19 – often severely.

“That’s why many people are relying more than ever on public services like care for the elderly and vulnerable, support for businesses or help with education.

“Knowing this, I’m pleased to say that my intention is for East Sussex County Council to keep its core offer to residents unchanged in our next budget."

Council rejects calls to halt weedkiller use

Huw Oxburgh

Local Democracy Reporter

East Sussex County Council has rejected calls to stop using a controversial weedkiller.

On Monday, lead member for transport and environment Claire Dowling confirmed the council will continue to use glyphosate-based weedkillers to control roadside vegetation.

The decision follows two petitions from local residents, calling on the council to ban the use of the herbicide in the Eastbourne, Jevington and Willingdon areas, and in Hastings.

GV of East Sussex County Council's HQ
BBC

Green Party campaigner Julia Hilton, who was the lead signatory of the Hastings petition, spoke at the meeting.

She said: “It is almost a year since the council declared a climate emergency and one aspect of that was that we support the aims and implementations of the UN’s sustainable development goals.

“[One of those] is to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems … and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

“Better verge management and banning pesticide use would be a really good start locally.”

Responding to the concerns, councillor Dowling said the council would work with its partners to find alternative methods as part of the next highways maintenance contract in 2023.

She said: “We have already, unlike a lot of local authorities out there, reduced what we do on the ground.

“We have reduced to one spray per year and I believe we are down to the weakest solution that we could possibly do.

“We do have a responsibility for maintaining our highways and gullies and I am aware that we do only look at treating where there are weeds, not blanket spraying.”

Rural crime rises across Sussex

Karen Dunn

Local Democracy Reporter

Sussex Police recorded more than 5,700 rural crimes in 2019/20 – a rise of more than 350 compared to the previous year, a meeting of the Sussex Police and Crime Panel was told.

Rural crime falls into four categories – agricultural, equine, wildlife and heritage – and can also include environmental issues such as fly-tipping and the polluting of streams and rivers.

In West Sussex, the highest increase was seen in Mid Sussex, with 584 cases recorded – a rise of 101.

In East Sussex, Rother and Wealden saw the most rural crime committed, with 716 and 884 cases respectively, both a rise of more than 100.

In Brighton there were 478 cases (up 18), in Eastbourne there were 151 (up 11) and in Lewes there were 333 (up seven).

Almost 2,000 of the crimes were violent – a rise of 12% – with burglaries rising by almost one-quarter – up 172 to 888 cases – and criminal damage rising from 760 cases to 797.

Working with the National Farmers’ Union and the Country Land & Business Association, Sussex Police has developed a Rural Crime Strategy outlining how rural communities will be protected.

Councillors raise motion over home care standards

Huw Oxburgh

Local Democracy Reporter

Calls for East Sussex County Council (ESCC) to back a charter on home care standards have come from Labour politicians, but Conservative councillor Carl Maynard, lead member for adult social care, has declined to support it.

Unison's Ethical Care Charter contains measures to improve the standards of home care visits and pay and conditions for home care workers.

It is described by the union as "a simple way for councils to improve home care for vulnerable people and a set of standards to protect the dignity and quality of life for workers providing that care".

According to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the main area in which Conservative-run ESCC falls short of the charter's requirements is provision of occupational sick pay schemes for home care workers.

Officers have recommended that councillors do not back Labour's motion, which is still to be considered by the full council, because meeting all its requirements would see costs increase.

Green light for temporary walking and cycling schemes

Huw Oxburgh

Local Democracy Reporter

Cycle lane
BBC

East Sussex County Council is to move ahead with a number of temporary walking and cycling schemes using coronavirus funding from the government.

The seven schemes will be paid for by phase 1 of the Emergency Active Travel Fund – a £250m pot announced as part of the government’s Covid-19 recovery plans in May.

The seven proposals come from 15 possible schemes which were put out for a short consultation process during lockdown.

The consultation process had proven contentious, with several groups calling on the council to be more ambitious.

The schemes are in Bexhill, Hastings, Lewes, and Hailsham, along with three in Eastbourne.

