My derriere is still firmly on the fence when it comes to whether the downland farms should be sold off by Eastbourne Borough Council to raise cash for other projects in the town such as a new Sovereign Centre and improvements to the Winter Garden, Congress Theatre and Devonshire Park tennis complex.
And as the council’s Eastbourne Review newspaper for residents dropped through my letterbox this week with its emotive alternatives as to whether we want to see the Carpet Gardens not given so much tender love and care or effectively have our rubbish bins emptied every other week, I can only put it down to having to choose between what my heart feels is right and what my head thinks.
My heart says the farms should remain in council ownership, the authority should look after the farmers and keep control over the use of the land. And there is an element of me that the council has adopted a spend first/worry later attitude and it shouldn’t have started developments it cannot pay for or is struggling to fund.
I’m something of a traditionalist and agree that countryside sites gifted to local authorities in perpetuity are responsibilities, not assets.
But my head tells me otherwise. Whether we like it or not, times have changed and the council doesn’t get the dosh from the Government it used to and needs to raise money to deliver services and new projects.
I find myself asking what effect will the sale of the farms have on the average man, woman and child in Eastbourne? I know my Little Treasures would rather have a shiny new leisure centre and a quick poll of friends reflects their preference for a decent bar area and interior facelift for the Congress.
They will still be able to roam the open downland and use rights of way across the working farms as they do now. Put simply it wouldn’t matter a jot to them if the farms stay in council ownership or not. The Eastbourne Review may well ask some leading and emotive questions but when you fill it in with your preferences (and please do, it’s your chance to make a difference) think long and hard about it. And whether we let our hearts rule our heads or vice versa.
There is some news this week on the blot on the landscape that is Spinnakers Cafe by the Redoubt. Originally we were told the shed like structure would be demolished but now it appears it may well be refurbished. The phrase sow’s ear and silk purse come to mind but here’s hoping whoever takes it on will do something with it soon.
Surfing the net this week I stumbled across changes to parking restrictions in Eastbourne proposed by the county council. Lots of roads are mentioned and anyone wanting to express a view can do so but the closing date is today so time is of the essence.
Finally, I am off on my holidays for a week now sampling the delights of Hungarian goulash and bottled grapes in Budapest, so see you in two weeks.