Call for council leader to quit in email row

Cllr Rob Blackman: 'Seaford is not being treated any differently'
Cllr Rob Blackman: 'Seaford is not being treated any differently'

The Leader of Lewes District Council is facing calls to step down after offending Seaford councillors, saying the town has a “victim mentality”.

Anger has erupted following the leaked tirade by Councillor Rob Blackman.

Seaford town councillor Mark Brown had questioned the recent temporary closure of Seaford Tourist Information Centre to cover a shortage of staff at Lewes.

In his email response to all Seaford town councillors, Cllr Blackman said, “What is it with Seaford and this victim mentality? Think you are a victim and you will always be a victim.” He refers to “poor little Seaford” several times while listing a number of things the district council has done to help the town. Cllr Blackman added, “Seaford isn’t an island. It exists in the real world and the real world is a tough unforgiving place at the moment.”

He also said most tourists to the district visited Lewes before checking out surrounding places in justifying the information centre decision.

He told Seaford town councillors, “It [Lewes] has a castle and Tom Paine. You cannot compete with that. So if it [the tourist centre] isn’t manned it’s Seaford and the rest of the district that loses out.”

Town councillor Phil Boorman has written to all Conservative district councillors, asking them to issue a vote of no confidence in Cllr Blackman’s leadership and call for his resignation “with immediate effect”.

Town and district councillor Sam Adeniji said, “The language and tone of Cllr Blackman’s email is unacceptable and condescending. Standing up for our town and raising a legitimate concern with Lewes District Council does not make us victims. There is no ‘victim mentality’ but a determination to get a fairer deal for Seaford.”

Cllr Blackman said, “I’m sorry if some people were offended by my leaked email which was a private email to a town councillor who, while raising some concerns which I share, appeared all too ready to concentrate on what they see as the ‘bad’ done to Seaford by Lewes District Council without ever seeing any of the good.

“I felt the council needed to be reminded of some of the things that LDC has done for the town. I agree it was blunt but it wasn’t designed to be rude. It was also not a letter from me to the public.

“The key message was that Seaford is not being treated any differently from anywhere else. We have to balance the needs of everyone in the district not just people from Seaford. I am a Seaford man. I love this town, but Seaford isn’t a special case. Lewes District Council has to maximise its resources for the good of all our residents.”

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