Covid-19 outbreak control plan published

East Sussex County Council HQ
BBC

East Sussex County Council has produced a Covid-19 outbreak control plan to help prevent cases of the virus in the county and to respond to any local outbreaks.

The council, along with all upper-tier local authorities, was asked to produce a first version of a plan by the end of June.

A wide range of groups and organisations have contributed and commented on the plan, and will continue to shape its development.

Draft plan agreed on coronavirus response

Huw Oxburgh

Local Democracy Reporter

The first version of a plan on how East Sussex will respond to new outbreaks of coronavirus has been agreed.

At a meeting on Tuesday, the East Sussex Health and Wellbeing Board agreed to formally adopt an Outbreak Control Plan for the county.

East Sussex County Council HQ
BBC

The document, which is required by government, lays out how local councils and health authorities in the county will monitor, prevent and respond to outbreaks of Covid-19.

It is intended to undergo further changes over the coming months to reflect new guidance, and potentially new legislation, from government.

The full Outbreak Control Plan lays out information on the local population and geography, as well as the principles of investigating and responding to potential outbreaks of Covid-19.

However, the plan also makes it clear that all lockdown measures flow from national rules and legislation, so that any localised lockdown would require further measures from government.

Council calls for 'certainty' over government funding

Huw Oxburgh

Local Democracy Reporter

Senior county councillors in East Sussex have called for "certainty" in government funding as they plan ahead in “a world with Covid-19”.

The discussion came at a meeting of East Sussex County Council’s cabinet on Tuesday, where members considered the authority’s annual state of the county report.

GV of East Sussex County Council HQ
BBC

The document, which marks the beginning of the council’s annual budget setting process, spelled out the uncertainty around the council’s future services, financial position and what funding will be available from government.

In it, officers said the council cannot currently update its Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) as a result and argued it is “essential that some level of certainty of government funding is received”.

Council leader Keith Glazier said: “Hopefully we will get some more certainty, although we will make some tough choices which undoubtedly lie ahead.

“The lobbying is vital. To understand what it is going to mean for this year is difficult enough but for us to now start planning for services for next year it is very, very difficult to see how we do that.

“Hopefully by early autumn we will have some more clarity about what it is government intends to do in the funding of local government.”

According to council papers, the latest financial data return for June shows the cost of coronavirus to be £17m greater than the funding the council has received.

Safety measures in place as schools welcome more pupils

Secondary schools across East Sussex are welcoming back more pupils with a range of measures put in place to ensure their safety, council officials said.

Signs, two-metre markings, one-way systems, social distancing in classrooms and smaller class groups are among the measures schools are taking as they restart face-to-face learning for Year 10 and 12 students.

Pupils in classroom
East Sussex County Council
East Sussex education officials said it was important to prioritise students in Years 10 and 12

Bob Standley, East Sussex County Council’s lead member for education, said it was right that students in those key years should be prioritised.

He said: “This is not business as normal, but it is providing these year groups with a face-to-face contact with their teachers to support their distance learning.

“These are pupils going into their final year for GCSE and A-Level exams and it’s so important we help them keep up the momentum with their learning.”

To help pupils in England catch up, the government has announced a £1bn fund.

Justine Mountford, principal at Uplands Community College in Wadhurst, said it had been a “huge task” to keep the school operating for key workers and provide remote learning.

She said: “I know how excited the staff have been to see the students again, and pupils are obviously so pleased to be able to ask their teachers questions face-to-face and to know they’re on the right track.”

Survey on how coronavirus has impacted lives

A mass survey has been launched asking people across East Sussex how coronavirus has affected them.

The survey also asks what people’s priorities are for when the county begins to rebuild from the impact of Covid-19.

East Sussex County Council HQ
BBC

The findings will be used by East Sussex County Council, which has commissioned the questionnaire, to shape its recovery for the months and years ahead.

Council leader Keith Glazier said: "It’s important for us to understand the impact this terrible virus has had on the people of East Sussex.

"We know some have sadly paid the heaviest price and there will be many others whose lives have been turned upside down.

"Rebuilding and recovery won’t be easy, but as we start that long process together it will help enormously to know about your experiences and your thoughts for the future."

The survey runs until Sunday 29 June.